An industrial PhD student performs his or her studies while employed at a company. The company hosting a WASP industrial PhD student receives a fixed amount yearly from WASP corresponding to four years of full-time studies.
Working with industrial PhD students contribute to need-driven research and fosters in-depth cross-fertilization between academia and industry – both in terms of relevant research results and availability of competence. This leads to greater knowledge and appreciation of the different conditions in academia and industry.
A common question among industry representatives is how to set up and execute an industrial PhD project so that chances of success are maximized. Another widespread question is how, internally and externally, to explain and motivate high industry engagement in all arrangements concerning having PhD students.
What is an Industrial PhD Student?
An industrial PhD student (or Industry Doctoral Student) is a PhD student who performs his or her PhD studies while employed by a company. The PhD student is enrolled in a program at an academic faculty and follows PhD courses and authors a PhD thesis following the same procedure as a university-employed PhD student.
In some cases, a significant, or even the majority of, time is spent at the company rather than at the university while the opposite situation is also common. A balance between time spent in the hosting environments is thus desirable but can vary. A WASP industrial PhD student must spend at least 20% of the time at the company and at least 20% at the university.
The student has one academic advisor and one industrial mentor named industrial PhD advisor. In many cases, the latter also has a PhD degree.
A company hosting a WASP industrial PhD student receives funding from WASP corresponding to four years of full-time studies. A fixed amount is paid yearly to the company at 100% or 80% rate depending on if the studies are planned to be conducted within four or five years.
The funding includes, at least partially, coverage for travel expenses.
In addition to this, the university gets reimbursed by WASP with 15% of the university advisor’s salary costs per year for four years. This may also be adjusted to 80% over five years.
What are the objectives of the company?
There are many examples of objectives, including, but not limited to:
- Concrete result in the form of a doctoral degree, research results such as papers, contributions to technical meetings, and sometimes patents.
- As shown in recent research, participating industries improve their innovation capabilities.
- To become more involved with an interesting research program, e.g., WASP, or with a university research group that is doing research that is of interest to the company.
- To increase the knowledge within an area that is of vital importance to the company.
- To solve a challenging problem.
- To provide competence build-up for a promising employee who the company wants to invest in.
- To hire a person with sufficient skills who will be prepared to take on a leading role in R&D after 4-5 years.