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Industry Supplier Initiatives Support Automation Education

ABB and Honeywell efforts fund automation and power research grant programs and simulation design competition.

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Over the past five years, there has been a clear increase of attention on education from industry suppliers. At Automation World’s Engineering School Innovations page, you can see numerous examples of this from companies such as National Instruments, Phoenix Contact and igus.

Now comes news from ABB about extensive funding of university research projects and from Honeywell regarding its global Unisim design contest.

ABB’s initiative will fund 40 research projects at universities worldwide that the company claims will “shape the future of power and automation.” The 40 projects were chosen from more than 500 proposals submitted by more than 250 universities in 46 countries.

The ABB Research Grant program is intended to support promising graduate students and senior researchers who are researching projects with industrial applications in the power and automation area. Grants typically range from $50,000 to $80,000 a year, and funding is initially for one year, but ABB expects to support the projects over a longer period of time.

“We already have about 100 existing research collaborations with universities around the world, and we expect to fund 40-50 new ones each year,” says ABB Chief Technology Officer, Prith Banerjee.

See a list of the universities awarded the grants.

Meanwhile, Honeywell has just announced the 2013 launch of its annual process control design competitions in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). This contest rewards chemical engineering students for their work on innovative projects using Honeywell’s Unisim Design simulation software. Honeywell says its Unisim software provides an interactive process model that allows engineers to create steady-state and dynamic models for plant design, performance monitoring, troubleshooting, operational improvement, business planning and asset management.

Winners of the contest receive an expenses-paid trip to their regional Honeywell Users Group Conference, which take place in Phoenix, Arizona; Perth, Australia; and Nice, France.

According to Honeywell, its users group events provide winning students with an opportunity to present their project, learn more about the process industries, and network with attendees, including potential employers. The winning student’s sponsoring tutor also receives the opportunity to attend a training course at one of Honeywell’s automation colleges.

Last year’s winner won for his work in designing a process to turn waste plastic into fuel. Read about the project profiled on Automation World’s Engineering School Innovations site.

Get further information, entry requirements for all regions, and details for professors wishing to obtain the UniSim Design software.

If you know of any engineering student projects that should be profiled on Automation World’s Engineering School Innovations site, contact me directly at

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