Strategic Cooperation Agreement Signed for Efficient Programs in Engineering

2019. February 18. - 13:24 A cooperation agreement including the support of research and development as well as the offering of company-specific modules to UD students was signed on Friday by Rector Zoltán Szilvássy on behalf of the University of Debrecen and Managing Director Lukas Juranek on behalf of Continental.

“The University of Debrecen has already signed about five thousand cooperation agreements so far, yet none of those seems as strategically significant as this one, chiefly because of the amount of preparation and the long process of groundwork preceding it,” said Zoltán Szilvássy, the rector of the University of Debrecen, on the occasion of the official signing ceremony of the cooperation agreement with Continental Powertrain Hungary Kft. on February 8.  The head of the university also underlined that the establishment of an industrially oriented work culture for the university was as essential as regarding research and development a central issue in the case of a corporation operating in a knowledge-intensive branch of industry.

“The mindframe of researchers needs to be slightly retuned towards the attitude of engineering, while retaining the qualities of the soaring imagination of researchers at the same time, which represents one of the salient features of universities,” said Zoltán Szilvássy.

The rector noted the activities of the so-called branch cabinets, which had been established at the University of Debrecen a couple of years before, including those of the technical-information science cabinet headed by László Palkovics, recently joined by Continental through a greenfield investment of 100 million euros for a new production plant in our city.

László Palkovics, Minister for Innovation and Technology, recalled at the signing ceremony that one of the main objectives of the program for the transformation of Hungarian higher education, which was launched in 2014, was to reduce the gap between Hungarian higher education and the demands of the labor market. This initiative concerned the contents of the pool of teaching material, the development of the skills and aptitudes of university graduates, and an even closer and more efficient cooperation between universities and their economic environments.

“The University of Debrecen is an outstanding example of this kind of activity, as academics here have understood exactly why we need to get to know the immediate environment around us by recognizing its demands and requirements and how we need to accommodate to these at a certain level. This has been the case with Continental, too, which is why we have started to put more emphasis on the programs offered at the University of Debrecen in technology and engineering. Besides developing the content and structure of majors in engineering, we would also increase the number of graduating engineers because that is what the companies require when they come to Debrecen to invest here and establish plants of production and R&D,” said László Palkovics.
The minister announced that, soon, there would be a proposal on Debrecen’s development program submitted to the national government, which would contain a significant amount of support allocated for improving technical and technological programs offered by the University of Debrecen.

Lukas Juranek, Managing Director of Continental’s Debrecen plant, mentioned at the signing ceremony that the building of the University of Debrecen had almost become a second home for him during the past months of joint preparatory work.

“Continental is present in an extremely dynamic marketplace, where one of the most decisive focal areas among a number of several important competencies happens to be the joint efforts and work with institutions of education. The agreement signed today is the result of a two-year process of cooperation with the university and the municipal government. The first signs of this are already visible, as certain Continental-specific modules will be launched at the faculties involved in technological and engineering programs as of the 2019/2020 academic year, mostly due to the efficient contributions of the experts of the university,” said Lukas Juranek.

The managing director also noted that a fundamental principle of the philosophy of Continental is related to continuous and life-long learning, which is why the educational and research activities connected to the University of Debrecen would have a role of key significance related to the plant to be inaugurated in Debrecen.

In his address, Mayor László Papp emphasized the fact that, in Hungary, Debrecen would become the new home for one of the most innovative companies in the world as a result of a two-year-long series of negotiations conducted with the German industrial corporation, which could easily prove to be a decisive element in the economic development strategy of our city.

“Thanks to the cooperation between Continental and the University of Debrecen, the appeal of Debrecen will increase to a considerable extent. The city and the university can offer a promising prospect for young people who decide to pursue their studies here. For the University of Debrecen, an agreement of this kind is one of the best brand enhancement opportunities. If this institution does convey a message to young people about how they can find a career path at Continental if they choose this university and its engineering programs, it will be an extraordinarily effective call,” said László Papp.

The mayor also expressed his gratitude to the University of Debrecen for having assisted in the municipal efforts from the very first moment of the negotiations through tailoring its programs and opening up new directions in strengthening an economy-oriented program structure. Apparently, it had been considerably due to this flexibility that Continental decided to pick Debrecen for the location of its investment.

According to the cooperation agreement, students will be able to sign up for Continental-specific educational modules at the faculties of electrical engineering, mechatronics engineering, mechanical engineering and plastic engineering. The German technological company will also provide internship possibilities and practical training for the students of the University of Debrecen, while offering job opportunities to selected students. It is committed to support university students through further training programs and graduate applications, and it intends to cooperate in the sphere of adult education programs as well. Continental shares the initiative and commitment of the University of Debrecen to increase the appreciation and appeal of the engineering profession and therefore contributes to the promotion of the relevant faculties and programs.

In addition to the above, Continental has also offered to provide students with opportunities to participate in research and development projects, thus supporting the training of talents who shape the future. Finally, in order to promote scientific and educational plans and share knowledge, study tours and visits will be organized within the Continental company group for the students and professors of the university.

Press Office