Engineering Students as Innovation Facilitators for Enterprises
Journal article, 2013
This paper addresses the role that Engineering Master Students may play in contributing to the development of innovation
for enterprises. Based on a formalized tripartite cooperation between a student, an enterprise and a Danish university, the
programme combines traditional academic curricula with a mentor company. Drawing on the concepts of Mode 2
knowledge production and knowledge governance the circumstances under which these innovations can take place are
described and analysed. The empirical material is taken from a longitudinal study (2009-2011) of the master programme;
the study combines qualitative and quantitative approaches. Both students and enterprises assess the master programme
very positively and more than half of the companies confirmed that the students have contributed to innovation processes.
The analysis shows how formal and informal governance mechanisms need to complement each other in order to enable a
successful progression for all the parties involved. However the study also underlines that the master programme faces
challenges which are usually not part of engineering curricula, for example, improving students’ social and communication
competences and autonomy.