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European Industrial Doctorate on Next Generation for sustaINable auTomotive ElectRical ACtuaTion

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INTERACT (European Industrial Doctorate on Next Generation for sustaINable auTomotive ElectRical ACtuaTion)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2019-11-30

The increasing pressure on the automotive industry for electrification of the vehicles, shorter time-to-market, greater productivity, higher efficiency and enhanced flexibility asks for a holistic approach to optimize the entire value chain, to seamlessly integrate and digitalize it and for a new generation of automotive electrical actuation systems, supporting a more efficient and environmentally friendly mobility and enhancing the driving experience, making it safer, more comfortable and sustainable. More and more companies are now focusing on hiring and training talent that is able to keep up with advancements — and drive investment — in tools and technology, thus employees who can adapt to – and evolve with – ever-changing technology.
INTERACT brought together 5 beneficiaries (two universities and three industrial actors), by taking advantage of the well-established intersectoral collaboration achievements and of their solid research and training competences and facilities for developing a challenging research and innovation European Industrial Doctorate consortium under the trend of more electric automotive applications. The quest for high-performance sustainable automotive electric actuators, supported by a high level scientific research and training activities in a joint academia-industry doctoral programme brings a new integrative approach of the R&D cycle of electrical actuators for developing sustainable automotive products (PM-less, Soft Magnetic Composite (SMC), high-speed, energy-efficient, low-noise and fault-tolerant).
The project is focused on enhancing the creative and innovative potential of 6 young researchers, giving them new career perspectives, increasing their employability, while the industrial beneficiaries’ portfolio is pushed forward with new technological developments to be integrated into the R&D process so they remain and/or enter as an important player in automotive industry and the innovation capacity of the academic beneficiaries is strengthen with commercial exploitation of the research.
After the kick-off meeting which stated the start of the project, the consortium prepared the project organization and planning was performed. The project management documents were prepared and the internal collaboration platform was set-up. A consortium agreement was signed and a Data management plan was developed. The recruitment package was elaborated and the PhD positions were opened in EURAXXES and other job announcement platforms.
Between September and November 2018 all the ESR were recruited and appointed. Five of them were also enrolled as PhD students. The 6th ESR was enrolled as PhD student only at 1st of October 2019, due to delay in documents (master diploma) release.
Due to the ESRS recruitment and appointment delay, the consortium decided to postpone the organization of the first training event, till all the ESRs were on board. Also due to the delay in ESRs recruitment and appointment, the research work was postponed with 6 months. During the reporting period, each ESR carried out a literature review on his/her topic by studying relevant scientific and technical literature, and contributed to the global state-of-art report. Each ESR contributed also to the global M&S tools report through a succinct (mathematical and practical) description of each tool developed, along with one or more examples demonstrating its utilisation, utility and validity. EMD specifications for the three automotive auxiliaries applications were fixed and the design and analysis of the electrical machines for these applications is on-going.
Focus in the project is put especially on the 6 young recruited researchers (ESRs). First of all, they were integrated in the research groups at the host institution, in order to improve their ability to work in a team, to interact with other people, working in research and answering to daily challenges in a work place in academia (teaching, supervising bachelor or master students, etc.) or in industry (contact with customers, attending meetings, supervising interns, etc.). All the organized training events were structured to offer two scientific and technical modules meant to bring all the ESRs at the same level of knowledge. One module of each training event was designed for adding complementary skills as integrity and ethics in research, personal development and team working and Scientific and research writing and presentation.
The periodical presentation of the ESRs’ work to the consortium members and the preparation and presentation at international conference of scientific papers contributed to the improvement of the ability to communicate the results of their research work to a wide range of audience.
Beside the ESRs, training events were opened to other researchers from the beneficiary institutions, increasing the scientific level of the teams. The presence of the ESRs in the research groups, their work with bachelor and master students, either as research assistant in academia or as supervisor of interns, increases the attractiveness of a research career in the host institutions for the young graduates. For the academic institutions, INTERACT provides the opportunity to align the doctoral studies and the research activity to the industry trend, given and followed by the industrial beneficiaries of the project. For the industrial beneficiaries, the project gives the possibility to update and/or develop their portfolio with new products (ICPE and BROSE) or extend their work to new domains (SISW). New research topics (SMC in electrical machines, NVH and EMI interdependences in EMD, new electrified automotive applications) were opened (at ICPE and Brose), new test benches were developed (UTCN) or existing ones were updated (at ULB), new tools were tested and/or developed (at SISW).
Through all its activities, INTERACT strengthens the already existing collaboration between the beneficiaries, both academia and industry. The implementation of INTERACT has a significant impact in the field of the next generation of high-performance sustainable automotive electric actuators (SAEAs), both at the level of technology and tools, as both BROSE and SISW are important actors in the automotive industry. New applications (Hybrid booster), technologies (using SMC materials, going with fault tolerant systems) and tools (for analysing specific phenomena like NVH, EMI, losses, etc.) analysed and developed in INTERACT are opening opportunities for new collaborations with other universities/research institutions (common research topics were opened by UTCN with TU of Eindhoven, University of Lille, University of Naples) and by ULB with KU Leuven and TU Tampere, and with companies (common research projects were proposed by UTCN with Siemens Industry Software Romania, Renault Technologie Roumanie, AROBS). The INTERACT experience was presented to other Romanian universities (University Politehnica Bucharest, University of Craiova, University Politehnica Timisoara) at EV 2019 and to Polish, Czech, Portuguese and Swiss universities in the frame of two workshops organized in Krakow and Brno.