Replicating success of PrintCity and its industrial digitalisation course in Vietnam

PrintCity VN is a partnership with two Vietnamese universities and the British Council

Engineering academics and staff from Manchester Metropolitan University’s PrintCity welcomed visitors from Vietnam’s National University of Civil Engineering to discuss PrintCity VN

Engineering academics and staff from Manchester Metropolitan University’s PrintCity welcomed visitors from Vietnam’s National University of Civil Engineering to discuss PrintCity VN

Manchester Metropolitan is to replicate its digital manufacturing facility PrintCity in Vietnam and launch an equivalent to the successful MSc in Industrial Digitalisation by partnering two of the South East Asian country’s universities.

The idea of the project, called PrintCity VN, is to develop a world-class technology hub in Vietnam as a base for high quality educational programmes that will help fill skills gaps identified by SMEs and help develop the nation’s economy.

PrintCity is Manchester Metropolitan’s 3D additive and digital manufacturing centre that brings together manufacturing experts, designers, engineers and students in a collaborative environment where ambitious ideas are made a reality.

Its flagship MSc in Industrial Digitalisation programme educates and develops industry-ready professionals with the capacity and social skills to solve problems creatively utilising a range of cutting-edge software, equipment and practices such as 3D-printing and rapid prototyping.

Professor Tomasz Liskiewicz, Head of Department of Engineering at Manchester Metropolitan, discusses 3D printing with Ngo Van Yen, Lecturer in the Faculty of Construction Economics and Management at NUCE; Huynh Trong Nhan, Head of Division of Urban Management at MTU, and Associate Professor Dr Nguyen The Quan, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Construction Economics and Management at NUCE

Partnership with two universities 

Manchester Metropolitan is working with National University of Civil Engineering (NUCE) in Hanoi, in the north of Vietnam, to replicate the model by establishing a PrintCity VN facility in which staff can deliver a new and unique Masters in Industrial Digitalisation course tailored to local business needs.

It is envisaged the facility and course will open next year.

Dr Christopher Johnson, Senior Lecturer in Engineering at Manchester Metropolitan and Principal Investigator on the project, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for PrintCity and for the students studying here. 

“It is a vital to provide opportunities for growth to the UK market by providing the right digital skills in a rapidly developing country but also for our students to gain international experience by working with some amazingly talented individuals from NUCE.”

Manchester Metropolitan and NUCE are working with a second partner university, Mien Tay Construction University (MTU) at Vinh Long, taking advantage of its presence at the Mekong Delta in the south of the country.

Training, business links and student mobility

Staff at both higher Vietnamese higher education institutions will receive certified software training, help create policy framework strategies, provide links with businesses, and develop a Student Mobility Programme.

A delegation from NUCE and MTU spent the week at Manchester Metropolitan with academic staff learning about the courses, software and equipment provided at PrintCity. 

They took part in workshops and received training, as well undertaking a tour of the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Associate Professor Dr Nguyen The Quan, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Construction Economics and Management at NUCE, said: “The National University of Civil Engineering is a leading higher education institution in Vietnam, not only in terms of providing highly skilled human resources management for the construction industry, but also in research and technology transfer. 

“With a huge network of alumni and lots of former students holding important positions in not only the architecture, engineering and construction industry, but also in central and local government, NUCE has been significantly contributing to the development of the construction industry in Vietnam, as well as the development of the country as a whole. 

“A collaboration with a top university like Manchester Metropolitan University is undeniably a good chance for us to share good practices in disruptive technology to contribute more to the country’s development.”

Ngo Van Yen, Lecturer in the Faculty of Construction Economics and Management at NUCE, and Huynh Trong Nhan, Head of Division of Urban Management at MTU, watch Mark Chester, Innovation Development Manager at PrintCity, retrieving a finished 3D print

British Council and Autodesk involved

PrintCity VN will be co-funded through the British Council's UK-Vietnam Higher Education Partnership.

And like Manchester Metropolitan’s MSc in Industrial Digitalisation, the masters degree in Vietnam will be delivered in partnership with multinational computer aided design software company Autodesk to encourage students to embrace and shape the future of this innovative technology.

It is envisaged collaborative masters degree projects could be launched between the two PrintCity centres under the supervision of academics from both countries.

To support the project, a Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has been formed with NUCE and MTU input. 

The LEP is led by a Vietnamese business, An Phuc International Engineering and Construction Company (ANPHUC), and aims to help inform the development of the curriculum and create live projects and ideas for the postgraduate students to work on.

The main objectives of the partnership are:

• Manchester Metropolitan and Autodesk to train staff at NUCE and MTU in software skills to certified professional standards

• A framework will be developed to allow Vietnamese SMEs to integrate with Vietnamese universities through a simplified process

• The development of a Student Mobility Programme between Manchester Metropolitan, NUCE and MTU

• A skills map to be created by the Local Enterprise Partnership to identify the key skills gap, such as soft skills, needed to support economic growth in Hanoi

• Increased impact from the Local Enterprise Partnership with support from ANPHUC, with problems facing companies on a day-to-day basis forming ideal project-based learning scenarios for students

• The upskilling of LEP staff and development of methods to deliver soft skills training

Innovate. Educate. Collaborate

Professor Tomasz Liskiewicz, Head of Department of Engineering at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: "I'm delighted Manchester Metropolitan is working with NUCE, MTU and the British Council to deliver PrintCity VN and I feel the project truly embodies PrintCity's motto of: Innovate. Educate. Collaborate.

"This venture builds on PrintCity's excellent education offering, outstanding facilities and understanding of disruptive manufacturing technologies, while helping the University raise its international profile."

We look forward to working with our partners in Vietnam to strengthen our academic links and realise a shared ambition of providing the best possible outcomes for students and businesses in both countries."

A delegation from Manchester Metropolitan will visit NUCE and the British Council office in Hanoi in November 2019 and May 2020.

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