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Two-year Master’s launched in conjunction with the European Institute of Technology

7 March 2012

UCL Computer Science is calling for applicants to a new two-year, dual-location Master’s programme being run as part of an initiative by the European Institute of Technology (EIT).

A 3D virtual world in UCL Computer Science's 'Cave'

Image: A 3D virtual world in UCL Computer Science's 'Cave'.

The Master’s in ICT Innovation has been created as part of the EIT ICT Labs initiative, which aims to boost Europe’s global reputation for innovation in engineering. Students will study at two different European universities, each for one year, with a focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and bridging the gap between academia and industry.

Tim Weyrich, who has been responsible for overseeing UCL’s involvement in the programme, says: “The credo of EIT ICT Labs is that this form of knowledge transfer is important for European society and the European economy, because it is generally perceived that innovation is really what keeps an economy alive.”

Successful applicants choose two technical majors from a list of seven. They are then able to specify which of the 19 participating universities (located in Berlin, Budapest, Eindhoven, Helsinki, London, Paris, Stockholm and Trento) they would like to have as their entry and exit nodes – although the admissions team will have the final say when it comes to placing students. All teaching and assessment will be conducted in English.

UCL won’t begin its share of teaching until the second year, as the two modules it’s offering –  Human Computer Interaction and Design and Digital Media Technology – are both advanced, necessitating prior training provided via first-year options. The other five modules offered by partner institutions are: Service Design and Engineering, Internet Technology and Architecture, Distributed Systems and Services, Security and Privacy, and Embedded Systems.

While all of the modules are offered by more than one university, Weyrich says that “there is a different spin within the specialisation at each place”. He continues, “There’s been a long tradition in this department of research in virtual environments and that’s accordingly the specialisation that we pitch within this Master’s programme. We have infrastructure here like the Cave [main image], a room where all the surfaces – even the floors – are projection surfaces. You wear 3D glasses and then you can actually stand in a virtual world.”

The course will involve a strong emphasis on industrial partnerships. “At UCL, the work will as much as possible be conducted in conjunction with external partners and the Master’s project will be set in the context of an actual industrial problem,” says Weyrich. “Ideally, the students should spend around a third of their time at that industrial partner.”

Summer and winter schools dedicated to innovation and entrepreneurship will ensure that students don’t take their eyes off the industrial ball even during vacations.

The programme begins in September 2012, with an initial intake of 230 students. As UCL offers only second-year modules, it will take on ten of those students – five per technical specialisation – in September 2013, with a view to doubling the number the following year.

The two-year nature of the programme, from which students emerge with two MScs and an EIT ICT Labs certificate, will make it particularly appealing to those who are keen to gain a more in-depth understanding of their chosen specialisations. Students will be able to spend twice as long working on their thesis (almost six months instead of three) and the fees (EUR3,000 per year for European students; EUR8,000 per year for non-Europeans) make this an attractive option. Weyrich adds, “While there is no guarantee of funding, there is a strong commitment from EIT ICT Labs to support those that may not be able to be self-funded and they are providing stipends to some students.”

The Master’s in ICT Innovation is just one element of EIT ICT Labs’ work. The organisation has a three-pronged remit: to support knowledge transfer between academia and industry, to train people to become ‘messengers’ between the two worlds, and to further business activities and entrepreneurship. Plans are currently underway to create a PhD programme to further advance these goals.

EIT ICT Labs’ endorsement of this Master’s makes it particularly prestigious, says Weyrich. “When selecting students, we’ll intentionally set the bar a little higher than with other Master’s programmes: the EIT ICT Labs label is supposed to be a label of excellence so we have to ensure that this is the case from the very beginning.”

While the original deadline for applications was February 15th, this has now been extended, mainly because of delays in applicants obtaining their language certificates (a necessary component of an application).

“We cannot make any guarantees about late submissions but at the moment we’re still looking at them very positively and students are encouraged to continue submitting, ” says Weyrich.

“If the student is interested in the interface between academia and the business world and wants to make their mark at that interface, and if they’re interested in the international scope of ICT Engineering, then this is definitely a good Master’s to apply for.”

To find out more, visit eitictlabs.masterschool.eu or contact Tracy J Williams by emailing t.williams@cs.ucl.ac.uk

Page last modified on 07 mar 12 11:42


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