2012-08-08 - The number of students awarded scholarships under the ABB Jürgen Dormann Foundation for Engineering Education is set to rise by at least 50 percent in the next two years.
“We started off with modest ambitions in 2008 aiming at 50 scholars, but now we have nearly double that number,” says Gary Steel, chairman of the foundation’s board and head of ABB Human Resources. “We are now aiming to have around 150 within the next one to two years.”
He made the statement shortly before students arrive in Switzerland for the second international meeting of foundation scholars.
A total of 30 students from China, India, Mexico, Malaysia, Poland, Turkey and Vietnam are to spend a week in Switzerland, working in cross-cultural teams on engineering presentations, visiting ABB installations and hearing from ABB executives.
A first trip abroad
“The week in Switzerland is a great opportunity for the students work together and learn from each other on a variety of subjects and projects,” said Steel. “For many, it’s their first time abroad and their first real exposure to different cultures and ways of thinking.”
The students, who arrive on August 14, will take part in workshops at the ABB Corporate Research Center in Dättwil, work on and prepare presentations on engineering projects which they were sent in advance of the international meeting, and visit facilities such as the ABB drives factory at Turgi.
They will also spend an afternoon listening to presentations from executives at ABB Switzerland’s headquarters in Baden. Speakers include Elizabeth Williams, ABB’s head of Corporate Strategy, Nina Thornhill who is Professor of Process Automation at Imperial College London, and Rene Cotting who has been a Board member of the foundation since it started in 2007.
Career moves for scholars
All the students have mentors – often senior ABB managers in different countries who help to guide the students through their studies.
While there are no guarantees of employment at the end of their studies, a few scholars have already graduated and some are working for ABB. Of the first three scholars at the AGH university in Krakow, Poland, one has a full-time job at ABB, another works part-time while working on her PhD, and the third person – an award winning specialist on robotics – has been asked to submit an application.
Partnership agreements have been signed with universities in eight countries and there are plans to expand further. An agreement with a university in Indonesia is scheduled to be signed shortly.
The foundation, which was set up in Switzerland in 2007, aims to provide scholarships to talented electrical engineering students who need financial support to continue their studies.
The foundation is named after Jürgen Dormann in recognition of his contribution to ABB as Chairman from 2001 to 2007 and as Chief Executive Officer from September 2002 to December 2004.