Aisling Irwing reports from the British Association for the Advancement of Science festival at Newcastle University.
By the end of the century the north-east of England should have a network of engineering graduates specially trained by an unusual masters degree to improve manufacturing performance, the British Association heard.
The masters was the brainchild of five local universities and the Open University. It takes engineers who are working in industry and teaches them "technical and managerial effectiveness" according to Peter Dobbs, director of Parsons Turbines, which is heavily involved in the course.
In a lecture sponsored by The THES, he said that the course was often better than sending graduates to do MBAs, short courses or on-the-job training. Under the Integrated Graduate Development Scheme, students learn about marketing, finance, strategic management, information technology and how to use these skills back in an engineering environment.