The University of Zagreb is the flagship educational institution in the country with 31 faculties, 3 academies of arts and various university centres and departments. As a comprehensive public Central European university, UNIZG offers educational programmes in all scientific fields (arts, biomedicine, biotechnology, engineering, humanities, natural and social sciences) and a wide range of courses at all levels of study, from undergraduate to postgraduate, for more than 70,000 students. The University excels not only in teaching but also in research, contributing over 50 percent of Croatia’s annual research output.
The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture (UNIZAG-FSB) is one of the organisational units of the University of Zagreb and is the direct successor of the High Technical School established in 1919. At present, it accepts 485 students every academic year in the study courses Mechanical Engineering, Naval Architecture and Aeronautical Engineering and employs about 250 teaching and research staff. The activities of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture cover a very wide field of both theoretical and practical solutions in various fields of design, production and maintenance of mechanical, aeronautical and marine structures and systems. Scientific activities, which constitute the major part of the activities at FSB, are carried out through a large number of national science and technology projects. As a result, there is close cooperation between UNIZAG-FSB and over 70 scientific and educational institutions.
The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture at the University of Zagreb as a research/educational institution houses the Chair of Design and Product Development Department, which is responsible for a general area of design and development of technical systems and will lead this proposal within UNIZAG-FSB. The primary objective of the Chair is to develop the creative and innovative potential of students of mechanical engineering, naval architecture and aerospace engineering through a series of courses that include methodological design, development of innovative products and services, and computer-based tools to support the development process.
During the undergraduate study, the Chair offers courses on the most advanced methods, tools and practical and theoretical knowledge used in the design and development of technical systems. At the graduate level of the study program, a number of special courses are offered, focusing on the integration and application of the acquired knowledge through project work, and thesis topics are regularly real problems from industry. The chair is also responsible for several courses at the doctoral level. These courses focus on the modelling of complex socio-technical systems, design theories and advanced methods and models for information management in the development of technical systems.
The focus of the Chair’s teaching is the CDIO (Conceive Design Implement Operate) initiative for the education of future engineers, which includes the acquisition of knowledge and skills for the understanding, design, implementation and operation of technical systems through project and team work. Based on this paradigm, the Chair was involved in the international EGPR course (European Global Product Realisation) together with Technical University Delft, City University in London, EPFL in Lausanne, the University of Ljubljana and Technical University of Budapest. In this course, students acquired knowledge and experience in working as part of international development teams in a virtual operating environment and were involved in solving real problems for industrial partners.
The scientific work of the Chair and the cooperation with industry through a number of R&D projects follow next topics: Extension of the CAD/PDM/PLM models with elements of engineering knowledge; formal modelling of engineering processes; modelling the evolution of traceability of engineering information; optimization of the shape and structure of complex technical systems by using genetic and evolutionary algorithms; evaluation and selection of ideas in the fuzzy front-end of product development including environmental impact; modelling socio-technical systems in engineering by applying complex networks; measuring and monitoring intangible performance indicators of teams developing technical systems; modelling and simulating the interactions of teams developing technical systems; and technology development and innovation evolution. In cooperation with international partners, researchers and PhD students of the chair have published more than 250 scientific papers in international scientific journals and at international scientific conferences and workshops in 20 years.