The University

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.

Related Experience

The Chair of Design and Product Development was recently involved in ERASMUS+ the NARIP project, which ran from 2014-17. NARIP had three consecutive, but unique and independent, industry-oriented courses on New Product Development (NPD) in a virtual environment. The collaboration included state-of-the-art lectures that were delivered simultaneously and interactively to students from all participating universities using professional video conferencing equipment. The students’ project activities represented the practical part of the course; the students worked on NPD tasks given by selected industry partners. The project goal was focused on industrial-academic projects to enable the partners to connect higher education, research and business, and focused on the “smart products” for the industry of the future. Within the project, students were organized in international, multidisciplinary virtual teams, which gave the students’ activities a multicultural and cross-border character.

The participating students developed skills of 21st century engineers capable of effectively addressing challenges in the NPD process. They learned how to use methods and tools of the latest computer technologies and how to achieve seamless human-technology interaction at the highest level. The developed intellectual outputs serve as a comprehensive source of information for further cooperation.

In addition, Chair members are currently involved in two other ERASMUS + projects: CASPROD and ELPID. Further details on these projects can be found as argumentation for the composition of the consortium and the motivation for this project proposal.

The Chair also actively supports international student and teacher exchanges by providing courses in English, but also through projects that focus on improving teaching and student and teacher exchanges, such as the Linnaeus-Palme program with Lulea University of Technology in Sweden. Three types of exchange activities have been funded and implemented under the program for the period 2012-2016: Travel grants to prepare exchange projects, teacher exchanges and student exchanges. As a long-term result of the cooperation the ERASMUS+mobility agreement is signed between UNIZAG-FSB and LTU.

Involved Staff

Dr. Stanko Škec is the project coordinator for UNIZAG-FSB. His scientific interest is the management of the product development process and the teamwork monitoring. In addition to his scientific and professional work, Dr. Škec is involved in teaching as part of the undergraduate and postgraduate courses at UNIZAG-FSB in the areas of CAD modelling, product development and design theories. From 2012 he participated in the organisation of DESIGN conferences and was involved in the organisation of ICED17 conference as Assistant Programme Chair (Vancouver, Canada). He participated in several national (CSF) and European research (EUREKA, HORIZON 2020) and educational (ERASMUS+) projects. For the period March 2018 – September 2019 he has been appointed as visiting professor at Technical University of Denmark (DTU) in Copenhagen. Previously he was a visiting researcher at several institutions abroad – Ecole Centrale Paris, University of Bristol and The University of British Columbia. As a part-time assistant lecturer, he held tutorials at the Polytechnics of Zagreb and at the Faculty of Industrial Engineering Novo Mesto (Slovenia). He is also the main coordinator of ERASMUS+ ELPID project.

Prof. Neven Pavković works as full professor at UNIZAG-FSB. He is involved in teaching courses on product development and innovation and has supervised more than 100 bachelor and master theses in this field. Since 1991 dr. Neven Pavković participated in 8 multidisciplinary research and development projects (5 national and 3 international). He has co-authored 8 journal papers, 45 international conference papers, 4 articles on e-learning and teaching methodology in design and 10 industrial reports.

Dr. Tomislav Martinec, mag. ing. mech. works as teaching assistant at UNIZAG-FSB. His scientific focus is on traceability and visualisation of information in product development as well as information processing and interactions in development teams. Furthermore, he did research on distributed project-based learning as part of a team participating in an integrated product development project. He assists in teaching through courses such as Product development, Engineering design methods and tools, and Computer aided design. He has been participating in the EGPR course for four years as a mentor to student teams.

Filip Valjak, mag. ing. mech. is a research assistant at UNIZG-FSB. He is involved in teaching through courses on product development, CAD modelling and EGPR. He has industrial experience in CAD modelling, additive manufacturing and international projects. He started his PhD in 2016 in the field of additive manufacturing.