This year, more than 600 experts attended the Volkswagen Group’s PhD Day, when 95 young scientists presented their research findings at the MobileLifeCampus in Wolfsburg. Their projects focused on topics such as driver assistance systems, personnel development, e-mobility, and sales and marketing. In total, Volkswagen supports some 490 young men and women studying for their doctorate.
Dr. Horst Neumann, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft responsible for Human Resources, Organization and IT, said: “Innovative strength is a decisive competitive factor in the automotive industry. The Volkswagen Group with its twelve brands and locations all over the world offers young scientists outstanding conditions for researching into projects in a host of different areas. The spectrum ranges from technical development, production and human resources to sales and marketing. Volkswagen is thus fostering highly-qualified talent that is crucial to the company’s future success.”
Works Council member Daniela Cavallo commented: “The research findings presented by the PhD students are impressive confirmation of just how much know-how and potential the Volkswagen team has to offer. These young scientists have not only spent three years researching for their doctorates. At the same time, they have been generating value for the company. That deserves our recognition and respect because their work makes a contribution to consolidating Volkswagen’s good position going forward.”
Professor Dr. Jürgen Leohold, Executive Director of Volkswagen Group Research and Director of the AutoUni in Wolfsburg, underscored: “These PhD students are striding towards the future with their research. That helps us in many ways, such as being able to identify today what our customers will be expecting tomorrow and beyond, and to develop solutions early. Their work unveils new and sometimes unconventional approaches and reveals new perspectives. Practitioners, experts and young researchers work hand-in-hand at Volkswagen. That is teamwork which brings benefits for everyone.”
PhD students from the Volkswagen Passenger Cars, ŠKODA, Audi, Porsche, MAN and Scania brands as well as from Volkswagen Group China presented their doctoral theses on topics from twelve different specialist departments at the MobileLifeCampus in Wolfsburg. 26nbsp;young scientists conducted research in the field of drive technology, 14 in production, eleven in electronics and a further eleven in vehicle technology, and nine focused on various aspects of human resources, organization and IT.
For example, Stefanie Blabl (Electronics) explained her findings on adapting media content to driver status in a presentation entitled “Podcast or music?” Serdal Sivri (Production) discussed his research on “Process-oriented knowledge management in model upgrading”. Katharina Lenz (Human Resources and Organization) introduced her findings on her research subject of “Expectations and qualification potential of MINT dual study programs”.
Stands, exhibits, twelve specialist presentations and several themed tours provided the backdrop for an intensive exchange between experienced specialists and young scientists at this year’s PhD Day, which was attended by over 600 experts.
PhD students at Volkswagen complete their doctorates within three years, cooperating closely with the relevant specialist department, which nominates a mentor to guide them during their research. There are opportunities for permanent employment at Volkswagen once the doctorate has been completed. As the PhD student spokespersons Stefanie Augustine and Rolf Kunzler put it: “Volkswagen’s PhD program is first-class. Apart from the specialist qualification and learning about soft skills, the close interaction between thesis topics and departmental projects is very valuable, because it gives us the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge of experienced specialists.”
The PhD student forum, made up of current Volkswagen PhD students and alumni, fosters networking among the young scientists. The forum itself and all of its activities are organized by various working groups run by the students themselves.