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Collaboration and inspiration with PhD showcase

An annual networking event for PhD students together with experts from Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) puts transformation and diversity into focus with a range of stimulating projects.
  • In a bid to share new perspectives and different ways of working, Volvo CE hosted its annual networking event for some 30 PhD students in Braås, Sweden this March.
  • The event brought together academics with the company’s own specialist experts and engineers for a chance to collaborate, energize each other and exchange ideas to accelerate the ongoing industry transformation.
  • After presenting their work, the students also got the chance to tour the Braås facility and get up close to some of Volvo CE’s existing prototype machines.

The annual PhD presentation brought together 30 students from different stages in their PhD journey and from a variety of disciplines and universities – joining from countries including Germany, France and Sweden. While many things can be achieved online, the ambition with this showcase is not only to bring together a wealth of different projects but to also network and collaborate on ideas that might not otherwise be explored through remote communication. It is also a great opportunity for Volvo CE to speak to future specialists about what is needed to address future challenges.

Anna Ericson Öberg, Research Strategy Manager at Volvo CE says: “The informal setting leads to a really nice collaboration between the academic perspective and the Volvo perspective. It’s an opportunity to meet, connect and bridge that gap. In the world of academia, it can be quite solitary, so by meeting in this way, students can benefit from a closer kind of collaboration that they would experience in the workplace.” 

Titled the “Opportunity of a Lifetime”, the showcase focused on the themes of transformation and diversity. A range of topics were explored – from how to prepare organizations for new technologies and greater digitalization, such as the use of digital twins to simulate construction sites, through to leadership and sustainability, such as the impact of the circular economy in manufacturing and design. 

As the event was held in Braås, the homeplace of Volvo CE’s articulated haulers, many technology and engineering specialists from the facility watched the students’ presentations and asked questions, joined also by some of the company’s global leads including Carolina Diez Ferrer, Head of Future Solutions. 

After their presentations, the students were able to discuss how they can support each other, speak to relevant experts in their field, build their community and exchange new ideas. This was followed by a tour of the facility and a look at some of the prototype machines being built there including the articulated hauler made from fossil-free steel.

Anna adds: “While we hope that a lot of these students will go on to be permanent employees of Volvo CE, even if they do not join us, we make incredibly valuable connections with some of the brightest thinkers. Their work helps us to think differently and address challenges and opportunities that we may face in our future.”


Åsa Alström

Head of Strategic Communications
Volvo Construction Equipment