Congratulations Johan, this is a very honourable award, you must be proud?
"Yes, the Leonardo da Vinci medal is the highest award of SEFI. It is awarded once a year to a now living person who has contributed significantly to the development of engineering education at university level and made a difference internationally. So, of course, I am very proud!"
Did you get the medal for your efforts for the development of engineering education in general and your work in CDIO?
"My background is in design research, specifically methodology and IT support for product development. Thus, I am passionate about highlighting product development in engineering education. As part of this, I took part in starting the CDIO initiative, Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate (CDIO). CDIO is an international initiative aimed at developing a framework for the improvement and development of engineering education worldwide."
"Together with Ed Crawley (2000-2012) and Ron Hugo (2012-2017), I was one of two co-directors from the establishment of the CDIO Initiative from 2000 to 2017. During this period, the CDIO initiative grew from a project with universities as four founding partners to a global organization with over 140 cooperating institutions (see, for example, Malmqvist, Hugo & Kjellberg, 2015). The annual international CDIO conference, which has run annually since 2005, usually attracts about 300 participants."
Tell us more about CDIO
"CDIO stands for "Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate" and it is actually a description of the product lifecycle. From identifying the needs of a product, planning what is going to be developed, creating the design, testing, manufacturing, using, maintaining and eventually recycling or retiring the product. Most engineers have a specialised role in one part of that process. You work as a designer, a production planner, a programmer, etc. But to be a good engineer you must be able to work with people throughout the product lifecycle. Having the understanding that the decisions I take can have consequences for others and how to best help others is essential. A CDIO education takes place in close collaboration with companies and society with the aim of preparing the students for their future engineering role, where they will in future be able to act as a driving force for a sustainable development."
"We started the CDIO initiative together with three other universities: Chalmers University of Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Linköping University, and MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States. The starting point was that engineering education had become increasingly distant from practical engineering work. The vision for the CDIO initiative was to train students who combine a deep understanding of the technical fundamentals with the ability to be able to take a leading role in the design, implementation, operation and maintenance of new products and processes."
What is your focus in the future?
"I have recently stepped down as a dean of education for Chalmers MATS (Mechanical Engineering, Mechatronics and Automation, Industrial Design, and Maritime Engineering) education area. Now I have taken over as Head of the Product Development master programme and, of course, continue to work within the CDIO Initiative."
Text: Kate Larsson/Johan Malmqvist