KE@Work shortlisted for 2018 Reimagine Education awards

The honours path for bachelor students of the Data Science and Knowledge Engineering programme, KnowledgeEngineering@Work or KE@Work, is shortlisted for the 2018 Reimagine Education awards. The reputable Reimagine awards seek to reward education innovators from around the globe.

KE@Work started in 2014 as a way of stimulating talented students and establishing partnerships with local businesses. Professor Frank Thuijsman, initiator of the project: “We wanted to offer students a unique and challenging experience, which helps them participate in the labour market while simultaneously keeping them engaged with their studies.”

KE@Work selects the best students of the bachelor’s programme Data Science and Knowledge Engineering. They are matched with companies, where they work alongside their studies for two years. An academic mentor safeguards the quality of the project, while students obtain work experience and business skills not normally taught in universities. As such, KE@Work greatly contributes to the students’ employability, which is a key focus of the Reimagine Education Awards.

A triple win

Professor Thuijsman’s submission emphasizes that KE@Work is a triple win: the programme benefits students, businesses and the Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering alike. “First-time corporate partners are in for a surprise”, says Mel Schickel, coordinator of KE@Work. “They go in expecting that students still need a lot of training, a misunderstanding that our students quickly remedy. Our students possess the analytical skills to look at projects from multiple perspectives. Each partnership runs for two years, so students have ample time to achieve great work and introduce academic insights.”

The Oscars of education

KE@Work faced stiff competition. No less than 1150 projects competed for a Reimagine Education award, which is considered the ‘Oscar of education’. The winners are announced at the end of November, during the award ceremony in San Francisco which will be attended by representatives from Google and IBM as well as top universities from around the world.

For the Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering, KE@Work provides a valuable source of feedback to ensure that the content of their curriculum matches the demands of the labour market. The partnerships with local businesses – roughly 30 to date, including companies such as APG, Mediaan, VodafoneZiggo and Q-Park – also stimulate contract research within the organization. Accordingly, KE@Work is shortlisted in the category ‘Best University-Employer Partnership’.

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