Volkswagen Group of America and University of Tennessee, Knoxville accelerate research collaboration

VWGoA and UT executed over 25 joint research projects within the past three years, will now expand with guest lecturers and additional UT student engagement programs

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWGoA) and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT) today announced plans to accelerate their research collaboration. Building on the program’s initial success, both partners aim to kick off more than 10 new joint research projects through 2025, introduce more Ph. D. fellowship and internship positions with Volkswagen, establish dedicated guest lectures with Volkswagen senior experts, and create additional UT student engagement programs starting in October 2023.

VWGoA and UT formed their research collaboration in January 2020, together with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the largest U.S. Department of Energy science and energy laboratory. The collaboration gave rise to Volkswagen’s Innovation Hub on UT’s Research Park at Cherokee Farm in Knoxville. This industry-leading technology unit is focused on advanced research in automotive lightweight structures, sustainable materials, and electric mobility, with interdisciplinary teams across Volkswagen researchers, UT faculty, doctoral and undergraduate students.

VWGoA and UT aim to expand their academic and applied automotive research collaboration. Beginning in October this year, VWGoA will increase its positions for Ph. D. fellowship candidates and UT student internships. During the fellowship, the Ph. D. students are seamlessly integrated in the company and share their time as Volkswagen employees while working on their dissertations. They can be located at the Innovation Hub Knoxville, Volkswagen’s Engineering and Planning Center (EPC), or the Battery Engineering Lab (BEL) in Chattanooga.

VWGoA, the UT System, and UT Knoxville and UT Chattanooga are also working to develop a strategic roadmap for a comprehensive partnership involving expanding research, educational and internship opportunities in Knoxville and Chattanooga.

“We are leveraging the ingenuity and innovation of the Tennessee Valley,” said Pablo Di Si, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “Through our great partnership with the University of Tennessee, we are driving Volkswagen’s vision to build more sustainable transportation for all. Additionally, engaging with leading research institutions in Tennessee and across the United States also helps to source engineering talent for Volkswagen.”

“The future of mobility is happening in Tennessee – and it’s happening now. That’s why we are grateful to partner with a global industry leader like Volkswagen to bring together the real-world experience of industry and the expertise of our state’s flagship research institution,” said UT Chancellor Donde Plowman. “Together we are developing the technologies that will transform the automotive industry and build the workforce of the future. We are excited about the new opportunities ahead.”

SOURCE: Volkswagen

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