LEADS Best practices

SME engagement for master programme design – DIGITWIN4CIEU


Industry collaboration


Private training providers, Public HEI and VET providers

  • Antonio Arcos, Department Director, UPM
  • Fernando Garcia Molina, Project Manager, UPM

Master’s programme and centre of excellence to upskill civil engineers with digital competencies, with the participation of industry across Spain, France, Hungary and Turkey.
The programme has been co-developed by 4 higher education institutions and 4 tech SMEs/start-ups.

  • Academic programme designed with flexibility to attract different disciplines of the built environment industry, e.g. executive format with evening classes and recorded sessions.
  • Creation of a Centre of Excellence, as the main platform to interact with SMEs in various directions.
  • Continuous generation of technical content to impact the mindset of SMEs managers and highlight the need for adusting to technological advances.
  • Atomisation and segmentation of the market obstructing access to SMEs.
  • Convincing SMEs that are already struggling to adapt to the Building Information Modeling (BIM) to look forward to the virtualisation of infrastructures.
  • SMEs are reluctant to invest in sponsoring students.
  • Limited time availability of SME employees to participate in the different staged of preparing the courses of the master’s programme.
Key takeaways
  • Build a network of contacts to be able to generate impact: Create a technical contents team, generating weekly communications of interest to persuade SMEs managers on the need to anticipate the future of the construction sector, in order to be competitive with larger entities.
  • Regular publications on social media: LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube.
  • Sign collaboration agreements with SME associations (e.g. ANCI, Tecniberia)