Volkswagen and UT Knoxville Expand Research Partnership

Volkswagen Group of America and University of Tennessee, Knoxville accelerate research collaboration News
Volkswagen Group of America and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville announced plans Wednesday to accelerate and expand their joint research program over the next three years. The partnership, first launched in January 2020, has already resulted in the opening of Volkswagen’s Innovation Hub at UT’s Cherokee Farm Research Park.Through 2025, Volkswagen and UT aim to initiate at least 10 additional collaborative research projects, increase PhD fellowship and internship positions at Volkswagen, establish lectures from Volkswagen executives, and create new opportunities for student engagement. These efforts will build on existing work at the Innovation Hub, which focuses on automotive lightweighting, sustainable materials, and electric vehicle technology through teams of Volkswagen researchers, UT faculty, and students.

During PhD fellowships, students split their time between Volkswagen and their dissertation work, with placements at the Innovation Hub, Volkswagen’s Engineering and Planning Center, or the Battery Engineering Lab in Chattanooga. Volkswagen and UT representatives are also developing a strategic partnership to further increase research, education, and internship cooperation in Knoxville and Chattanooga.

The strengthened Volkswagen-UT alliance highlights the potential for industry-academic partnerships to drive innovation. By providing students access to real-world challenges and technologies at major companies, and companies exposure to new ideas and talent at universities, collaborations can accelerate progress on shared goals like vehicle electrification and efficiency.

UT Interim President Randy Boyd said in a statement, “Partnerships like this one with Volkswagen are transforming the way universities cultivate talent and advance knowledge…We are educating students for jobs that do not yet exist, and this collaboration helps ensure we are preparing students for successful careers.”

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