|7th World Micromachine Summit|
The seventh World Micromachine Summit was held in the City Concent Hall in Freiburg, Germany, during the period 30 April - 2 May 2001. The summit was attended by delegates from 20 countries and regions across the world. This year the Summit was organized by Professors Wolfgang Menz and Jan G. Korvink from IMTEK, the Institute for Microsystem Technology of the Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg.
The Summit's main theme was to discuss international cooperation between universities, research establishments and industrial companies that are active in the field of micromachine technology, and to foster the exchange between international regions.
The summit was started off with country/regional reviews of MEMS education. The delegates presented an overview of the efforts being made in each region to advance the education of engineers with a focus in Microengineering. It was impressive to see that Universities are everywhere responding to the industrial demand for suitably qualified engineers, and that the concepts for education are innovative and inspiring. Some highlights were the introduction of Micromachine ideas at the pre-school and primary school level, web-based teaching for the general public, as well as special, dedicated degrees in Microengineering.
Under the theme "Towards the Universal Campus" representatives showed more detailed concepts of how university teaching was tailored for the demands of Microengineering, and what efforts were being made to enable the mobility of students across country borders. In addition, we learned of the efforts to institutionalize the continuing education of engineers, so necessary in such a dynamic field as microengineering.
The third session contained presentations on recent advances in academic research. Each country/region presented a number of special research themes, ranging from biomedical, through telecommunications, to artificial noses. At the round panel discussion, company representatives expressed their wishes for engineering education. The final session discussed the role of MEMS in the international market. Here, company representatives discussed observations of how the MEMS field is growing to become a major high-technology industry. An important aspect is the availability of specialized MEMS foundries, a sure sign of the maturity of Microsystem Technology. Speakers also presented techniques to advance the industrialization of MEMS. It was remarkable how dominant the theme of communications turned out to be. Thus the themes covered, among others, RF communications, optical switching, optical telecommunications.
Jan G. Korvink and Wolfgang Menz
IMTEK, University of Freiburg