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South East Technological University (SETU) has announced a unique collaboration with Dublin City University (DCU) for a new course in advanced manufacturing delivered using Virtual Reality (VR). The Level 9 IMI 4 (Innovative Materials for Industry 4.0) programme is scheduled to commence in mid-September.

The programme is targeted at people interested in furthering their careers in advanced manufacturing. It introduces a novel approach that includes four technical modules and a self-selected work-related project, aimed at guiding the learner through the structured phases of Problem-Solving, focusing on the practical application of skills that will help them gain relevant industry expertise.

SETU-DCU Partnership

The IMI4 programme has been developed by a HCI PIII-funded SETU-DCU Partnership; the first time two leading universities in Ireland have come together to offer a course like this. The programme entails hands-on laboratory training delivered through active 360° VR learning environments. To facilitate this innovative training approach, VR Headsets will be provided as necessary.

The programme offers a high level of flexibility, with classes conducted online allowing people from any geographical location to enrol. The course also offers a micro-credentialing system, which will allow participants to tailor it to individual learning preferences and goals.

Technical expertise

David Culliton, Programme Director and Course Lead at SETU said, “We are delighted to introduce the Level 9 IMI 4 course in partnership with DCU. The programme combines technical expertise with hands-on training in advanced manufacturing and materials. The Higher Education Authority (HEA) considers VR training to be an exciting and novel approach in industry, setting a new standard for immersive and effective learning experiences. The collaboration between SETU and DCU has enabled us to create a course that addresses the needs of learners and industries alike, empowering them with skills and knowledge they can carry through their careers. The course has already seen successful industrial pilots at both universities with positive feedback from participants.”


Dermot Brabazon, Course Lead at DCU said: “The manufacturing sector has been transformed dramatically over the last 20 years due to globalisation, technology development and emerging markets. However, one of the critical issues the engineering sector faces is an acute labour shortage. SETU and DCU, in conjunction with industry partners, have developed an exciting new Graduate Certificate in Innovative Materials for Industry 4.0. This has been developed to meet the immediate training needs in the growing area of Advanced Manufacturing, and bridge the skills gap. It has been designed to link the traditional and Industry 4.0 technologies, with data analytics, materials selection and sustainability, in design and manufacturing to help Irish companies remain competitive.”

SETU students Jade Stanley, Phuoc Huynh and Samira Nazari, pictured at SETU Carlow for the launch of a Level 9 IMI 4 (Innovative Materials for Industry 4.0) programme being run by SETU and DCU. Photo: Patrick Browne
SETU students Jade Stanley, Phuoc Huynh and Samira Nazari, pictured at SETU Carlow for the launch of a Level 9 IMI 4 (Innovative Materials for Industry 4.0) programme being run by SETU and DCU. Photo: Patrick Browne

Learning curve

Pat Healy works with Fort Wayne Metals in Castlebar and took part in the IMI 4 pilot programme. He said it’s been an important learning curve, “I am very impressed with the wide range of state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 technologies that we have been introduced to. The delivery of each module, all within a five-week block, makes it very manageable for people working full-time. There is a nice blend of lectures, project work and AR, which makes the course enjoyable, and the project elements allow us to tailor our learnings to areas that are most relevant to our own industries.”

Paschal Sage works with Lufthansa Technik Turbine Shannon, and has found the pilot course to be hugely beneficial: “I joined the IMI 4 programme to increase my knowledge of materials and the part they perform in the future of manufacturing. It has been engaging and challenging. The virtual module lectures are structured and delivered very well, and are very informative. The assessments, while challenging, ensure the use of the information learned and encourage independent further research on the subject matter. I am really looking forward to the next modules and work-based project. I would highly recommend this flexible course to anyone interested in this subject.”

Enrolment is now open for the IMI 4 programme. Application forms for the course can be found at