Description of the Doctoral Program in Mechatronics Engineering

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[This text is a translation from Spanish of the original contents of the official verification report of the program.]


- Introduction

- Research in Mechatronics: Scientific and Strategic Interest.

- National and International References.

- Procedures for External and Internal Consultation.

> Integration with the Doctoral School of the University of Malaga (ED-UMA) and its R&D&I Strategy





The Doctoral Program in Mechatronic Engineering is the continuation of Doctoral programs with a similar name that have been consistently offered at the University of Malaga since 1994. These programs have received recognition for their quality in various calls for evaluation that have emerged over this period. For example, the program received the designation of a Quality Program in the early and isolated call of 1995. Subsequently, it was granted the MENTION OF QUALITY in 2006, MCD2006-00114 for the Mechatronic Engineering program approved in accordance with RD 778/1998 and valid for the academic years 2006-2007 to 2009-2010. In 2009, the Doctoral Program in MECHATRONIC ENGINEERING was offered, verified as a doctoral program with a teaching period not associated with any Master's program, in accordance with RD 1393/2007. In 2010, the current Master's Degree in MECHATRONIC ENGINEERING was verified, which constitutes the teaching period of the DOCTORAL PROGRAM in MECHATRONIC ENGINEERING verified according to RD 1393/2007. This program, which is currently in force, received the MENTION OF EXCELLENCE (MEE 2011-0108) in 2011, valid for the academic years 2011-2012 to 2013-2014.

The Doctoral Program in Mechatronic Engineering has been offered at the University of Malaga under different names but with a similar profile and objectives since the biennium 1995-1996: "Techniques of modeling and computation and analysis in engineering," biennia 1995-1996, 1996-1997 (Mention of Quality), 1997-1998; "Techniques of analysis and design in engineering," 1998-1999; "Production Process Engineering," biennia 1999-2001, 2000-2002, 2001-2003, and 2002-2004; "Systems Engineering" (specific to Venezuela) 2001-2002; "Production Process Engineering: Mechatronic Engineering," biennia 2003-2005, 2004-2006; "Production Process Engineering," 2005-2007; "Mechatronic Engineering," biennia 2006-2008, 2007-2009, 2008-2009, Doctorate with Mention of Quality; "Mechatronic Engineering," 2009-2010, verified according to RD 1393/2007 with a specific teaching period (60 ECTS); "Mechatronic Engineering," biennia 2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2012-2013, verified according to RD 1393/2007 Master's program (90 ECTS) and Doctorate with Mention of Excellence.

These programs have attracted the majority of doctoral students in the field of Industrial Engineering, as well as in the fields of Automation and Industrial Electronics Engineering, Industrial Informatics, and Electronic Engineering at the University of Malaga, with an annual enrollment ranging from 10 to 18 students.

With the proposal for the new program, in addition to thesis supervisors from the current program, new faculty members from various research teams have been integrated. The faculty members are highly qualified (see section "Human Resources"), and will triple the thesis production capacity within the program. Furthermore, permanent inclusion of foreign professors and professors from different European universities has also been achieved through corresponding agreements. As for the students, whose profile is detailed in section "Access Requirements and Admission Criteria", it is intended that they have a full-time dedication to the development of their research, although up to 30% of new admissions with part-time dedication are allowed, without compromising the acquisition of the basic, general, and specific competencies outlined in the program.



The term "Mechatronics" was coined in the 1970s by the Japanese industry in relation to the development of the first industrial robots. "Robotics" has since become a generic term, yet from a formal standpoint, it could be considered a subset of Mechatronics. In many aspects, Mechatronics is the heir to the so-called "Electromechanical Systems" or "Control and Automation Systems." It is a natural choice to explain a process that, from its inception, aims to create advanced products and engineering systems that are indissolubly linked by the synergistic combination of mechanical, electronic, control, and computer technologies.

First and foremost, Mechatronics should be considered as representing the integration of technology and not merely a combination of the main disciplines. In fact, the fusion of mechanics, electronics, control, and computer science can only achieve its desired functionality through a systematic integration process of all inherent disciplines. The mere aggregation of mechanical, electronic, or computer aspects does not in itself provide the solution for a complete system.

Mechatronics opens up enormous technological possibilities, as has already been evidenced in recent years by the appearance of numerous highly sophisticated products with these characteristics (such as camcorders or hard drives). These would never have existed through the simple adoption of a single discipline or traditional approaches combined. A simple assessment of sectors of interest in fields such as the automotive industry, aerospace, naval, manufacturing, electronics, robotics, biotechnology, etc., demonstrates the significant scientific and strategic interest of this proposition.

As indicated in the introduction to the Mechatronics section of the "Institution of Mechanical Engineers," IMechE-UK, "... Mechatronics is not a subject, science, or technology per se... its place should be considered as a philosophy... a way of seeing and doing things, and by its very nature, it requires a unified approach..."

Inherent to this Mechatronics approach is that this type of engineering solution requires the use of integrated teams of engineers working toward a common goal. Mechatronics engineering is identified as a systematic approach; it aims to optimize an "engineering solution" where quality is implicit in the way solutions are sought and the methodologies used for their development.


Research in Mechatronics: Scientific and Strategic Interest

The interest in Mechatronics research activities responds to societal needs and demonstrates the scientific and strategic importance of research in the four program lines: Robotics and Intelligent Control (RCI), Fluid Mechanics and Smart Materials and Structures (MFMEI), Smart Electrical and Electronic Systems (SEEI), and High-Performance Computing (CAP). In all four lines, there is significant interdisciplinarity inherent in the program's concept, with important collaborations among participating teams. These collaborations have been established at the educational level in both the former doctoral programs and the current Official Master's in Mechatronic Engineering RD-1393/2007, Doctorate in Mechatronic Engineering RD 1393/2007, International Summer School on Mechatronics (Ed. 2007, 2009, 2010, University of Malaga and University of Dresden), and International Summer School on Mechatronics Erasmus IP-Intensive Programme (University of Malaga, University of Dresden, and University of Brnö). They also exist at the research level, with various research project proposals involving members from different teams, both in competitively funded public projects and contracts with organizations and companies.

Collaboration in establishing common infrastructures is particularly important, as seen in the "Picasso Computing Center" or the "Unmanned Aerial and Hydrodynamic Laboratory," among other initiatives, in which members from all research teams in this program have participated.

These lines of research are prominently reflected in the latest action lines of various national and European plans, such as the National Plan for Scientific Research, Technological Development, and Innovation 2008-2011 or the Seventh Framework Program (FP7) of the European Commission.

The National Plan for Scientific Research, Technological Development, and Innovation 2008-2011 establishes the Instrumental Lines of Action and National Programs. Research and development activities in the Instrumental Line of R&D&I Projects, especially in the National Program of Fundamental Research Projects and National Program of Applied Research Projects, cover areas already considered in the programs of the National R&D&I Plan 2004-2007, such as "Design and Industrial Production," which aligns well with the concept of Engineering considered here, as well as other related areas like "Electronic and Communication Technologies" or "Information Technologies."

The national plan also includes five Strategic Actions: "Health Strategic Action," "Biotechnology Strategic Action," "Energy and Climate Change Strategic Action," "Telecommunications and Information Society Strategic Action," "Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Strategic Action," "New Materials and New Industrial Processes."

Particularly, in the last one, the following general objective is established:

"... Improve the competitiveness of the Spanish industry through the generation of substantial changes in a wide range of sectors through the implementation of knowledge and the development of new applications thanks to the convergence of different technologies and disciplines, including Nanoscience, Nanotechnology, materials science and technology, and process technologies (industrial automation, electronics, mechanics, ICT, etc.). The Strategic Action is guided, in line with European R&D policies, by the evolution towards the reduction of the scale of synthesis, manipulation, and transformation of materials that ultimately form the basis of our economies, from the macro to micro and nano levels..."

Two of the lines in this Strategic Action are clearly linked to Mechatronics Engineering:

  • Line 6: Development and validation of new industrial models and strategies. Sub-lines: (Development of components with self-adjustment, self-diagnosis, and modular design capabilities. Tools for integration, automation, and advanced process control. Data acquisition and transmission systems, sensors, and actuators. Development of tools for the analysis and simulation of physical and virtual prototypes of products, services, and processes. New processes. Inspection and control. Perception systems. Computer vision, image processing, and shape recognition. Robotics. Robots: autonomous; for personal, social and professional service; for rehabilitation, assistance and medical help; highly mobile; for outdoor applications; for defense and security; support for industrial robotics; multi-robot systems; tele-robotics; cognitive behavior and learning. Engineering systems in collaborative and distributed environments. Logistics and global supply chain management...).
  • Line 7: Exploitation of converging technologies. Sub-lines: (Intelligent mechatronic systems. Development of equipment for the production (manufacturing and assembly) of miniaturized products with nano and micro-scale interconnections. Development of new advanced manufacturing processes and/or hybrid processes, adapted to new product needs and/or more sustainable materials, higher performance, etc. Cognition-based control...).

In addition to national plans, various European initiatives are worth noting. In the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), ICT - INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES Program, Challenge II: Cognitive Systems, Interaction, Robotics, Objective ICT-2009.2.1: Cognitive Systems and Robotics, aims to extend systems engineering to the design of systems that can carry out useful tasks (e.g., manipulation and grasping, exploration and navigation, monitoring and control, situation assessment, communication and interaction), autonomously or in cooperation with people, in circumstances that were not planned for explicitly at design time. This objective aligns with the goals of the program. Challenge 3: Components, systems, engineering focuses on embedded systems, computing, and control, which is relevant for the development of intelligent manufacturing systems (IMS) and is expected to be essential for meeting economic and social needs.

There are also lines of interest in the NMP - NANOSCIENCES, NANOTECHNOLOGIES, MATERIALS AND NEW PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGIES program, particularly in the area of "New production and Integration."

The scientific and strategic interest in Mechatronics in Europe is also reflected in various organizations and networks, such as the International Network of Mechatronics Universities (, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, UK (IMECHE) (, and societies like IFAC: International Federation of Automatic Control ( or IEEE: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers ( The latter is one of the largest scientific and professional institutions worldwide, hosting up to four different international conferences on Mechatronics and the most relevant indexed journals in the field.



National and International References.

Mechatronics studies are frequent on the international level, encompassing undergraduate, master's, and doctoral programs. This summary will reference both current doctoral programs and the most relevant postgraduate programs that enable access to the Doctoral Program.

National References: In Spain, the Doctoral Program in Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Castilla-La Mancha and the Doctoral Program in Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Malaga ( with Mention of Excellence are noteworthy. Additionally, one must consider the "Erasmus Mundus Master in Mechatronic and Micro-Mechatronic Systems (EU4M)" (, formed by three European partners: University of Oviedo (Spain), ENSMM: École Nationale Supérieure de Mécanique et des Microtechniques de Besançon, (France), HSKA: Hochschule Karlsruhe Technik und Wirtschaft, Karlsruhe, (Germany). There are also closely related programs with different denominations, such as the following: Polytechnic University of Madrid: "Postgraduate Program in Automation and Robotics"; Carlos III University of Madrid: "Master / Doctorate in Robotics and Automation"; University of Seville: "Master / Doctorate in Automation, Robotics, and Telematics"; Polytechnic University of Catalonia, "Master / Doctorate in Automation and Robotics"; University of Alicante and University of Elche; University of Valencia "Postgraduate Program in Automation, Robotics, and Industrial Informatics"; University of Valladolid, "Process and Systems Engineering."

International References: Most prestigious European universities offer postgraduate education in Mechatronics, with master's programs that allow students to pursue research (Ph.D.) afterward.

  • KU Leuven: Offers a Master's program with a focus on Mechatronics.
  • University of Twente: Has the Drebbel Institute of Mechatronics and a Master's program in Mechatronics.
  • University of Paderborn: Offers a Master's in Applied Mechatronics.
  • KTH The Royal Institute of Technology: Offers a Master's program in Mechatronics.
  • University of Stuttgart: Offers bachelor's and master's programs in Mechatronics.
  • Loughborough University: Offers a Master's program in Mechatronics.
  • FH Aachen: Offers Diploma and Master's programs in Mechatronics.
  • FH Bochum: Offers Diploma and Master's programs in Mechatronics.
  • TU Dresden: Offers bachelor's and master's programs in Mechatronics.
  • Warsaw Technology University: Offers bachelor's and master's programs in Mechatronics.
  • Brno University of Technology: Offers bachelor's and master's programs in Mechatronics.
  • TU Hamburg: Offers international master's programs in Mechatronics.
  • TU München: Offers bachelor's and master's programs in Mechatronics.
  • FH Ravensburg-Weingarten: Offers a master's program in Mechatronics.
  • King's College London: Houses the Master Centre for Mechatronics & Manufacturing Systems.
  • Newcastle University: Offers a Master of Science in Mechatronics.
  • University of Sheffield: Offers bachelor's and master's programs in Mechatronics.
  • University of Évora (Portugal): Offers the Engenharia Mecatronica program.
  • Tallinn University of Technology (Estonia): Offers bachelor's and master's programs in Mechatronics.
  • University of Southern Denmark: Offers programs in Mechatronics.
  • University of California, Berkeley: Has the College of Engineering and the Robotics & Automation Laboratory.
  • University of Illinois, Urbana: Offers programs related to robotics and automation.
  • University of Washington, Seattle: Focuses on Robotics, Controls, and Mechatronics.
  • University of Waterloo (Canada): Offers programs in Engineering.




Procedures for External and Internal Consultation.

Thie program proposal arises from the Academic Committee of the Doctoral Program with Mention of Excellence in "Mechatronic Engineering" at the University of Malaga. The said committee includes all the faculty of the program, a member from the administrative and service sector, and students from the program (25% of the committee). The departments represented in the committee are the Department of Systems Engineering and Automation, the Department of Electronics, the Department of Electrical Engineering, the Department of Mechanics and Fluid Mechanics (Fluid Mechanics Area), the Department of Computer Architecture, and the Department of Applied Physics II (Applied Physics Area).

The following working documents have been used:

  • Working documents related to the Excellence Network of the VI Framework Programme (FP6) IST–EUMECHA-PRO (2005–2007) "European Mechatronics and Intelligent Manufacturing," working documents related to the Excellence Network of the VI Framework Programme (FP6) IST-EURON-II (2006-2008) "European Robotics Research Network," and documents from EURON-3 (since March 2008).

  • Working documents from the MANUFUTURE-EU network ( Manufuture: Andrea Gentile DG RTD Directorate Industrial Technologies, European Commission Seventh Framework Programme Vertical Actions: Mechatronics and Intelligent Manufacturing (Belgium/Greece) (

  • Reports from the European Commission: "MECHATRONICS: Key Technology for the factory of the future in Europe" EUROPEAN COMMISSION DG Research Christos TOKAMANIS. G2 "New Generation Products."

  • Reports and objectives of the International Network of Mechatronics Universities ( This network aims to exchange experiences in education and research in Mechatronics, involving more than 100 institutions worldwide. The network's intention is to promote student exchanges, knowledge sharing, research collaborations, and the development of the "Annual Workshop on Research and Education in Mechatronics" (

  • Works and reports from the DLR – Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, Prof. Gerd Hirzinger, Gerhard Grunwald, Wesling, Germany (

  • Leonardo Da Vinci WP 130 State of the art Report "Education and training in mechatronics in Europe and access for deaf people" Country reports from Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, Lithuania, and the United Kingdom, focusing on the accessibility of these programs to individuals with hearing impairments.

  • Reports from the Working Group on Mechatronics of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), United Kingdom:

  • Reports, publications, and journals from the "Robotics and Automation" (RAS) and "Industrial Electronics" (IES) societies of the IEEE: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers ( and from the IFAC: International Federation of Automatic Control (




Integration with the Doctoral School of the University of Malaga (ED-UMA) and its R&D&I Strategy

The University of Malaga approved, in the Council of Government meeting held on June 25, 2012, and subsequently in the meeting of its social council on June 27, 2012, the document describing the "Doctoral Training Strategy at the University of Malaga" (, as well as the establishment of the Doctoral School of the University of Malaga (hereinafter referred to as ED-UMA). This doctoral school has its internal regulations approved on the same date, which outline its vision, organization, structure, members, functions, and other operational aspects. This document is available at:

The Doctoral School of the University of Malaga is the competent unit to:

  1. Define, articulate, and manage the activities related to the teaching of the Doctoral Programs it develops.
  2. Plan the offering of research training activities to ensure that research personnel in training can attain the academic and professional knowledge and competencies required by their programs.
  3. Organize other research training activities of general interest.
  4. Any other competence established in the current regulations and its regulatory development.

As stipulated in the Internal Regulations of the ED-UMA, all Doctoral Programs at the University of Malaga will be associated by default with the Doctoral School of the University of Malaga, subject to a report from the Postgraduate Committee. Its strategy will be aligned with that of the ED-UMA, and the latter, in turn, with that of the University, ensuring that the strategies of the Doctoral Programs of the University of Malaga are coherent and aligned with the university's R&D&I strategy.

The ED-UMA is also responsible for planning the necessary offer of activities related to the training and development of doctoral candidates enrolled in the Doctoral Programs affiliated with it, always in accordance with the university's research strategy (

Promoting the professional development of tutors is an institutional responsibility of the University of Malaga, as described in its strategy, either by providing formal training or through the exchange of experiences with other tutors. Developing a culture of shared supervision among tutors, thesis supervisors, and doctoral candidates should be a priority for the institutions responsible for Doctoral Programs, and in this case, the Doctoral School of the University of Malaga is responsible for these tasks.

To achieve this, the School will annually organize various seminars and training sessions for tutors and supervisors, allowing for a collaborative environment and the exchange of experiences and opinions, continuous training opportunities, and a forum for discussing what constitutes doctoral training at the University of Malaga.

Likewise, the Doctoral School of the University of Malaga will organize annual events aimed at potential future doctoral candidates and companies, institutions, and organizations that may be interested in the future placement of University of Malaga doctors or the doctoral training of their employees.

All members of a Doctoral School of the University of Malaga must commit to complying with the Code of Good Practices adopted by the School (this document is available for download at:

As stipulated in Section XIV of the Good Practices Guide for Doctoral Programs at the University of Malaga (, the ED-UMA will seek to ensure sufficient leadership and critical mass of doctoral professors and candidates in the fields of knowledge in which they are active.

In addition to the structures imposed by RD 99/2011, the ED-UMA also defines, in its internal regulations, a series of support structures:

  • THE PERMANENT COMMITTEE: The Permanent Committee of the Management Committee of the ED-UMA will be composed of the Director, who will preside over it, a coordinator of a Doctoral Program at the University of Malaga or a coordinator of a joint doctoral program at the University of Malaga, and a doctoral candidate. The latter will be members of the Management Committee and chosen by it. The Permanent Committee is responsible for resolving procedural matters established by the Committee and any other issues that the Committee expressly delegates to it. All decisions of the Permanent Committee will be reported to the Management Committee of the ED-UMA as soon as possible.

  • THE INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE: The ED-UMA will have an International Advisory Committee consisting of members of recognized prestige in the knowledge areas related to its doctoral programs and/or in technology transfer aspects. The proposal for appointments to the International Advisory Committee will be made by the Director of the ED-UMA, after hearing from its Management Committee. The International Advisory Committee of the ED-UMA will conduct an annual evaluation of the academic activities and lines of action of the School, as well as any specific reports requested by the Management Committee.

The Doctoral School is currently in the process of development, following the approval of its creation and Internal Regulations by the Council of Government and the Social Council of the University of Malaga. Initially, the headquarters of the ED-UMA is located in the Government Pavilion Building of the University of Malaga, situated at Plaza el Ejido s/n, Postal Code 29013 Malaga.

As stated in its internal regulations, the Doctoral School will operate in a decentralized manner, so, in addition to the facilities at its central headquarters, it will carry out its academic and administrative management activities in the facilities of the University of Malaga Centers responsible for the Doctoral Programs.

Regarding human and material resources, the director of the School will be assisted by the administrative and service staff assigned to it, as well as the doctoral studies administrative staff of the Administrative Unit of the International Postgraduate Center and Doctoral School (CIPD), according to existing needs.

The webpage that contains all the information related to doctoral studies, including that related to the Doctoral School, is available at This includes:

The Doctoral Program in MECHATRONICS ENGINEERING is therefore integrated into the ED-UMA, with its members becoming part of the School. The program is also integrated into the R&D&I strategy defined by the University of Malaga in the field of doctoral studies, and this proposal has been approved by the Postgraduate Committee of the University of Malaga and its Council of Government before being submitted for verification.




The aim is for the majority of doctoral students to be enrolled on a full-time basis. However, considering that a potentially significant number of students may come from the business sector, it is deemed necessary to offer a percentage of new enrollment positions with part-time dedication, which will account for 30% of the total positions offered. Limiting their number and providing proper guidance for part-time students will ensure the adequate acquisition of competencies.

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