This call aims at providing master’s students the possibility of internationalizing their professional profile through a co-supervised research thesis with the Institut National des Sciences Apliquées in the campus of Strasbourg (INSA-Strasbourg). INSA is one of the largest group of engineering schools in France and an important actor for research, education and engineering in Europe.
Research master’s thesis within the Systems and Computing Engineering Department is completed during two academic semesters (12 credits). This scholarship allows master’s students to carry out the last semester of their thesis (last 8 credits) within the I-Cube research laboratory of the INSA-Strasbourg.
The scholarship includes the following benefits for the student:
- A grant of 600 Eur (approx) per month, during 6 months.
- Work at the I-Cube laboratory during 6 months and meet researchers and other students in an international environment.
- Live in Strasbourg, a very cosmopolitan city with more of 45.000 students of which 20% are international students.
- Work in English and give an international projection to your professional carrier.
Scholarship application requirements
Students must fulfil the following requirements to apply to this scholarship:
- Be enrolled at the Universidad de los Andes in any of the master’s programs (MISIS, MBIT, MATI, MESI, MISO, etc) of the Systems and Computing Engineering Department at the moment of the application.
- Meet the requirements to register “Tesis 1”: English language requirement (LENG 4999-Requisito idiomas posgrado) and approbation of 20 credits (5 courses) of the respective master’s program.
- Have at least a 4.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).
- Pleasure for research and (preferably) previous experience of research projects with concrete results (research papers for example).
- English or French language level: minimum B2.
- Be interested in Industry 4.0 subjects proposed for this scholarship (see subjects’ description here).
Subject 1: Achieving Business and IT alignment in the Industry 4.0. Cloud Computing driven context: an operational approach based on coordination resources and capabilities
Description : the development of the digital economy and the accelerated increase of IT suppliers in the last few years has produced a growing offer of specialized and robust Cloud Computing Services . Consequently, companies are increasingly developing and operating fewer IT services and relying more on external cloud providers to satisfy their needs. However, no cloud provider can satisfy the complete functional and technical information system requirements of a customer . This occurs for several reasons, among which we can count: (i) the level of investment required to design and develop personalized services taking into account the number of customers and the diversity of their activities and needs and (ii) the level of investment required to manage personalized services during the operation considering the differences in their design and the big quantity of request for changes that can arise from the great number of customers. Thus, companies have to simultaneously contract services provided by different providers, distributed in different clouds and use them in conjunction with their internal IT services. These bring great challenges for business–IT alignment of a company in the cloud computing context .
Business and IT alignment is essential as it can contribute to a superior corporate performance . For this reason, executives of different areas have ranked it for more than 30 years as a top priority . In order to build and maintain alignment in the cloud computing context, a company should make a series of adjustments in its business and IT strategies as well as in its business processes and IT/IS implementation . Nevertheless, the existing approaches mainly address:
- elements related to internal Business and IT domains of an organization such as its business processes and IT/IS infrastructure components. However, considering that multiple organizations can be involved in the provision of a cloud service, coordination resources and capabilities are necessary to align these domains through several organizations;
- IS alignment at a strategic level. However, considering that today cloud services directly support the execution of business processes and in general the operation of the organization, alignment concerns in the cloud computing context also needs to be addressed at tactical and operational levels.
As a result, new models, methods and software platforms are needed to support this new context. In this boarder, the objectives of this master’s thesis are:
- Carry out a state of the art in order to find out main problems and gaps regarding Business and IT alignment in the current Industry 4.0 context
- Propose an initial contribution allowing organizations to build and maintain Business and IT alignment at the operational level over time when contracting cloud services. Such contributions should consider not only the traditional internal Business and IT elements but also coordination resources and capabilities to ensure alignment through different organizations.
- Undertake a case study with at least one industrial actor in order to bring insights and validate the contribution.
Advisors: Oscar Avila and Virginie Goepp
 Zhang Q, Cheng L, Boutaba R. Cloud computing: state-of-the-art and research challenges. J Internet Serv Appl. 2010;1(1):7-18.
 Rohmeyer, P., & Ben-Zvi, T. Emerging trends in decision making of IT leaders. Proceedings of Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology, PICMET'12, 2012, 667-671.
 Li, Qing, et al. "Towards the business–information technology alignment in cloud computing environment: anapproach based on collaboration points and agents." International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing 24.11 (2011): 1038-1057.
 Avila O, Goepp V, Kiefer F. 2009. Understanding and classifying information system alignment approaches. J Comput Inf Syst. 50:2.
 O'Regan, N.Sims, M. A. and Gallear, D. (2007), "Leaders, loungers, laggards: The strategic-planning-environment- performance relationship re-visited in manufacturing SMEs". Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 19 No. 1. 6-21.
 Kappelman, L.McLean, E.Johnson, V.Torres, R.Nguyen, Q.Maurer, C. and Snyder, M. (2017), "The 2016 SIM IT issues and trends study". MIS Quarterly Executive, Vol. 16 No. 1. 47-80.
Subject 2: Evolution of the role of Enterprise Information Systems within the Industry 4.0 context
Description: Recent advances in the Industry 4.0 era has paved way for a systematic deployment of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), within which information related to different perspectives is closely monitored and synchronized between the physical factory floor and the cyber computational systems. CPS can be defined as transformative technologies for managing interconnected systems between its physical assets and computational capabilities .
The recent technology developments have resulted in higher availability and affordability of sensors, data acquisition systems and computer networks, therefore, the competitive nature of today’s industry forces more factories to move toward implementing high-tech methodologies. Within this scenario, four design principles to support companies in identifying and implementing Industry 4.0 scenarios have been proposed :
- Interconnection: The ability of machines, devices, sensors, and people to connect and communicate with each other via the Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of People (IoP)
- Information collection and use: The transparency afforded by Industry 4.0 technology provides operators with vast amounts of useful information needed to make appropriate decisions. CPS inter-connectivity allows operators to collect immense amounts of data and information from all points in the manufacturing process, thus aiding functionality and identifying key areas that can benefit from innovation and improvement.
- Technical assistance: First, the ability of assistance systems to support humans by aggregating and visualizing information comprehensively for making informed decisions and solving urgent problems on short notice. Second, the ability of CPS to physically support humans by conducting a range of tasks that are unpleasant, too exhausting, or unsafe for their human co-workers.
- Decentralized decisions: The ability of CPS to make decisions on their own and to perform their tasks as autonomously as possible. Only in the case of exceptions, interferences, or conflicting goals, are tasks delegated to a higher level.
In this context, this subject focus on what needs to be the new role and characteristics of current Enterprise Information Systems (EIS) in order to take advantage of the new technologies capabilities and accomplish with the principles of the Industry 4.0.
Consequently, the thesis has the following objectives:
- Define the specific research problem in the context of the subject.
- Carry out a literature review about the current and future role and characteristics of EIS in the context of Industry 4.0.
- Design a conceptual framework composed of functional, data, and technological layers describing the harmonization of EIS with the critical technological elements of the CPS in the context of Industry 4.0.
- Undertake a case study with at least one industrial actor in order to bring insights and validate the framework.
Advisors: Oscar Avila and Virginie Goepp
 Baheti R, Gill H. Cyber-physical systems. Impact Control Technologies 2011:1–6.
 Hermann, Pentek, Otto, 2016: Design Principles for Industrie 4.0 Scenarios, accessed on 4 May 2016