Hundreds of University of Central Florida engineering students will become stronger applicants for jobs throughout the world thanks to a major in-kind grant of product design and manufacturing software from Siemens.

The industry software, with a commercial value of $68 million, will be incorporated into student coursework and research related to computer-aided-design, engineering simulation, industrial design, digital manufacturing and manufacturing management.

The Siemens in-kind grant – one of the largest made to the UCF Foundation – will help students compete for jobs throughout the world, as more than 140,000 global companies – including 75 in Florida and a dozen in Orlando – use the software. Local companies using the software include Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Tupperware Brands.

The software relates to the design and manufacturing of sophisticated products for energy and power generation, automotive, aerospace, machinery and high-tech electronics.

As software plays as increasing role in the next era of manufacturing, this bundle of product lifecycle management (PLM) software is designed to benefit UCF’s Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research (CATER).  CATER is housed in the Siemens Energy Center on the university’s main campus in Orlando.

The PLM bundle – which includes Siemens’ LMS™ , NX™ software and STAR-CCM+software – helps engineers transform their ideas into real products by providing accurate information as the product moves from design to prototype, streamlining the manufacturing process by providing instant feedback to product developers to make adjustments.

“This software will give our students a competitive advantage in the future of complex engineering systems, such as power plants, gas turbine engines and aviation,” said UCF Provost and Executive Vice President Dale Whittaker. “We sincerely thank Siemens for their generous support and their shared commitment to harnessing the power of scale to solve our world’s energy and manufacturing challenges.”

Siemens credits UCF’s longstanding excellence in research and education, and its position as a national hub of research and development in advanced turbomachinery and energy systems, as key factors that make UCF an ideal recipient for the in-kind gift, which expands a nationally unique 30-year partnership between the two organizations.

“Over the past three decades, Siemens has grown to be one of Orlando’s largest employers and has accelerated our community’s reputation as a high tech leader in the engineering and energy sectors,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Like the many successful partnerships forged between Siemens and UCF, this new technology partnership will advance our local economy and help to address workforce gaps for the many local companies already using Siemens’ PLM software and by attracting other similar companies to our region to access the pipeline of talent coming from UCF.”

Eyeing UCF’s national reputation as a leader in renewable energy and sustainability initiatives, Siemens has also committed to a digital grid academic partnership, providing financial and in-kind support to UCF, including software, hardware and expertise for curriculum development for UCF’s Digital Grid Innovation Laboratory – the first of its kind in the United States.

The 660-square-foot lab enhances UCF’s leading role in modernizing and sustaining the nation’s power grid by providing a real-world environment and hands-on experience using advanced technology – real-time digital simulation, hardware-in-the-loop testing, power system protection and more – for research faculty and about 220 students per year. A ribbon-cutting ceremony of the lab is planned for later this year.

“For more than three decades, Siemens has called the Orlando area home and today, we are proud to build upon our strong relationship with UCF, expanding cutting-edge research and bringing innovative solutions to the world from right here in Orlando,” said Eric Spiegel, President & CEO of Siemens USA. “This partnership builds upon UCF’s strength in advanced turbomachinery and energy research, and provides real-world experience on the same software and technology used by leading companies, preparing UCF students for rewarding STEM careers.”