Challenges of Implementing a Joint Industrial–Academic Research Project as Part of a Nontraditional Industrial Ph.D. Dissertation


  • Jeffrey R. Seay Auburn University
  • Mario R. Eden Auburn University


This contribution will address the challenges of implementing a collaborative research project between industry and academia as part of an industrial Ph.D. dissertation. The research project is a collaboration between Evonik Degussa, Auburn University, and the University of South Alabama. This work will outline the challenges of integrating all the groups into a cohesive project team and will address how the research group is structured, the challenges of organizing team members across multiple universities and industry groups in the United States and Germany, and how the research is incorporated into a nontraditional, industrial Ph.D. dissertation for a distance-education graduate student at Auburn University.

Author Biographies

Jeffrey R. Seay, Auburn University

Jeffrey Seay is currently a senior process engineer for Evonik Degussa Corporation. He has more than 11 years of industry experience in chemical process design and engineering. He received his B.S. (1996) from Auburn University and M. S. (2004) from the University of South Alabama. In addition to his industrial experience, he is currently pursuing a nontraditional industrial Ph.D. from Auburn University, while concurrently maintaining his industrial career in Mobile, Ala., where he resides.

Mario R. Eden, Auburn University

Mario Eden is presently an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Auburn University. He received his M.S. (1999) and Ph.D. (2003) degrees from the Technical University of Denmark, both in chemical engineering. His work seeks to advance the state of the art in process systems engineering research and education through innovative and novel systematic methodologies for integrated process and product design.