A working laboratory for international logistics research? That's the vision of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Transportation & Logistics and the government of Aragón, Spain, which have signed an agreement to create a logistics and supply chain management education and research program in Aragón's capital city of Zaragoza.
The MIT-Zaragoza International Logistics Program is part of a broader initiative to develop the Aragón region of Spain into a logistics center. Aragón's government has already invested more than 2 billion Euros in the Zaragoza Logistics Center (ZLC), a 4.3-million square-foot complex of distribution centers, warehouses and transportation facilities with good access to roads and intermodal services. Situated southwest of the city near an international trade fair facility, a high-speed railway/highway exchange and the city's airport, the logistics park will be run by a dedicated firm called PLAZA (Plataforma Logistica de Zaragoza).
As the ZLC's flagship attraction, the MI TZaragoza International Logistics Program will conduct cutting-edge research, using PLAZA facilities as a working laboratory for international logistics practice. "Instead of putting a laboratory in a university, this program puts the university within a large-scale laboratory," says Yossi Sheffi, director of MIT's Center for Transportation & Logistics. "PLAZA companies will work with researchers at the ZLC and at MIT to experiment with new logistics processes, concepts and technologies developed at the center."
The center, which expects its first students to enroll in September 2004, will offer graduate and executive education to students from around the world. The offerings will include a master's degree modeled on MIT's Master of Engineering in Logistics (MLOG), a doctorate degree and executive education courses leading to certificates in logistics-related disciplines, according to a description of the program prepared by MIT.
To launch the new program, the logistics center will host an International Logistics Summit in Zaragoza from March 24-26. The summit program will include leading international researchers, practitioners, and policy makers, including speakers from MIT, Stanford, Georgia Tech, Wharton and the United Kingdom's Cranfield School.