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Introduction Merishna Ramtahalsing

I am Merishna Ramtahalsing, and as per March the 1st 2019 I commenced with my PhD at the university of Twente in Enschede. Together with my colleagues, I will be working on the SIRA Project (System Integration for Railways Advancement) and will mainly be focusing on the system definition and overview. A proper system definition, a clear vision for the goals and a simple interface for describing the rail transport are key to communication, shared understanding, and collaboration. Therefore, system definition and overview are among principal needs for cooperation. This will include going beyond technical definition of the system and its process, learning from the project management practices, and learning from studies on human behaviour as individuals, groups, or organisations.

About myself:

In 2011, I commenced with my BSc in Mechanical Engineering at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname. For my BSc thesis, I carried out a project at the Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname N.V, a crude oil producing and refining company. It was during this period, that I first-handily saw the application of science to the industry. This project required interdisciplinary coordination, as maintaining safety was highly important, alongside indefectible process execution. Perplexed about the scientific contribution to the industry, a constant urge to learn and explore, an immense desire to be a part of the growing technological world and to contribute to its development, was sparked.

After graduating, I moved to the Netherlands, as I always had an urge to study abroad. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to broaden my educational horizon, alongside it being a learning experience on itself. I enrolled in the MSc in Mechanical Engineering program of the University of Twente, specializing in maintenance. Moreover, it was during my internship at PPG Architectural Coatings Amsterdam, that my interest in research expanded, again mostly due to the scientific relevance to the industry. This project required mapping the technical condition of the factory, finally assisting in tactical and strategic prioritization and decision-making. All of which required practical, pragmatic yet research-based solutions.  Afterwards, as final requirement for achieving the MSc title, I carried out my graduation project at Strukton Rail Netherlands B.V.  Because today’s changing environment concerning consumer needs, technological developments, demands for growth and new governmental regulations all put pressure on competitive advantages, companies are required to adapt, excel and grow more rapidly than ever before, in order to remain competitive. Thus, it is widely recognized that innovation is a key factor for corporate competitiveness, as is the case for Strukton. Hence, this project focused on Innovation Management within the railway maintenance sector. This required close, integrated coordination within a complex, dynamic, and multi stakeholder environment. This research resulted is an innovation management framework aiding to structure the maintenance innovations in various levels of development, in order to efficiently allocate the available resources and help achieve a continuous improvement loop between strategic, tactical and operational level.

Relating my graduation project to the prime objective of the SIRA project, conducting scientific research on integration beyond the combination of system elements and focusing on design challenges for multi-disciplinary design methods and management systems, it can surely be stated that it is closely related to my graduation project, in the sense that it concerns multi-stakeholder integration in a complex, dynamic environment for the rail sector, however on an increasingly larger scale. Thus, this intriguing project surely is an excellent addition to my background and will inevitably be a remarkable personal and professional journey.

I certainly look forward to meeting all of you!