UA Engineering Student Selected as Mercedes-Benz Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Bharat Balasubramanian, left, from the UA College of Engineering, with student Eric Schulz.
Dr. Bharat Balasubramanian, left, from the UA College of Engineering, with student Eric Schulz.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Eric Schulz, a Parker, Colorado, native who studied mechanical engineering and German at The University of Alabama, was selected for a doctoral fellowship that will partner his studies with research for Mercedes-Benz.

The fellowship was jointly set up by Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc., a Mercedes-Benz automobile manufacturing unit about 20 miles from the UA campus, and the UA College of Engineering with support from Mercedes-Benz Research and Development in Stuttgart, Germany.

Schulz, who graduated with his bachelor’s degree this month, will spend four semesters doing his doctoral course work at UA under the guidance of Dr. Bharat Balasubramanian, executive director of UA’s Center for Advanced Vehicle Technologies and professor in mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering.

Afterward, Schulz will work on his dissertation at Mercedes-Benz’ Research and Development’s advanced manufacturing labs in Stuttgart for another four semesters before returning to UA to finish his dissertation.

After earning his degree, it is planned for Schulz to join Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in its manufacturing division.

While at UA, Schulz has worked three semesters with Mercedes-Benz through the Cooperative Education and Professional Practice Program that included two semesters with Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc. and a summer with Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing in Sindelfingen, Germany.

“The University of Alabama has a long tradition of close cooperation with the automotive industry in Alabama and the neighboring states, and one of our closest partners is Mercedes-Benz,” Balasubramanian said.

“Together we are developing a program where outstanding UA graduates can do their Ph.D. dissertation research in the Mercedes-Benz labs in Germany working on scientific challenges and gaining hands-on experience in an industrial setting,” Balasubramanian said. “These Ph.D. engineers will be an extremely valuable asset to the automotive industry in Alabama.”

Before joining the UA College of Engineering in fall 2012, Balasubramanian was vice president of group research and advanced engineering at Mercedes-Benz in Germany, responsible for product innovations and process technologies.

He retired after nearly 40 years as a research and development engineer, and he is working to strengthen ties between UA and the automotive industry while aligning some coursework to meet automotive industry needs.


Adam Jones, UA media relations 205/348-6444,