Sponsorship

The capstone Senior Design experience allows students to develop skills and a real-world perspective that are valued by employers. In turn, employers are able to work closely with UConn Engineering seniors, assess their problem solving skills and potential as future employees, and benefit from a thoughtfully developed and tangible design idea. Many sponsors hire the graduates who, as seniors, worked on their design teams.

Learn more about the program from a sponsor’s perspective by clicking on any of the navigation options immediately above.

 

Sponsorship

A modest fee is expected to support each project. The project sponsorship fee should be considered a grant and not a contract.   Multi departmental projects require a slightly larger fee.

In addition to the sponsorship fee, sponsors are expected to cover project costs (components, specialized equipment, etc.). Sponsors may provide these parts directly or UConn can invoice for them at the conclusion of the project. All components, equipment, etc. will be provided back to the sponsor at the end of the project.

The project team’s guaranteed deliverables are design reports at the end of each semester.  Any other project deliverables cannot be guaranteed.

 

Billing

Typically, sponsors are billed in October for the project fee; however, flexible payment scheduling can be accommodated by prior arrangement.

An estimate (rough order of magnitude – ROM) is provided to sponsors during the fall semester for costs associated with the build-out of prototypes and validation testing. Sponsors may set a dollar ceiling on these costs as one parameter for the project. Actual costs are totaled in April and sponsors are billed for these costs in May.

 

Intellectual Property

UConn School of Engineering recognizes, respects and will adhere to the right of industry sponsors to protect their intellectual property (IP) and sensitive trade secrets.

Typically, sponsored projects may involve improvements to existing products and processes developed by the sponsor, which rightly retains the right to its IP throughout the course of the senior design project.

Occasionally, when new products and processes are invented in the course of a sponsored senior design project, it is appropriate for the sponsor to include the student inventor(s) in any patent filings submitted.

In the case of a project that benefits from a UConn faculty member’s existing IP, such as a unique algorithm developed by the faculty member and applied to the sponsored senior design project, that IP continues to reside with the faculty member and UConn and may not be claimed by the sponsoring company.

Sponsors must agree not to hold students, the UConn School of Engineering, or the University of Connecticut responsible for the final success of the project or any product liability.

Unless explicitly asked by the sponsor, student teams will be permitted to discuss and display their project in public forums.

Students and faculty may be asked to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements; sponsors will not be expected to sign such agreements with the University of Connecticut.

 

Responsibilities & Expectations

The sponsor is generally expected to provide:

  • A project idea, manufacturing problem or challenge that:
    • Is not an urgent, immediate need for the company
    • Reflects a discrete project, system or process. Discrete projects may involve the design, fabrication and testing of a prototype for a new product; redesign, fabrication and testing of a prototype for an existing re-engineered product; design, fabrication and testing of a prototype testing stand or apparatus, etc.
    • Continuous and system processes may involve design, modeling and analytical prototyping
  • A modest fee in support of a project (variable by discipline and project)
  • Funds to cover hardware, supplies and equipment expenses for construction and testing of any prototypes
  • A liaison engineer or technical representative who will meet with the team on a regular (i.e., approximately every two weeks) basis in person, via Skype or telephone conferencing to monitor and mentor their progress, and to share genuine input and guidance

The student team is expected to:

  • Meet with the sponsoring company’s liaison or technical representative to determine the sponsor’s needs
  • Develop a project plan including a project objective statement, and develop functional specifications
  • Meet (in person, via Skype or via telephone conferencing) with the liaison/technical representative approximately every two weeks
  • Develop design concepts and select one design for full implementation
  • Develop a Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) budget for the prototype build/testing and provide sponsor with this ROM
  • Develop proof‐of‐concept hardware/models/tests and analysis for design concepts
  • Build, test and demonstrate a prototype or model
  • Develop and submit to the sponsor a written report detailing the design challenge, justification for the chosen concept, test results and conclusions*

 UConn Engineering will provide:

  • A faculty mentor for each project who will assist and co-mentor the team
  • Machining equipment and expert assistance, computing, software and other support to enable the project to move forward

* NOTE: Though many projects result in a efficacious model or prototype suited to further development, implementation and occasionally patenting by the sponsor, UConn Engineering does not guarantee deliverables beyond the final report.

 

Sample Timeline

Month Activity
May – June: Sponsor submits project summary
September:
  • Student teams form and select a project from among those offered by sponsoring organizations or those selected by a disciplinary unit
  • Teams meet with sponsor advisor and faculty advisor to understand project scope and parameters
October:
  • Sponsor receives project bill (exclusive of final build/test costs)
  • Teams meet with sponsor advisor and faculty advisor
  • Teams develop, and submit to the sponsor, a preliminary project proposal
November:
  • Teams meet with sponsor advisor and faculty advisor to refine the proposal
  • With input from sponsor advisor and faculty advisory, teams select one design for further development
  • Teams submit an interim written report to the sponsor
Jan./Feb.:
  • Teams meet with sponsor advisor and faculty advisor
  • Teams begin to build prototype or simulation model
  • Interim billing sent to sponsor
March:
  • Teams meet with sponsor advisor and faculty advisor
  • Teams submit an interim written report to the sponsor
  • Teams refine and begin to test prototype or simulation model
April:
  • Teams meet with sponsor advisor and faculty advisor
  • Teams execute final enhancements and refinements to prototype or model and revalidate
May:
  • Teams develop posters, oral presentations, and demonstrations for Senior Design Demonstration Day
  • Teams present final, complete written and oral reports to sponsor
  • Final billing sent to sponsor