Collaboration mechanisms for university-industry projects

Wodehouse, Andrew and Mendibil, Kepa; (2013) Collaboration mechanisms for university-industry projects. In: Design Education-Growing Our Future, Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE2013). The Design Society, IRL, pp. 222-227. ISBN 9781904670421 (

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This paper outlines strategies for the effective implementation and support of university-industry projects. Sourcing projects from industry facilitates access to real-world problems, skill development and project management experience, and has become an increasingly popular feature of design engineering degrees. Despite this, there are many challenges in their implementation. The range of stakeholders can lead to differences in objectives and expectations; teams can struggle to manage and maintain effective progress; and it can be difficult to apply a generic academic format and deliverables when each project has its own unique challenges. This paper outlines current thinking in relation to Project Based Learning (PBL) and the issues with its effective implementation. It then reviews the approach at the University of Strathclyde, where an industrial projects scheme has been embedded in the curriculum for more than fifteen years. Specific strategies to the construction, timing and format of project milestones are outlined in relation to three 'learning loops' that support project teams without being overly-prescriptive. It is hoped that these will be of interest to other institutions currently running or thinking of implementing similar schemes.