Industry Supervision of Capstone Projects
We invite proposals from industry for final year projects for 2013.
Do you have a bunch of non-urgent projects at work that you never get around to?
How about letting some final year engineering students work on them for you, for free?
These projects offer an excellent opportunity to get access to top potential future graduate employees that already have some understanding sof your company. The projects can be viewed as a chance to propose a non-critical design challenge and see if the students can help you out.
It is expected that projects will offer sufficient scope for students to further develop their skills in design, building and testing of hardware as well as software systems to meet target specifications of the project. However, keep in mind that, while these are excellent students, they are yet to complete their engineering course and still have much to learn.
All students majoring in Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) at the University of Melbourne are required to undertake a Capstone Project in their final year of study. Industry-based projects are conducted in small teams (typically two or three students) under the supervision of an industry supervisor and a member of academic staff. Projects are normally undertaken over a full year (March-October) and count as 25% of a full-time workload during this time, with some breaks for examinations and non-teaching periods. Facilities and resources are provided by the Department although use of industry facilities is encouraged. An agreement is entered into at the start of the project that assigns all project Intellectual Property (IP) to the industry partner. At the end of the project, the students will produce a written report, an oral report and a presentation at the end-of-year public exhibition, known as Endeavour.
Industry Engagement in Capstone Projects
The EEE department welcomes engineers from industry who are interested in supporting the department’s capstone project programme by supervising industry-based projects. This document is aimed at facilitating potential industry supervisors to propose projects that would be suitable for inclusion in the Capstone Project programme. It describes the student academic background, laboratory facilities, supervision arrangements, assessment procedures, intellectual property agreements and EHS requirements of the programme.
Industry engineers wishing to propose projects should put together a written proposal of about 150-200 words, indicating the main objectives. It should describe the proposed location of practical work. Work may be conducted at the engineer’s company facilities; however, the location should be within reasonable commuting distance from the university. Alternatively, work can be done at the University, or some combination of the two locations. The project description should aim to attract student interest, since students will be selecting projects according to their interests. If knowledge of a particular technical area is required, the proposal can state these; optionally, projects can stipulate pre-requisite (or co-requisite) subjects that are required for eligibility.
Co-supervision and Time Commitment
All industry projects will have a co-supervisor from the department’s academic staff. Industry engineers are welcome to approach staff members directly with a view to arranging co-supervision of their project. The subject coordinators are also available to facilitate the process of matching up industry supervisors with academic supervisors. Normally, supervisors meet with their students on a weekly basis during the semester 1 and 2 teaching period, typically for a half-to-one hour meeting.
Student Academic Background
The 2013 capstone project students cohort will involve students taking the subject either in the final year of a four year Bachelor of Engineering (BE) degree or the final year of a two year Masters of Engineering (ME). All students will be enrolled in the subject ELEN 90067 Electrical Engineering Capstone Project.
Eligibility requirements are such that the students must have completed all, or nearly all, the relevant EEE subjects required at the penultimate year of their degree (third year for the BE students, first year for ME students). The ME students will generally have a stronger technical background.
A list of projects is provided to students who will be undertaking the Capstone Project in the following year. Students are required to form themselves into groups, which may vary in size from one to five students; however, most projects contain two or three students. Allocation of students to projects is made by students submitting their list of preferred projects, and the allocation of projects to students is based on academic merit, with higher ranked groups (based on GPA of EEE subjects at the penultimate year level) receiving preferential allocation to projects.
Each student is given a notional allocation of $130 dollars towards cost of components and PCB manufacturing. For example, if there are three students in a group then $390 is available. Any expenditure above this allocation is to be met either by the students or the sponsors of the project. Please note that any off-the-shelf equipment and components bought using University funds remain the property of the University.
Laboratory Facilities at the Melbourne School of Engineering
The students work on their projects in the Design and Build Laboratory in the Old Engineering Building. Facilities available to students include:
- Workbench — equipped with a standard set of equipment:
- a. Networked PC + monitor
- b. Oscilloscope (Agilent 4-channel MSO3014As mixed analog-digital oscilloscope and built-in function generator)
- c. Function generator
- d. Dual variable 0-30V DC power supply
- Additional bench equipment on request — oscilloscopes, function generators, spectrum analysers, power supplies, multimeters, high precision LCR meters, logic analysers, arbitrary waveform generators etc. — equipment that is commonly found in an electronics workshop/laboratory.
- Soldering stations — standard and surface mount, plus fume extraction/filtration and relevant accessories.
- A stock of a wide range of electronic components (resistors, capacitors, ICs including ATMEGA and PIC chips), connectors, and other related items such as breadboards, veroboards, J-TAG programmers, etc.
- Toolboxes of standard tools (such as pliers, screwdriver sets, chip extractors, etc)
- Dual and multi-layer Printed Circuit Board (PCB) development software (Altium) on all PCs in the lab, with the manufacture of such PCBs outsourced.
- Hand tools such as hand saws, hand-held drills, hammers, etc., and a range of nuts/bolts/nails/etc for students to build simple mechanical contraptions or modify off-the-shelf enclosures
- Access to experienced technical staff members (electronics technicians, fitter & turners, CNC machinists, welders) and a fully equipped and stocked Engineering Workshop for the design & fabrication of more complex/elaborate items.
Indicative timelines for project proposals and allocation of projects are:
- Early–Mid October
- Subject Coordinators call for projects from academics and industry.
- Project list released to students.
- Closing Date for students to submit their project application forms.
- Mid–Late January
- Project allocations finalised and released to students. Students contact supervisors, set up informal meetings, begin reading plans.
- Early March
- Semester 1 commences, students given access to the D & B laboratory, start work!
- October–early November
- Preliminary project report due, Oral Examination, Endeavour Exhibition, final report due.
- Mid–Late November
- All assessment reports completed, project examiners meeting to finalise grades.
A formal agreement about the ownership of intellectual property and other aspects of the projects will need to be signed by the industry and the university.
When student project teams are based on the university premises, the academic supervisor shall assume the responsibility for all EHS matters. When students are completing work as part of the project on the premises of the industry partner, it is expected that there will be a nominated supervisor who will be responsible for EHS matters.
Descriptions of projects undertaken in past years can be viewed on the Endeavour website.
Submit a Project Proposal
If you would like to propose a project, please complete and return the project proposal form:
2013 submissions for projects close on 2 November 2012.
Dr Robert Schmid will get in touch with you to discuss the project and seek an academic staff member to co-supervise the project with you.
More detailed information about the Capstone Projects is available from any of the following staff members:
Dr Robert Schmid
Capstone Project Subject Coordinator
T: 8344 6698
Assoc Prof Erik Weyer
Capstone Project Subject Coordinator
T: 8344 9726
Dr Tansu Alpcan
Industry Engagement Contact
T: 8344 8145