Determining Benefits for the Company
- “Consulting” from competent, supervised near-graduates.
- Access to faculty expertise and laboratory capabilities.
- Considerable experience with students, who may become candidates for hire.
- Network with other sponsors in the Program and thus can foster bench marking and other professional relationships.
- Professional benefits and gain the public relations benefits from a mentoring relationship with student teams at Virginia Tech.
Project-specific benefits include the ability to “off-line” projects that are in the long-range interest of the company but are not economically feasible in light of business as usual practices. Common project benefits include:
- New product development.
- Complex / creative problem solving.
- Cost reduction.
- Safety improvement.
- Productivity improvement.
Calculating the Cost to the Company
The fee to join CREATE is $12,500. This fee provides funding for student travel to client site, overhead for the student machine shop and graduate teaching assistants who work with faculty, student teams, and industry to guide the students through the engineering design process. Additionally, a $5,000 materials budget is available to the design group so that students can build a functional prototype of their design. Clients visits to campus are encouraged for the mid-term and final presentations. Time should be allocated to the engineering liaison who will serve as the company’s point of contact for the design team, and this person will attend student meetings on a weekly or bi-weekly basis either in person or via telecom.
During their efforts to complete senior design projects, project teams may receive information from the project sponsor which is privileged and is to be held in confidence. The University provides industry sponsors with a CREATE contract that ensures students and faculty will be responsible for maintaining such a confidence as a very serious issue. Agreements are between the student team members and the client.
Virginia Tech waives its rights to intellectual property, data and product generated as a result of the work performed by the students. Students also waive their rights to intellectual property, data and product through an agreement with the Sponsor (note that students who are not in agreement with this requirement can participate on a project that is not industry sponsored which has no such requirement).