Project sponsorship is a great way to build prototypes, explore new concepts and develop ancillary ideas while getting to know a team of soon-to-be professional engineers. The sponsor retains any IP generated throughout the course of the project. Sponsorship, in many cases, includes financial support and mentorship of a team of five to seven students for a project cycle that lasts from August to May. Our sponsors play an important role in launching students confidently into the workplace, simply by allowing them the opportunity to work on the kinds of projects they might tackle as an entry-level engineer. 

​If you are interested in sponsoring a project, contact Alan Goodman.

What Students Provide

  • Each student team will commit at least 1,500 hours to the project.
  • Student collaboration with professional engineers.
  • ​Students leverage over 50,000 square feet of active learning spaces and fabrication facilities like the Idea Forge and the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory, among others. If desired, students may also work at the sponsor's worksite.
  • ​Students budget time and materials while gaining experience with industry procedures such as writing purchase orders and meeting deadlines under pressure.
  • Each year, student teams submit approximately four written reports and many oral presentations on product development and testing.

"I have been looking forward to project work on a professional level for my entire undergrad. This course greatly exceeded my expectations for quality of collaboration and teamwork. Potential employers love asking about the project and are very impressed." - Past Senior Design Student

How Sponsors Contribute

  • Sponsors pay a fee of $16,000 for undergraduate and $25,000 for graduate projects. This fee is split between student project budgets and support of Idea Forge spaces, such as the machine shop and the Chevron Design Studio, where students design and build hardware for their projects. The difference in price is a reflection of the difference in goals for the end product. While undergraduate students endeavor on a best-effort basis to create a “trade-show-ready” prototype, graduate students work on a best-effort basis to deliver a “manufacturing-ready” prototype. Due to the best-effort nature of the engagement, sponsors are encouraged to submit projects that are not in their company’s critical development path.
  • Sponsors are asked to provide an industry mentor who can commit 10 hours per semester to support the student team. These hours are typically dedicated to weekly meetings with the students.​
  • Sponsors benefit from students’ fresh ideas, gain an edge in recruiting top students to their company and obtain functional hardware with documentation at the end of the project. A company’s investment may also result in the company retaining exclusive rights to the intellectual property developed. When intellectual property is developed, sponsors own all IP, while students are listed on any patents filed, with no ownership rights. 
  • With sponsor approval, students present their work at the CU Engineering Projects Expo, a public forum open to family, friends, alumni and the community. 

"In all cases, your program has delivered excellent value to our company and has provided a rich experience to the students involved. I credit this to something unique in your approach at CU Boulder." - Industry Sponsor

How Faculty Are Involved

  • The faculty advisor will devote over 40 hours to supervising the sponsored student team throughout the academic year.
  • The faculty advisor assists student teams in understanding and executing the design process.
  • The faculty advisor serves as the primary point of contact for academic topics, including schedule, deliverables, grading and more. 
  • The faculty advisor ensures that student teams meet the academic course goals and the company's project goals.