Sponsor a Project

Update on COVID-19 and its impact on capstone courses

UBC has announced that all Fall 2020 instruction will take place online and students are unlikely to be able to access campus facilities. Despite these restrictions, we are confident that the capstone courses can continue to deliver significant value to both students and sponsors.

To mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, we will be focusing on the following:

  • We expect there to be a greater emphasis, from both sponsors and students, on software and machine learning/AI related projects that do not require access to physical facilities or equipment.
  • Project Lab staff will have access to the labs and facilities at UBC and may be able to directly support some projects with physical prototyping or testing needs.
  • For projects with significant mechanical design components, we will work with the students to develop their designs in CAD to a high level of refinement, prior to making a physical prototype. This contrasts somewhat to what many students typically do, which is to “hack” a prototype together progressively, which can often be a slower process. This year, we will help the students to develop full designs, including fully spec-ing purchased parts and components, and potentially even making production-ready drawings that instructors may use to fabricate parts.
  • We will need to de-emphasize or modify projects that have a significant hands-on experimental component that requires students to be on campus. Students may be able to access sponsor’s facilities for hands on work and experimentation.

If you would like to sponsor a project but you are not sure if it will “work” under COVID-19 restrictions, please just contact us and we will do our best to find a way.

We are always looking to connect with potential project sponsors with innovative and challenging ideas! We generally solicit projects in the spring, work with the sponsors throughout the summer to refine a project’s scope and inputs, and then present the projects for selection by student teams at the start of the academic year, in September. But don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a potential idea – the sooner we start talking, the better. Some recommendations for a compatible project are:

  • The project inputs are clear: data, equipment, code, documentation and any other inputs are ready to go so students can hit the ground running.
  • The focus is on innovation rather than cost reduction or product development: cost reduction and product development both require long and detailed study, which is not well suited to short-cycle student projects.
  • You would like the project to answer a finite number of well-defined questions: diffuse, open-ended, or exploratory projects can be difficult to pin down; we love research projects, but we need to identify clear questions and objectives first.

Below is a brochure summarizing key points of sponsoring a project, including questions of intellectual property ownership, cost, and timelines.

Please contact the Lab Director, Dylan Gunn, at dcgunn@physics.ubc.ca if you have any questions.