PROJECT-BASED LEARNING THAT BRIDGES THE GAP BETWEEN THE CLASSROOM AND THE WORKPLACE
SyracuseCoE’s Analysis & Design Center (ADC) assists companies with product design challenges by offering access to Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and heat transfer design solutions. Faculty from Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science work with graduate students to develop computer modeling solutions to to address company-defined or “real world” challenges.
The goal of the ADC is to build the skills of graduate-level engineering students while assisting New York State companies address product development challenges. Students learn how to apply academic and technical skills in the workplace through “real world” projects.
ADC project pricing is based on a review of the project and an assessment of faculty and student effort required. SyracuseCoE will fund 25% of the cost of projects for New York State-based firms , with funding support from NYSTAR. Recognizing the use of academic software licenses, students working on projects retain the right to publish results of their work.
When a company expresses interest in the development of an ADC project, SyracuseCoE staff and the appropriate faculty member and students meet with the firm to discuss the project details. At that meeting, the company is invited to outline the goals of the project, as well as the challenges in need of resolution.
At this initial meeting with the firm, an outline for a scope of work is developed that may be included in the testing agreement to be finalized before work begins on the project.
After the initial scoping meeting with the company, faculty, staff and students assess the information provided by the company to further develop the scope of work required for successful completion, including the number of hours needed of student and faculty time. This assessment will also look at the capabilities of the ADC computer resources available, as well as faculty and students’ availability to support the project, within the timeframe identified by the company.
As part of the review process, additional information may be needed from firms in order to develop the project scope. In these cases, faculty and/or students would engage the company representative directly to ascertain information required.
1. REVIEW OF PROJECTS
Once all information is provided, projects are assessed by a team of faculty, students and staff based on the following criteria:
- Technical feasibility
- Hours required for successful completion
- Degree to which project promotes student engagement and learning
- Extent to which project is expected to advance technology
- Expected economic outcomes for firm/cluster
- Opportunities for publication by faculty and students
2. REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION
If the project is accepted, based on the review criteria above, the company representative is advised and a draft testing agreement, including a scope of work, is provided for the firm’s review and signature. Once the testing agreement and non-disclosure agreement with Syracuse University are signed and payment is received by the University, work may begin by students and faculty on the project.
3. SITE VISIT
A site visit by students and faculty to the company’s facilities or project site is recommend, when feasible, so the students can learn first-hand about the company and its product design needs.
4. ANALYSIS AND DESIGN WORK BY STUDENTS AND FACULTY
Once all required information is provided, students work directly with supervising faculty, utilizing ADC computer hardware and software, to perform the CFD or FEA analyses, contacting the company only when additional information or clarification is needed.
5. INTERIM PROJECT REVIEW WITH COMPANY
A meeting is arranged to provide the company with an update on the direction of the project and preliminary findings. New issues in model input data that the company can assist with are discussed as well as any constraints discovered in the model setup. Depending on the questions that need to be resolved these meetings may be held at the company facility, at SyracuseCoE, or via internet conferencing tools.
6. PRESENTATION AND REVIEW OF PROJECT RESULTS WITH COMPANIES
Upon completion of each project, the student works with faculty to prepare a presentation slide deck showcasing results of the analysis. A meeting is scheduled with the company, either at SyracuseCoE headquarters or at the company location, at which results of the project are presented and discussed. If additional revisions and/or simulations are requested by the company under the same scope of work, the students and faculty may continue to refine the analysis. If requested revisions are outside of the original scope of work, or if other limitations defined in the testing agreement have been met, a new testing agreement may be developed, including a scope of work and cost estimate for a new project.
7. STUDENT PUBLICATIONS
As reflected in the testing agreement governing work on simulations done with student and faculty engagements, participating students retain the right to publish their work. As such, at the end of every project, students prepare a draft poster showcasing the project and the analysis done, using a template developed by SyracuseCoE staff. These posters are reviewed by faculty, as well as by the companies engaged on a project to ensure that intellectual property concerns are fully protected, and the poster is printed and added to the portfolio of posters showcased at the annual SyracuseCoE Innovation Showcase event. Posters remain on display at SyracuseCoE headquarters. Students, faculty, and companies are also encouraged to pursue additional publication in trade journals, conferences, and seminars.
8. COLLECTION OF METRICS RESULTING FROM PROJECTS
Companies participating in the Analysis & Design Center project understand that they will be surveyed periodically for data on outcomes related to the work done at the ADC. These outcomes include economic outcomes, such as jobs created and retained, increased sales, development of new product, patents filed, license agreements, and more. Information is also collected on research outcomes, such as publications and presentations, related to the work.