How to Sponsor

Financial Support

The type of sponsor support requested depends on the project and is best determined by contacting Dr. Tsenn directly. Support is generally provided as a gift. In short, this means that no concrete deliverables can be required. Typical support in the gift framework is $12,000 for a single project. This support helps to provide for program costs including travel and prototyping expenses. Within the donation framework, it is common for the students to sign nondisclosure agreements and intellectual property releases with the supporting company. Typically, these specific forms and requirements are provided by the sponsor. 

Technical Contacts

We also request that support include two technical contacts that are in charge of the project from your end. These contacts serve as customers and mentors. These contacts keep the project grounded in context of your company’s needs and expectations. These technical contacts are crucial to the educational experience of our students. We request the name, title, and contact information of these individuals. 

Project

Last, but not least, we need a project. We prefer a project that is directly related to the interests of your company. The problem description can be as specific or vague as you need – it depends on how well you understand the problem and the nature of the solution you desire. One page is frequently sufficient. Determining what to design is an important part of the design process. 

Sponsorship Step By Step

The sponsorship process is a collaborative effort between you and the Senior Design Projects Program. The collaboration requires a few conversations. 

The following is a general timeline for a project beginning in the fall; however new projects begin each spring, summer and fall.

1) Develop a suitable project statement (a collaborative effort with Texas A&M)

2) Commit to the project 

Steps 1 and 2 should be completed prior the middle April in the calendar year you want to sponsor a project. Why? Students register for Fall classes in the middle of April. If we know what projects are coming, it helps the registration process and lets us get the right students on each project. 

3) Identify your contact team and complete this form (much of which has already been done)

Step 3 should be completed before the end of the first week in August so that the contact team can complete step 4.

4) Schedule a kickoff meeting 

The kickoff meeting needs to occur in the first or second week of classes - usually the last week of August or the first week of September.

Typical Process and Workflow of the Project: Senior projects last for two semesters beginning in August and ending in May. A first or second week meeting between sponsors and students is requested. Depending on schedules and locations, the meeting may be at Texas A&M, a sponsor site, or via video conference. Formal design reviews will be scheduled according to project needs. Typically there are two formal reviews. The location of these reviews depends on schedule and location. It is preferable if they can be at the sponsor’s site. Projects will continue in the spring semester in a similar format. Students will prepare formal reports that include needs analysis and problem clarification; functional decomposition; concept generation and related details; concept selection; design refinement and embodiment design; and solid models and engineering drawings as appropriate to the project. Depending on the nature of the project, proof of concepts or fully functional prototypes may be developed. 

The best way to get started is to call Dr. Joanna Tsenn at 979.458.8443.