A Company’s Role in UTDesign

Through UTDesign Capstone, companies have the ability to extend their resources and partner with teams of talented seniors from the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. Through corporate sponsors, these students are given the opportunity to solve real world problems in new and innovative ways.

Corporate Sponsors play one of the largest roles in UTDesign Capstone. The UTDesign Capstone team is coached by two advisors: a UT Dallas advisor, who is an expert or has some degree of technical familiarity with the project; and a corporate mentor, who acts as the technical point of contact for the company. The corporate partner provides the problem to be solved; UTDesign Capstone provides a team trained in:

  • Problem solving and critical thinking.
  • Project management, including planning, budgeting, communications, scheduling and presentations.
  • Technical proficiency.
  • Adaptability, reliability and flexibility.

At the end of the project, which serves as the capstone of students’ undergraduate education, all results are turned over to the corporate partner.

UTDesign Capstone team


Progress on lower-priority projects without expending staff resources

Full ownership of results

Potential for high return on a small investment

Relationships with faculty members who are subject matter experts

Opportunity to recruit top graduates from a diverse pool of students

Brand promotion among students, other sponsors, and the community


UTDesign Capstone team

Depending on the characteristics and field of the project, companies may expect some or all of the following deliverables:

  • Technical reports
  • Drawings and design specifications
  • Prototypes, computer programs, simulation models
  • Final report and presentation
  • Test and evaluations results



UTDesign Capstone Conference Winning Team

UTDesign Capstone projects may result in ideas, inventions, creations, developments or improvements that are important to corporate sponsors. Partners typically secure rights to UTDesign intellectual property by having student participants sign intellectual property (IP) agreements and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).

For the Student

Intellectual Property Agreement (IP) – Corporate partners are encouraged to enter into mutually acceptable agreements with the UTDesign students and their teams. This allows them to secure rights to the IP developed during the course of the project. These agreements are to be made between the company and the students.

Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) – All students engaged in corporate projects must be aware of and committed to an NDA. Usually, the NDA is incorporated into the IP agreement.

You retain 100% of the IP for the work and results


There is $2,000 DISCOUNT if the project proposal has been submitted through UTDesign Capstone portal 30 DAYS before the semester begins.

Computer Science and Software Engineering projects (one semester):

$10,000 $8,000

Engineering projects (one semester):

$15,000 $13,000

Funding from corporate partners supports UTDesign Capstone projects by providing materials, licensing, studio facilities, staff and UT Dallas Advisor. The cost above covers up to $2,000 for materials and fabrication expenses for engineering projects, and $1,000 for computer science. The UT Dallas Advisor and corporate mentor will discuss options for reimbursing costs that exceed these expenses.

Gifts to Support the Studio

In addition to hosting senior teams, several companies elect to support the entire studio in ways that include:

  • In-kind donations: equipment, parts and services.
  • Naming opportunities: a few opportunities still exist for donors to name labs, conference rooms or classrooms.
  • Competitions: typically using technology from the gifting company.
  • Events: tech talks, seminars, social networking, tech meet-ups, etc.


The involvement of the company is crucial for the success of the project and the learning process for the student. To help the team succeed, the corporate mentor must:

  • Mentor the team so students can get a corporate experience
  • Help the students with new technology used in the company
  • Guide the team to meet benchmarks
  • Foster teamwork
  • Encourage high-quality communication and professionalism

Previous corporate mentors recommend the following as best practices:

  • Weekly meetings are required
  • Weekly reports are very beneficial
  • Give feedback on reports
  • Designate one person to be the point of contact, usually the team leader
  • Hold the team accountable for its schedule
  • Propose a project doable in 30 weeks (15 for Computer Science)
  • Make sure the team understands the objective

The Corporate Mentor Guidelines for Computer Science Projects and Engineering Projects detail these roles and outline a typical semester schedule.

Ready to sponsor a project?