The Inside Industry Initiative
The Inside Industry Initiative research involves working with industry by placing PhD, MSc or undergraduate students inside the companies themselves. A number of companies have sponsored PhD students at Loughborough University's Department of Computer Science in recent years. These sponsorships have proved to be very successful for the student, the University and the company alike.
How does this work?
This is achieved either by company employees becoming part time research students or by placing full time students in company departments working alongside company employees for a significant proportion of their time. In this way the students can analyse the available company data and internal processes to gain an insight that would not be possible for an external observer. An emphasis on quantifying the costs of developing and operating IT systems has been an important aspect of much of this research as I believe that cost is the most readily understood metric for assessing systems in a commercial environment and provides the most persuasive argument for any proposals made.
What does it involve?
This will depend on the type of collaboration that you and your company want to invest in.
BSc Student: As part of our final year undergraduate course the students have to undertake a final year project. Depending on the course they are studying, for some students the project must contain in-depth programming where the student should be able to put into practice the analysis, design and programming skills gained. Students are able to choose their own project topics which can be provided by you and your company. The student will require supervision from you and your company and possibly travel expenses to and from your premises. The final year project of a BSc student is carried out on a part-time basis and their timetable commitments would mean they are unlikely to be able to spend more than a day a week at your organisation. The time of year they would undertake the project is from October to Easter, though they will need a gap in January when they will have their first semester examinations.
MSc Student: As part of the MSc programme students have to undertake a comprehensive project. The aim for the student is to have the opportunity to undertake a substantial piece of work, which will have the effect of integrating and consolidating the various concepts and skills developed in the taught components of the degree programme. The student will require supervision from you and your company and possibly travel expenses to and from your premises. The MSc student can work on the project full-time from mid-June to mid-September. Depending on the project, this can mean the student works full time at the company or they could work mostly at the University visiting the company only when needed. The industry based projects to date have produced outstanding results that both the student and company have found beneficial.
PhD Student: The student will undertake a three year, full-time project. This will normally involve research in which the company has a keen interest. In some cases, the research has involved the student working on the company premises nearly all the time, in other cases the student has worked away from the company, visiting and reporting back to the company as necessary. It all depends on the nature of the research. Some of the most successful projects have involved using the company for one or more case studies. This involves spending time examining the company processes and records and may also involve setting up experiments to monitor activities.
Find out how this has worked for companies similar to yours by clicking here.