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Project Collaboration

Each semester, several thousand students get together with companies and organizations on projects. The students get a case and the ability to translate theory into practice, and as a partner, you get a scientific suggestion for a solution to a given problem. Solutions are often both creative and based on the latest knowledge in the problem’s area.

A typical project lasts for 4-6 months in either the spring or fall semester. Theses may extend over longer periods, and some students and partners are so pleased with the collaboration that they choose to continue over several semesters.

Student project work takes place primarily in groups of varying size, but typically consists of a group of two to seven students. Several people working on a task means that the students have the energy to tackle issues of considerable size.

The students will solve the problem as part of their semester project, which means that their work is carried out in conjunction with the company as well as with their supervisors from the university. Consequently, the companies end up with free, innovative solutions of high academic standard.

In the interest of the company, a project can be kept secret. This means that the project is not included in project libraries, and exams can be closed to outsiders.

Before you start, it is a good idea to run through our guide on project collaboration below.

Information to students

Information to supervisors

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    What does it cost?

    Disregarding time, it is basically free to collaborate with students. There is no requirement to pay the student, but usually the company covers the student's costs in connection with doing the work (transportation, telephone, copying, postage, etc.).

    The result of the project collaboration falls to the company and takes the form of a report and sometimes prototypes/products. In AAU's experience, many companies are so pleased with the students’ work that they choose to support them financially with the further development of specific products.

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    Benefits of project collaboration

    The teaching model at Aalborg University is based on project-oriented and problem-oriented work methods. The students work with theory as well as practice and have the opportunity to collaborate with companies, institutions, etc., in connection with their project work.

    Students at AAU possess a high level of professional competence, and programs are wide ranging, making it possible for many different types of tasks to be solved.

    Project collaboration with one or more students is in most cases very instructive for both the company and the students. The company gains access to highly specialized knowledge in relevant fields, fresh input and a new perspective on current challenges or shelved projects with potential. Students also have the opportunity to test theoretical tools and get some practical experience.

    Since the student is affiliated AAU, collaboration will be affected to certain extent by the fact that certain formal requirements must be met from the university’s side. This ensures the student that the work performed in connection with the project can also be part of the study and thus be credited on the diploma.

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    Before starting collaboration

    As an introduction to project collaboration, an initial meeting should be held.

    This meeting should include clarification on:

    • what you want as a project provider
    • what you expect as a project provider
    • what students can/want to offer
    • what students need for project approval from their academic supervisor
    • what students expect

    Collaboration with students is not the same as a paid consultancy; the purpose of the project collaboration is that the students can test theory in practice, i.e., this deals with a learning process. Therefore, collaboration to some extent is affected by the fact that students must meet certain formal requirements of AAU.

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    During collaboration

    Once the cooperation agreement with the student/students is signed, more detailed planning (including a timetable) should take place. In this context, it is important that, as early as possible, you are informed about:

    • who the students would like to contact within the company, organization, or
    • what matters the students want information about
    • how the information obtained might be used
    • in what form the information obtained might appear in the report. It may be relevant to clarify whether the party requesting the collaboration wants a special report containing the results of the collaboration, or just the actual the project report
    • whether the project work includes more external contacts, and if so, which one 
    • timetable

    Be sure that any nondisclosure agreement is signed.

    In the interest of the company, a project can be kept secret. This means that the project is not included in project libraries, and exams can be closed to outsiders. It is important to clarify whether the company wishes to approve any statements made before the report is printed, or whether the company wishes to be anonymous in the project report. In the interest of good communication between the company/institution and the student, at least three meetings should be held during the collaboration:

    • at the beginning
    • midway
    • at the end

    For these meetings, it is a good idea to write summaries of the decisions, so both you and the students are aware of what was really decided during the meetings. Additionally, it is important that students should keep the company informed on a regular basis as to how the work is progressing.

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    End of collaboration

    At the end of the collaboration, the company/institution is sent the project report. Furthermore, it can be agreed with the students that they give small presentations for relevant persons in the company, organization, etc., where the most interesting results are presented.

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    Standard agreements

    When you are working with a student, it's a good idea to have some clear guidelines before you start. Before an actual collaboration begins, we recommend that a cooperation agreement be made.

    A cooperation agreement can help to clarify and reconcile the expectations of collaboration. It can be useful to include in an agreement the following points:

    • In order to ensure that there are contact persons in the company who are responsible for implementing the project, these persons should be named. It is important for the students that there are people they can contact if there are any questions and problems associated with the project.
    • It is a good idea to agree in advance what the material from the project collaboration may be used for (articles, educational purposes, etc.).
    • It should be highlighted in the agreement if information provided during the project results in the final project report needing to be confidential, in which case the parties can agree to draw up a nondisclosure agreement. In case of a breach of contract by the students, disciplinary action from AAU may result. The project report will however always be available to university authorities and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
    • It is recommended to draw up a statement that the students should have access to necessary information about the organization.
    • If there are major travel expenses in project collaboration, the possibility of reimbursement of these should be stated in the agreement.
    • The student must be respected and treated well through project collaboration.

DOWNLOAD AGREEMENTS FOR STUDENT PROJECTS

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Collaboration with students

​Aalborg University students have high disciplinary expertise in their subjects, as well as a wide range of general competencies related to group work and project work. They are therefore equipped to undertake a wide variety of tasks in your business.

Whether in terms of an internship, a student job or project, companies will get a highly motivated, inventive employee capable of solving specific tasks in conjunction with the company, or more generally, looking at the daily practices of the company with fresh eyes. And furthermore, they get the chance to introduce the company to potential future employees.

Contact AAU Match

To learn more about recruiting AAU students and graduates or participating in one of our matchmaking events, please feel free to contact us:

Tel.: +45 9940 8090
E-mail: match@aau.dk
 

Meet the AAU Match team.