Technische Universiteit Eindhoven

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Final Project


The last eight months of the program are devoted to the so-called final project. This project is not carried out at the university but in an industrial environment. The trainee is explicitly mentioned in the contract set up between the company where the project will be carried out and the university. The trainee is the project executor and the main responsible for the project progress. Training in project management, social and communicative skills, mathematical modeling and use of mathematical techniques are focused on a successful execution of the final project.

For each trainee, being in his/her second year of the program, an eight months project is selected. This project should involve non-trivial mathematical modeling, have a substantially scientific level, and be related to a true problem in an industrial environment. The selection of the project is the responsibility of the program management and can be based on suggestions of members of the department staff. Although in the selection of the final project wishes of the trainee are incorporated as much as possible, the final decision will be by the management. To each project, a problem owner and a project supervisor are appointed. The problem owner is a representative of the company where the project will be carried out. This way, it is guaranteed that the company has a genuine interest in the progress and results of the project. Every project is carried out within the company and the company takes care of a working space with the usual facilities. The project supervisor is a staff member, whose particular role is to guide the project process. Other staff members may be involved in a final project, if their scientific support and expertise is wanted.

Each project is carried out on the basis of a contract between the company, where the project is carried out, as the receiving party, and Technische Universiteit Eindhoven as the sending party. For a final project € 35.000 is charged to the company. The secretariat takes care of sending an invoice after acceptance of the final report. In an enclosure to the contract, the problem of the company to be addressed in the project is described. This problem description is drawn up by those directly involved in the project, i.e. the trainee, project supervisor and industrial supervisor. The following model is strongly recommended:
  1. A global description of the company and the division within the company where the project takes place together with the most important activities of the company.
  2. A sketch of the practice in which the project takes place.
  3. A project description in details containing the identified problem, the aim and the means.
  4. A description of the quality of the expected final result(s) with the global qualifications that have to be satisfied.
  5. A global time planning of the execution of the project.
The trainee keeps a logbook during the duration of the project, in which he/she notes all decisions and agreements being made at every meeting of the supervisors and trainee. After four months, the trainee gives an interim presentation in the modeling seminar and writes an interim report. This way, project findings are presented for a larger audience of colleague trainees and staff members of the department. The final project is concluded with a conclusive presentation in the modeling seminar. In addition, the trainee completes a final report, which is delivered to the company as one of the main products of the project; in most cases, another deliverable of the project will be (simulation) software.

Evaluation of the final project is arranged as follows:
  • After six weeks there is an individual meeting with the coach in which the final project setting is the main topic of discussion.
  • After three months there is an evaluation group meeting in which trainees starting in the same period discuss their findings, in particular, with respect to the problem environment, supervision, problem identification, project planning and time planning.
  • A similar type of group meeting is arranged after six months where the emphasis is mainly on the progress of the project, preliminary results, realizability of time planning and goals as set at the start of the project.
The final project is concluded with a presentation in the Modeling Seminar. After this presentation an examination committee consisting of the supervisors, members of the company and other experts, discusses the findings of the project together with the trainee. The examination committee grades the execution of the project on mathematical modeling and project management issues.

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