For the mechanical engineering students at UBC, their final graduating requirement is the completion of the 45X Capstone Design Project. Using the knowledge and skills they have gained during their studies, students are tasked with challenging real world problems that require immediate solutions. The most successful projects are proposed by industry clients, who would subsequently be presented with design models and potentially a working prototype by the student team. For more information about how this project can benefit your organisation, please click on the headers below.

At UBC, we have created a radically different senior level design experience. The Mech 45X Capstone Design program emphasizes the teamwork and management skills necessary for excellence in professional design practice. “Design firms” of three to six students, supported by faculty members and a UBC-recruited Professional Mentor, work on industry-relevant projects proposed by real clients. Emphasis is placed on disciplined adherence to professional design practices (including planning, scheduling, documentation, risk management, and economics) and a clear focus on the client’s needs, as well as solutions to technical issues.

We are requesting project proposals that originate from a clear industrial need, and for which you are willing to act as a client for the student team. This involves a time commitment of approximately ten to fifteen hours over the course of eight months (all projects must run September – April), primarily in the areas of project definition and evaluation of deliverables. In return, the students will provide you with approximately one thousand person-hours of time on the project, and will deliver a design report and working prototype or model (depending on the scope and size of the project).

Sponsoring a project has some unique benefits. It is an opportunity to be involved in the education process, and to train the future work force. Other benefits your company receives include:

  • An enthusiastic team of students working on your project, advised by an experienced, UBC-recruited, Professional Mentor
  • Fresh new ideas, and a look at things from a different perspective
  • Faculty support to help solve complex technical issues
  • Approximately one thousand person-hours of work to solve your problem
  • A chance to meet possible future employees: graduating students in mechanical engineering, including those in the Mechatronics and Thermofluids options.

Teams will receive some financial and material resources from UBC, and will have access to machine tools, qualified technicians, computer facilities (including sophisticated design and analysis software), testing laboratories (such as the aerodynamics, materials testing, ship model basin, and engine laboratories), and testing equipment such as instrumentation and data acquisition systems.

In 45X you are the client. You define the problem, and you evaluate the solution. Acting as a client for a 45X team is very similar to subcontracting a design to another firm. The total time commitment is approximately 10-15 hours, though you are welcome to provide additional contact time for students if you wish. Your commitment includes:

  • Defining the project. The design problem description should include an introduction, a project description, expected outcomes, a list of resources available, and a list of customer requirements. Our faculty supervisors will help you refine the problem description, and ensure the projects are feasible within the course scope.
  • Meeting with the students to further define the problem. Ideally, this would take the format of a site visit by the students. The visit allows students to better grasp your requirements, and to ask you questions.
  • Providing critical assessment of student deliverables, including the concept report, final report and prototype/model.
  • If possible, attending the student’s final presentation and providing feedback.
  • Financial or in-kind support to build realistic prototypes or models.

Here is a sample of the information you should include in your proposal:


Describe the magnitude and scope of the problem being suggested and make a reasonable estimate of the resources required. Give some background, including the reason(s) the project is needed.

Brief Project Description

Please explain the problem to be solved, refer to prior work conducted by the customer or others, and describe any constraints not included below.

Expected Outcomes

What is expected at project completion. prototypes, mockups, beta units of systems, a demonstration, a series of conceptual designs. If possible, list important milestones that could be used to track progress.

Resources Available from the Customer

Please list financial, supervisory or other in kind support that will be made available to the team. Note: these may be contingent on how well the students progress through the project.

Customer Requirements

Please list in order of importance your requirements (as envisioned at this stage) for the design in terms of functional performance, aesthetic, cost and other considerations that may be specific to the application. Putting the criteria into 2 or three categories of importance (for example: must have, nice, maybe) is a good start. Please be specific by quantifying your requirements whenever possible.