Industry Sponsorship

Past Industry Sponsors

American Rec, Abbott Labs, Alere, ALS Association, AT&T, Bayer Healthcare, Bass Pro Shops, Big Dog Motorcycles, Bushnell, Cessna, Compaq, Cornerstone Integration, Dimensional Innovation, Ford Motor Company, Garmin, HealthStats, Herman Miller, Heartland Telehealth, Huhtamaki (Chinet), Hunter Fans, Intel, The KU Center for Telemedicine & Telehealth, The KU Diabetics Institute, The KU Transportation Institute, Learjet, Midwest Cancer, Alliance, Noble, Nokia, North Kansas City Hospital, Philips Telehealth, Sprint, Sprint VELOCITY, Voalté, VIDYO

student looks at table in fron of deconstructed car and baby crib

Objectives and Benefits of Industry-Sponsored Projects

The CDR’s primary objective for an industry-sponsored project is to create a unique, high-quality educational opportunity for our students. 
Next to an internship, working with an industry sponsor on a project is perhaps the finest opportunity to experience high-level critique and interaction that a student can have. There is no better way to prepare these individuals for the professional settings they will experience once they graduate.

CDR industry-sponsored projects provide an enormously valuable experience for students exploring varied career paths within the design professions. A central tenet of the CDR is provide an opportunity for sponsor, school, faculty, and students to promote the value of good design and multidisciplinary collaboration. Projects help familiarize companies and students with each other prior to graduation, and allow sponsor liaisons the opportunity to meet our program’s brightest, most talented individuals.

In addition to providing direct-expense support for the students, sponsored projects may also provide unrestricted funds for the general support of the Center. The ongoing project sponsorships we’ve established with large corporations also validate the importance of the CDR’s work, and have been crucial to developing and securing major gifts.

Sponsored-projects have provided the majority of the Center for Design Research’s publicity opportunities, which are very important in enhancing the reputation of the Center as well as the sponsors’, attracting prospective students, and in giving them sophisticated projects for their portfolios.

Guidelines for Industry-Sponsored Projects

The education content of the project must enhance the educational objectives of the design program and the class to which it is assigned.

The project must be non-profit, one that cannot be construed to be exploitative of our students or faculty with the intent of securing marketable designs.

Any project that is directly related to the on-going design activity of a company would be a work-for-hire project that rightly belongs to a professional designer. Within the context of KU, neither students or faculty are engaged in work-for-hire.

The project must be organized to provide interaction of students with sponsoring personnel appropriate to the nature of the project, such as management, marketing, engineering, human factors, technical specialists and designers.

These contacts would normally include three visits by the sponsor to the school and/or visits by the faculty and students to the sponsor’s facilities.

A 14-week project must have a minimum of three meetings between students and sponsors: to initiate the project, a mid-point review, and the final presentation and review.

The sponsor should be on campus for the initial launch of the project.

The faculty participate in the following ways:

  • Will assist the sponsor in developing a project brief that is challenging and appropriate to the educational goals of the class.
  • Will work in concert with the sponsor, develop a timeline and visitation schedule.
  • Will manage sponsor communications and meetings with the students.
  • Will supervise field trips as appropriate.
  • Will aid in the production of project publicity when possible.

Industry sponsored projects are developed one full academic term before they are implemented. This allows the industry partner and CDR director to develop a design brief that is beneficial in its educational content, the formulation of faculty and students best suited for the project, space, facility, equipment needs and schedule for the project as well.

Additionally, sponsors must:

  • Provide information relevant to the project in terms of technology, marketing, or other areas as appropriate
  • In addition to providing a liaison to the instructor and college, other key design, technical and marketing staff should be available for additional data during the three visits
  • Provide for the direct expenses of the student as well as a matching grant to support the design program
  • Publicize the results of the project.

Assuming the results of the collaboration are satisfactory, the sponsor may publicize the design, with proper credit given to the students, faculty, photographer, CDR, and the University of Kansas School of Architecture, Design & Planning. The sponsor may distribute the information to the educational community, industry, public, and/or government as appropriate.