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University and Industry Collaboration

Paid Projects for Industry done by Students

Photo of Elisabeth Bonavera
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In South Africa students recently united to protest against the rising tuition fees. The result was positive: the tuition fees will not rise in 2016. (1) However, this is only a short term solution. The critical issues surrounding tuition fees and consequently, the accessibility to tertiary education have hereby been highlighted.

I am currently doing a two year Post-Master in the Netherlands. The financial model has been designed in such a way that companies benefit from the knowledge of the students and university while the student benefits from paid tuition and a monthly income. The programme aims to stimulate university and industry interaction. 

In the first year, a multidisciplinary team is brought together. The team does projects for clients from the industry. Therefore, the clients pay for the team to collaborate and come up with innovative ideas. The students also follow workshops in each other's fields during this time. The projects, in this case, are directed at Smart Energy Buildings and Cities (also the name of the programme).

In the second year the student goes on to do a one year project in a company using the knowledge which was gained in the first year, as well as that of the university. The company for which the project is done, pays the tuition of the student. 

Therefore, this could be a model for the future of funding education. The projects done in university can be done for a company through a group of students. This could be done across disciplines and years of study. 

Student Benefits:

-Paid Tuition 
-Monthly Income
-Work Experience
-Collaboration between disciplines and fellow students

Company Benefits:

-Access to knowledge of the University
-Access to latest research
-Relatively less expensive advice
-Multidisciplinary solutions
-Innovative solutions 
-Input from multiple sources

For Further information please refer to the following links: 



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Join the conversation:

Photo of Elisabeth Bonavera

Thank you for the positive feedback! Indeed, in my programme the company pays for two years of tuition and salary but gets a one year project. So, they actually pay for the education the student gets to do the project they request.

Photo of Aafsar Dhuka

I think this is a good idea. Students often complain about not having skills they can use in the real world. This idea can help students create a network with the professionals in their fields and learn new skills.

Photo of Huy

I think this is a great idea because I believe university students need real-world experience to apply their school knowledge. To improve on this idea though, I think companies should wait until the students 2nd or 3rd year when students acquire more knowledge towards the major or receive more technical experience rather than just completing their undergraduate requirements.