A project collaboration is a collaboration that you establish with a company or organisation in connection with bigger assignments during your studies – e.g. your bachelor´s project or master thesis. The collaboration can consist of many different things, e.g. data collection in the company/organisation or working with solutions to specific challenges in the company/organisation.
Test theory in practice through a project collaboration
Through a project collaboration you have the opportunity to apply all the theory you have learned during your studies in a practical setting. In addition, the collaboration can give you new inspiration for your studies and extend your professional network.
Companies and organisations appreciate project collaboration and benefit from the collaboration as well
The company/organisation also benefits from the collaboration because they get a new perspective on their work and can use your up-to-date academic knowledge to solve specific challenges. Therefore, many companies and organisations appreciate project collaboration with students.
How to plan a project collaboration
Find inspiration and consider what you want and what you can offer
Find inspiration in SDU’s job bank and other job portals
If you don’t have a clear idea for a project yet, it is a good idea to seek out inspiration for the project. Look at SDU’ job bank
or other job portals where you can find projects at companies and organisations. You can use job postings as inspiration for what you can use a project collaboration for or what sort of competences are sought after. Maybe you discover some options you had not thought about at all.
Think about what you want to get out of the collaboration
Before you start setting up a project collaboration, reflect on what you would like to get out of the collaboration. Do you want to collect data which you can process, do you want to solve a specific problem or something completely different? Some companies and organisations have specific projects, that they would like to get help with, but often you will need to define the challenge you would like to tackle yourself.
Define your competences and what you can offer
Try to define your competences and what you can offer your collaboration partner. If you can specify clearly how your project can contribute to the company/organisation, it will be much easier to establish a collaboration from which both you and the company/organization benefit.
Find a company or organization to cooperate with
You are responsible for finding a company or organization to cooperate with. It may be either a Danish or International company or organisation.
3 things you can do to find a collaboration partner
- Check SDU’s job bank and other job portals. Maybe an organization/company is advertising a project already which matches what you would like to work with.
- Use your professional network. Ask people you know who work at a place where you could contribute. Use LinkedIn to get in contact with interesting companies/organisations. Ask at your study programme (Study Secretary or Head of Study) and talk to your lecturers.
- Send unsolicited applications to interesting companies and organisations. If you find an interesting company/organisation you can send an unsolicited application asking for a project collaboration. Read more about unsolicited applications at SDU RIO.
Talk to your supervisor about your bachelor's project or master's thesis
If you want to do a project collaboration as a part of your bachelor´s project or master´s thesis, talk to your supervisor about the collaboration.
Make sure to match your expectations clearly with your supervisor about how your project collaboration fits into the general process of the assignment.
The first meeting
When you have established contact with a company or organisation it is important that you match expectations:
- What do you expect from them?
- What can they expect from you?
- What is the time frame for your collaboration?
- Who is your contact person at the company/organisation?
Get a contact person in the company/organisation
The contact person should function as your reference person during day-to-day work and are responsible for creating a good framework for your collaboration.
Fill in the project collaboration agreement and non-disclosure agreement
After you have entered into an oral agreement it is a good idea to get the agreement into writing. Two kinds of agreements may be relevant:
- Project collaboration agreement. Maybe the company/organisation already has a fixed framework for such an agreement. If not, you can use SDU´s project collaboration agreement.
- Non-disclosure agreement. Some companies and organisations work with confidential information and will require a non-disclosure agreement before the collaboration begins. As with the project collaboration agreement, some companies/organisations may already have standard forms for this. It that is not the case, you can use SDU´s non-disclosure agreement. Non-disclosure agreements must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for legal approval before being signed by SDU.
Continuously evaluate the collaboration
It is a good idea to continuously evaluate the collaboration, together with your contact person at the company/organisation and your supervisor at SDU. Do you get the help and access you need from your company/organisation? Does the schedule hold up? Etc.
This way, you can address challenges that arise during the process and ensure that you reach your goals.
Finish the collaboration in a good way
When the collaboration ends will depend on the specific agreement you have made with the company/organisation. Regardless of when the collaboration ends, it is a good idea to end the collaboration in a good way.
Share your completed report
A good way to finish the collaboration is to share your completed assignment with the company/organisation. This way they can see what was gained through the collaboration and get a comprehensive overview of your perspective and input to the company's/organisation’s work.
Have a final meeting
You should also consider having a final meeting with the company/organisation, so that you can evaluate how the collaboration process went as a whole and talk about whether there is a basis for continuing the collaboration, perhaps as a student job, full-time work after your studies or something else.