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Sponsorship Information

The Berks Learning Factory would not be as successful as it has been if it were not for the support of our industrial sponsors and partners.

There are several ways to help support the Berks Learning Factory and Penn State's Capstone Design Program:

1. Sponsor a freshman client-driven project ($1000)

2. Sponsor a senior capstone project ($2000)

3. Provide unrestricted gifts for materials, equipment, and/or supplies used in any of the departmental facilities.

4. Donate your time and energy by becoming part of our Industrial Advisory Council.

Companies will be asked to provide logos (for our website, newsletter, and brochures) and/or corporate banners (to display in our facilities and at events) to help us acknowledge their support and contributions.

Benefits to Sponsors:

  • Building relationships with students
  • Gaining new ideas for real-world design challenges
  • Helping to educate students about real-world engineering challenges
  • Low-risk, low-cost investment with high potential ROI (return on investment)
  • Work on "back burner" projects and help refine ideas
  • Help start-up and small companies with prototyping and development work (while developing a business plan through collaboration with a team of business students)
  • Direct access to some of the best Penn State Berks students (extended interview)
  • Newly hired employees (i.e., Penn State students) are better trained as a result
  • Company liaison overseeing the project gains invaluable project management experience
  • Increase brand awareness among Penn State students and faculty
  • Entry point (and guide) into the Penn State network
  • Network with other companies through Learning Factory events and cross-promotions
  • Opportunity to give back to the University and influence the education and careers of many students

Benefits to Students:

  • Gaining real-world experience in problem solving
  • Working with a possible future employer
  • Working on teams to gain a better understanding of engineering roles
  • Networking opportunities with industry and faculty
  • Experimenting, modeling, and/or prototyping designs
  • Gaining realistic expectations of what it is like to work in industry


Intellectual Property

According to Penn State policy RAG-13, undergraduate students own any intellectual property that they may develop as part of a course project; however, they can sign over their intellectual property rights to a sponsor if requested.
Sponsors may request ownership rights of all intellectual property that is developed by the students during the course of the project for an additional donation of $500 to help support our administration expenses. Projects in this category require students to assign their intellectual property rights to the sponsor (click here for IP assignment form). In addition, sponsors who have not yet filed a patent, and wish to avoid public disclosure of their invention, are highly advised to also request the confidentiality agreement for their project. Sponsors should also be aware that project presentations are open to other sponsors.

Confidentiality

In order to protect their competitive positions, sponsors may require each team member to sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition for working on their project, for an additional donation of $500 to help support our administration expenses. The Confidential Information Disclosure Agreement obliges the students to observe due diligence in protecting the confidentiality of company-provided information (data, drawings, design intent, etc). Sponsors who have not yet filed a patent, and wish to avoid public disclosure of an invention, are advised to select this provision.
Due to increased project volume, the terms in this agreement are no longer negotiable, and companies should consider whether this agreement is really needed in order to do a senior design project. Companies should bear in mind that students working on their projects are seniors, the majority of which will graduate after the semester is over. It is not feasible for Penn State to track all of these students for five years after graduation; hence, the form has a two year expiration date, which is also non-negotiable. Please convey this to your legal department if questions arise.