Links with industry

The Bristol Computer Science Industrial Partnership facilitates cooperation and collaboration between the Department of Computer Science and related industries.

How we work with partners in industry

The Department of Computer Science is one of the top centres for the study of computer science in the UK. As a Grade 5A Research Department undertaking state-of-the-art research in computer science,  it offers challenging, up-to-date teaching programmes for more than 200 undergraduates and more than 100 postgraduate students.  An ongoing dialogue with the industrial sector informs all aspects of the Department's activities in research and teaching.


Department of Computer Science graduates are highly sought after. There are a two ways in which we can help with your recruitment:-

  • We can arrange for any advert you send us to be placed on an internal web site and/or emailed around to all the relevant students. Please send a plain text email to Professor Simon McIntosh-Smith detailing the details of the job. No attachments/images etc.
  • We can arrange for you to spend a day in our department. We can, for example, arrange a space for you to put up a stand, a room in which to conduct interviews and maybe the opportunity to give a presentation to students interested in your company. For this more involved service we charge £ 1,000 to cover costs. If you are interested in this service please contact Simon McIntosh-Smith at the address below who will be able to assist you in determining your requirements.


In recent years a number of companies have helped fund and support long term research at the University of Bristol. This is usually in the form of a direct grant to the University to fund a particular research project of interest both to the sponsoring company and the department. The money is then used to employ a post-doctoral researcher and provide facilities for the research.

Intellectual property resulting from the research either rests jointly between the two parties, or solely with the company. This depends on the nature of the initial agreement which is decided during the negotiation of the grant. 

If you would like to investigate such a research collaboration in more detail then contact the member of staff whose research area more closely matches your requirements. Details of key research areas are found on the Research page.

Sponsoring Prizes and Scholarships

We are always looking for new companies to sponsor prizes and scholarships. It is a good way of increasing student awareness of your company, targetting the most relevant courses and units. If you are interested in sponsoring a prize or a scholarship then please get in touch with Examples can be found on the Prizes page.

Student Projects

Partners may be involved in student projects throughout the degree, most typically as industrial supervisors in third year, fourth year or MSc projects. Additionally, industrial partners are involved in an increasing number of undergraduate units such as:-

  • Software Engineering Project

    Groups of second-year students taking the software engineering project unit, form simulated software consultancies for real “clients” who bring real-world problems with them. Partners can be involved either as client or technical mentor to student groups.  See the Software Engineering Projects page for details.
  • Games Project

    In the third-year games project students partners can be involved as mentors in a variety of domains, such as graphic design and code construction. Please contact Dr Tilo Burghardt for details. Projects run from end of September to end of April.

    Read about Games Day 2018
  • Applied Data Science

    Partners can be involved in this Master level unit by submitting their large data sets for analysis by our students. In the past, we have worked with data from the Environmental Agency, the SPHERE project and others.

Projects run from end of January to end of April. For more information contact Professor Peter Flach.

Industrial supervision

Final year students complete a substantial project in a computer science field of their choosing. Industrial supervisors can be very valuable to the students as they can contribute a real problem context. At the same time, partners benefit from the work of the student. Projects must be suitable for academic purposes and this may conflict with some industrial requirements. Partners should also bear in mind that some students are not yet all that fluent in certain techniques and programming languages. Hence, they may not get beyond the prototype stage in the time available.


MSc students usually start their projects in early February, handing in a provisional report around Easter. After their exams in May they work full time on the project until their thesis is handed in (usually in September). Third year students choose their projects in the summer term of their second year. They then work on them throughout their third year, handing in the final report just after Easter. During this time, they are also attending lectures. Fourth year students work full time on their project from January until June. Depending on the circumstances it might be appropriate to compensate students for value contributed to the partner organisation.

Intellectual Property Arrangements

IP arrangements for projects can be negotiated on a case by case basis. There are few constraints on the type of arrangements which can be entered into. Clearly the more stringent the IP arrangements,  the higher the cost to the sponsoring organisation. For software development projects, these are popular options for IP arrangements:

  • The software is freely licensed to the company on a non-exclusive basis, the company essentially funding the development costs.
  • The software is sold back to the company, if they wish to use it in future, on an exclusive use basis.
  • The software is freely licensed to the company on a non-exclusive basis, with the company taking an equity stake if the student decides to set up their own company marketing the software.

If you are interested in helping to suggest possible project ideas or in supervising a project, then please contact Dr Daniel Schien.

Internationally-leading research

in intelligent systems, digital media, foundations, personal systems, and architecture and design.

More information

Potential partners please contact:-
Dr. Cian O'Donnell, Lecturer
Tel: +44 (0)117 3315235
Department of Computer Science
University of Bristol 
Merchant Venturers Building
Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 1UB

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