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Unit information: Individual Research Project in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Individual Research Project
Unit code MENG35000
Credit points 40
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Pavier
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


The aim of the individual research project is for students to develop the skills required to solve real, open-ended problems, to plan and organise work, and effectively communicate results. In addition, the study will allow students to focus on a particular area and implement some of the knowledge gained on the course. The projects are wide-ranging and often multidisciplinary. Projects may be scientific and involve the study of certain phenomena, or perhaps technology or product-orientated with a design emphasis, or maybe on a topic related to systems and management.


The aim of the project is to enable the student to develop the skills necessary to tackle substantial, extended problems. The objectives are that the student should be able to:

  • apply the knowledge and skills that they have acquired over their course;
  • demonstrate that they are capable of developing their knowledge and skills when tackling a new problem;
  • develop the means (e.g. new apparatus or computer code) by which a problem may be tackled;
  • make substantial progress when faced with a technical challenge within the resources available to them;
  • plan and organise their work and co-ordinate it with that of other members of the University;
  • plan and pace their work and manage their time effectively;
  • present their work clearly in written and oral forms.
  • Understand aspects of professional practice related to their work, including health and safety, risk, environmental issues, commercial economic and social context.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Learn how to plan and execute a project and work to a budget (LO1a).
  • Learn how to synthesise, interpret and apply research literature and experimental data (LO1b).
  • Learn to write a detailed and structured technical report (LO2).
  • Advance knowledge in the subject area of the project (LO3).
  • Develop research, technical and practical skills in an area relevant to the project (LO4).
  • Learn to communicate technical results via presentation (LO5).
  • Carry out assessments relating to health, safety and environmental risk (LO6).
  • Describe and explain the commercial, economic and social context of engineering processes (LO7).

Teaching details

Each student is allocated an academic supervisor at the beginning of the year. He or she is responsible for advising the student on how they might progress with the project. The content and methods of the project are negotiated between the student and the supervisor. A project specification that will be a broad outline of aim, objectives, methods of the project should be completed within the first three weeks. This form must be signed by both the supervisor and the student. Over the course of the year it is recommended that the student and his or her supervisor should meet regularly to assess progress and plan future work. Toward the end of semester 1 there will be a formal progress meeting between the student and supervisor and a further form will be completed that will summarise the main discussion points/requirements/ problems/change of work plan with respect to the project. This review document must be signed by the student. Part way through the second semester there will be a mid-project review and feedback session between the student and one of their assessors. This is also an opportunity for the student to prepare and give a short presentation. The aim of this session is to provide further feedback and assistance to the student. These documents will be required for the end of project assessment. It is expected that a draft copy of the technical report be produced before Easter so that the supervisor can give detailed feedback on its content.

Projects are usually paired so that two students will be studying different aspects of the same problem. Students are encouraged to support one another, but they will be assessed individually and they must ensure that they produce distinct bodies of work at the end of the project. Supervisors will advise students on this.

In addition to meetings with supervisors, a supportive lecture programme is also given in the first semester. This covers using library resources, project management, health and safety, team working, rapid prototyping, report writing and presentation skills.

Assessment Details

The assessment is based on a final project consisting of a written report (75%), followed by a Viva (20%) and considers the satisfactory completion of other assignments (Project Specification - 1%, Mid Sessional Review 2%, Poster - 2%) throughout the year.

Guidance on the preparation of the technical report and the web site or poster will be given in supporting lectures.

Reading and References

Specified by project supervisor