Undergraduate industry project engineers

Project Engineers from our School of Engineering are available to work on industrial projects as part of their third and fourth years of study. Our Project Engineers are highly capable students of a 2:1 standard or above who are trained in the latest engineering techniques by our renowned academics.

Our Project Engineers can take on industrial R&D and blue skies research in the following areas:

  • Modelling: theoretical and computational, solid and structural mechanics, materials, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, electromagnetics.
  • Design: product prototypes, test rigs, proof of concept work
  • Materials: failure analysis (fracture, fatigue, wear, corrosion), QC, microstructural characterisation, process development.

Projects begin in October at the start of the academic year, with a final report submitted in May. We offer two types of projects: third year and fourth year.

Third year Project Engineers work independently. The student will work on the project between October and May in the final year of their undergraduate degree (BEng), with 20 hours of expert input from an academic supervisor. The typical cost of these projects is approximately £2,500-£5,000.

Fourth year Project Engineers work in a group of 4-6 students. These are undergraduate students in their final year of an integrated Engineering Masters degree (MEng)who are studying Masters-level engineering (MEng). They will work on a project between October and May with 20 hours of expert input from an academic supervisor. This option is suitable for larger projects as team members become specialists in different, complementary areas to provide more comprehensive solutions. The typical cost of these projects is approximately £5,000-£10,000

Benefits to you

Undergraduate industry projects are a low risk but potentially high reward way of bringing new solutions, knowledge and understanding to your company. Your business will benefit from access to the University’s academic expertise and state of the art facilities, as well as potential R&D Tax Credit benefits. This can be the starting point to larger collaborative projects, bids and grants. Our students gain relevant industry-specific expertise, which in turn creates recruitment opportunities for your company to hire in new talent. For more information, contact Shannon Stodd on +44 (0)116 229 7419 or Shannon.Stodd@le.ac.uk.

Students looking for placements should contact their academic supervisors. 

Case studies

Eaton Aerospace Systems, Bedhampton

Project: High pressure hydraulic manifold (third year project)

Task: After the internal failure of valves used in hydraulic systems, a project was proposed to find an efficient way to investigate and diagnose the problem. Defective parts were previously being shipped back to their manufacturer for investigation, which was proving costly and inefficient, so a method of on-site testing was required.

Solution: A hydraulic manifold was designed which allowed the valves to be tested at Eaton’s Bedhampton facility, saving approximately $10,000 per year. The manifold design had to satisfy a number of requirements including corrosion resistance and a filtration system.

Outcomes: A hydraulic manifold design, meeting all requirements and success criteria, was developed by the project engineer, before being manufactured and put into service by Eaton Aerospace. The total cost of the project was 58.6% of that allocated by Eaton and gave a projected return on investment of 7 months.

NMCN plc 

Project: Analysis of 3D printed components for the water industry (third year project)

Task: 3D printing components reduces the lead time on parts and reduces costs as bespoke parts can be made for specific tasks. This project tested the mechanical properties and chemical compatibility of 3D printed components used for chemical dosing in the water treatment process. 3D printing also allows maintenance and repair work to be carried out more easily, without using a third party. 

Solution: Components were printed in a variety of methods and subjected to chemical exposure, mechanical and pressure testing. When pressure tested, the 3D printed pipework successfully held 8 bar pressurised water for a period of one week and therefore demonstrated that 3D printed pipe sections are suitable for use in chemical dosing rigs.

Outcomes: 3D printed pipework was found to be resistant to common chemical dosing agents but not strong acids, as expected. Curing 3D printed pipework in acetone was found to be necessary to be water tight but the duration had to be carefully controlled to retain strength.

University of Leicester, School of Engineering

Project: Design and manufacture of a modular wear testing rig (fourth year project)

Task: The School of Engineering has world-leading expertise in materials for use in demanding environments but only has a small range of equipment for friction and wear testing. The aim of the project was to design and manufacture a modular wear test rig capable of performing industry standard tests.

Solution: A rig was designed and manufactured that was capable of conducting wear tests that simulated a wide range of industrial contacts. The rig was designed to be modular to allow for future expansion of its capabilities. 

Outcomes: A modular wear testing rig was designed and manufactured, and is now being used in support of surface engineering research projects. The operational life of the test rig was designed to exceed 100 years. A full set of technical drawings and operating procedures were created to allow for further development by research engineers.