Systems Engineering Capstone Marketplace
Human Capital Development
Report Number: SERC-2019-TR-009
Publication Date: 2019-06-30
Project: Capstone Research to Grow SE Workforce Capacity
CAPT William Shepherd
This is the Final Technical Report for Research Task 197 (RT-197 – Capstone Marketplace) covering the period 09 Feb 2018 to 30 June 2019. Research funds for this task have been provided from the Capstone Sponsor, OSD’s Director of System Engineering Transformation as well as U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Air Force Research Lab, and OSD’s Rapid Response Technology Office. During 17 months of activity, SERC’s Capstone Marketplace generated over 40 research topics from operational military units, and posted them to a web-based Marketplace. The Marketplace attracted proposals from numerous universities nationwide, and 31 Capstone projects were selected for student teams and faculty advisors from 11 universities. 28 Projects were initiated during academic year 2018-2019 as new starts; 3 projects were continuations from the previous year’s Capstone work. In two instances, at Virginia Tech, and Texas A&M University, student teams performed Capstone activities for their government sponsors even though SERC contracts were not completed before the end of the school year. Several limitations in SERC’s contract requirements contributed to this situation and changes are being addressed to fix this for the next academic year.
The goal of this project was to investigate means to expand SERC Capstone Marketplace activities established in 2013, refined in 2014, and further developed in the 2016‐2017 academic year. Previous SERC research in RT‐19/19a, RT‐43, RT 105, RT‐131, and RT 150 showed that multidisciplinary Capstone programs enhance development of systems engineering competencies in undergraduate student engineers.
Under authorities granted to SERC in January 2019, SERC can now engage with any accredited university in the U.S. Four non-SERC universities, including San Jose State, U.S. Naval Academy, Oklahoma State, and the University of Texas-Austin have participated in recent SERC Capstones. One Capstone project included a Virginia Tech team collaborating with a University of Maryland biomedical research project, and was the Capstone Marketplace’s first multi-school effort.
Numerous SERC Capstone presentations have been made to universities, military units, and government organizations, the SERC Advisory Board, SERC Research Symposiums, Interagency Working Groups (System Engineering), NDIA’s System Engineering Symposium, and two NDIA annual meetings--Special Operations and Armament technologies. Additional briefings have been provided to senior Army, Navy, and Special Operations staffs and support organizations. SERC is working to attrach broader government participation in its 2019-2020 Capstone work.