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IDC Structure | Principles and Framework

Principles and Framework

UC Merced is creating an exceptional senior design/capstone project experience for students in its engineering and other programs.

The Innovation Design Clinic (IDC) provides senior undergraduate students opportunities to learn in teams that include practicing engineers and other professionals from partner organizations while satisfying their degree requirements for a capstone experience.

The IDC teams focus on engineering design projects that are purposefully chosen for their potential for significant near-term effects on communities, organizations and industries in the region.

For example, the goal for a project in partnership with industry could be a marketable proprietary product with all intellectual property rights assigned and patent applications in process.

As such, the commitment of the teams and partners, and therefore the richness and intensity of the experiential learning, is significantly elevated over traditional capstone projects that achieve the same baseline learning outcomes as required by accredited engineering degree curricula.

The IDC Capstone Program is implemented in accordance with the following:

Collaboration with IDC Capstone Partners

  • UC Merced will collaborate with its partners on IDC Capstone projects designed to give students meaningful and comprehensive professional-practice experience and workplace skills, including teamwork, problem-solving, innovation and creative thinking, project planning and implementation, communication and reporting, as well as experience in intellectual property topics such as preparation of patent documents.
  • The IDC Capstone partners provide funding in the form of restricted cash gifts ($25,000 per year) to the university to support the overall program. There is no commitment or fee-for-service component to the funding, and the university will not guarantee any results or “deliverables” from the IDC Capstone projects.
  • IDC Capstone projects are selected based on the suitability of each in providing academic and practical quality for the students, as well as the potential for significant near-term effects on communities, organizations and industries in the region.
  • Partners may not restrict the use of any project results, product or intellectual property in a manner that prevents the students from fulfilling their academic responsibilities, including producing course deliverables, such as project presentations and reports.

Role of UC Merced Faculty and Staff Members

  • UC Merced faculty and staff members work with partners to develop suitable IDC Capstone projects designed to address each partner’s engineering needs along with a quality educational experience.
  • UC Merced faculty and staff members serve as academic advisors to the students working on IDC Capstone projects, but will not contribute either directly or substantially to the technical developments or innovations embodied in the project outcomes.
  • Work on IDC Capstone projects may be conducted in UC Merced classrooms and undergraduate teaching laboratories, but will not take place in campus research laboratories or within the research of UC Merced employees.

The Students' IDC Capstone Experience and Obligations

  • Every UC Merced senior engineering student in a major for which a capstone project is a requirement for receiving an accredited degree will get the opportunity to participate in a challenging and meaningful capstone experience.
  • Participation in the IDC Capstone Program is entirely voluntary. Participants are required to sign IDC Capstone Acknowledgment and Participation forms.
  • Students who participate in IDC Capstone projects will likely be required by their partners to assign any intellectual property rights they acquire as part of their projects and to enter into a non-disclosure agreement with the partner.
  • Students who do not wish to assign intellectual property rights they acquire as part of their capstone projects or who do not wish to enter into non-disclosure agreements can select traditional capstone projects that meet degree requirements, but will not have the same level of partner engagement and shared commitment to deploying design solutions.
  • Students who wish to participate in IDC Capstone projects will likely be required by their partners to sign affiliation agreements and/or releases of liability that allow them to enter and work in their partner's facilities.
  • Students who do not wish to execute the affiliation agreements and/or releases will have the opportunity to select traditional capstone projects that meet degree requirements.
  • Students who voluntarily work on IDC Capstone projects are expected to honor all contractual commitments made to their partners, including the assignment of intellectual property rights, affiliation agreements, non-disclosure of proprietary or confidential information and cooperation with their partner in perfecting any intellectual property rights. Failure to do so may be taken into account in the academic and professional evaluation of a student’s performance in the IDC Capstone course.