What is a Focus Project?
Focus Project are something very unique, that ETH Zurich offers to Mechanical and Electrical Engineering students in their bachelors degree. All team members have to be in 5th semester, to participate. The department of mechanical engineering describes these projects as following:
Teams of 3 to 10 students work during two semesters on the realisation of a product. Based on market-oriented need, all processes in product development are conducted in a realistic manner: marketing, conception, design, engineering, simulation, prototypes, and production.
Some teams are able to define their own goals, others are working together with partners from industry and may have some more detailed requirements. Nonetheless, every team can decide on their own methods and working styles to cope with the challenge. Furthermore the teams have to carry the responsibility for the project’s success towards the professors, coaches and partners.
What is the timeframe?
Focus Projects start at the beginning of the fall semester, usually around the 15th of September. Focus Projects last two semesters. The intended end of the project is set with the official roll-out at ETH Zurich in late May. In our case this date is the 31th of May 2016. Nevertheless many teams continue work on their projects afterwards in form of bachelor thesis or they launch their own start-ups.
Time until official Roll-Out
How are projects monitored and graded?
Every focus project is supported and supervised by a professor and his institute. Several coaches, who may have been working on a focus projects themselves, meet on a regular basis with the team. In these weekly meetings every concern, problem and general progress is being discussed and feedback for the team is provided by the coaches. These meetings ensure that the team stays on track to reach its goal.
Furthermore “Reviews” of every Focus Project at ETH Zurich are being conducted at three distinct stages during the year. At Reviews the teams have to present their concepts and progress. A group of all professors and coaches supervising all the different Focus Projects then discuss and grade the individual teams according to their presentation and progress in the according project stage.