Undergraduate Teaching 2023-24

Student-led Projects

Student-led Projects

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Introduction to Student-led Projects

This initiative promotes hands-on, extra-curricular engineering education, where students can work in teams in the Dyson Centre for Engineering Design to develop and excel in both their technical and management abilities. The official programme started in 2010 and now approximately 150 students are involved in the 5 current large teams and 7 smaller initiatives. We support independent student engineering activities in the Cambridge University Engineering Department (CUED) through two different funding routes.

Firstly, projects where funding is required between £200 and £500 to start projects as a small group can apply to the  Cambridge University Engineers' Association (CUEA).  Examples to date include the setting up of an Electronics Club for peer learning, to A.I. based maze navigation and also a project fusing engineering structures with art. Expressions of interest are welcome at the Moodle site

Secondly, the Student-led Projects and Industry Partnership (SPIP) supports larger independent student engineering activity in CUED. Industrial support through sponsorship, mentoring, technical and management advice is provided by Boeing, Cambridge University Engineers' Association (CUEA), and Marshall ADG. Any independent engineering project team with at least one student member from CUED can apply for funding, providing the project team has been in existence for 12 months or more, and is engaged in hands-on, extra-curricular, educational, engineering projects. Please contact the SPIP coordinator, Dr Roebuck if you are interested in applying. Applications for the next round of funding should be submitted in the required format by 6am on Saturday 25th November 2023.

More detailed instructions for application to SPIP are included here:

Existing SPIP teams should write two documents (1 and 2 below), new teams just need to do part 2:
Part 1. 
An initial progress report on the experiences, progress and results over the past year. This is a maximum of 3 pages and should include an introduction to the originally proposed work, an update on each of the tasks that were planned and any milestones that the team have reached. It would be good to have an overview of the numbers of students that engaged with the team over the year and the training they received or skills they developed.
A brief financial summary should also be provided including any other sources of funding and spending. It is imortant to note that any savings or underspend are not seen as negative aspects of the work and effective use of the funding is encouraged.
Part 2. 
The proposal document to request funds should be 2-3 pages in length. This should have the following sections:
A.  Introduction to the team, the approximate percentages of different disciplines if non-engineering members are involved too, the total number involved and the key goals of the team.
B.  An introduction to the project you are proposing to carry out (or the key sub-projects or tasks if there are multiple levels to the work)
C.  A breakdown of the resources requested. This can include the cash amount and if workshop hours are required.
D.  A proposed management structure to enure financial management, project management, health and safety and colleague training all take place.
On the day of the Dragons Den (Thursday 30th November 2023), we expect 2-5 minute presentation (with or without slides) and then a brief 10 minute discussion. It is an informal event and assessed by engineers from industry with very strong technical backgrounds and so it is important to focus on the technical challenges and how you will approach them.


The University of Cambridge would like to thank the industrial partners for their extremely generous contributions in terms of time, helpful advice and direct project funding.


Project Expo

Teams present their most recent developments in the Expo early in November in the main engineering site, with most teams in the Dyson Centre for Engineering Design. This will take place on Thursday 2nd November 2023 for all years (and with a 10am lecture on the first year lecture schedule in the Dr Constance Tipper Lecture Theatre). A recorded version of this lecture from a previous year can be viewed by those within the University, using this link. The event is the normal route to finding out how you can become involved or how you can turn your ideas into a new project.

Meet the Teams

There have been many SPIP teams over recent years and a few are described below.

Cambridge University Space Flight

  • High powered rocketry (15 km)
  • High altitude ballooning (40 km)
  • Building everything from light computer to rocket motors
  • Launched high-altitude planetary entry parachute test system
  • Annual rocketry event in the Black Rock Desert.

Cambridge University Eco Racing

  • Most enterprising student society (RBS ESSA Scheme)
  • Designs, builds and races
  • Lightest ever vehicle at 120 kg
  • Ongoing event: World Solar Challenge - 3000km race (Darwin to Adelaide)

Cambridge Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

  • Founded in 2006
  • Originally designed for scientific exploration under the arctic ice
  • Compete annually in the Student Autonomous Underwater Challenge Europe
  • Won 1st place in the 2013 competition with Barracuda

Full Blue Racing

  • 60 students
  • Design & build a single seater racing car
  • 450 Formula Student Teams, 100 teams compete
  • Assessed on (1) speed & handling, (2) Business/design presentations
  • Promoted to Class 1 in 2014


Last updated on 15/11/2023 15:40