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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the TEAM program ? :

It is an industrial project for 4th year students in science, engineering, business, and law. A majority of our students are currently in chemical engineering but we strive to have as many multidisciplinary teams as possible. We typically have about 20 different projects of which 18 or so are multidisciplinary.

You might now ask “what do we mean by an industrial project?” This is harder to answer because the strength of the program is that the students are thrown into a project/subject which more often than not, they have never had an opportunity to learn about in school. Sound familiar? The students are expected to sort out the foundation of the problem, plan an execution strategy, execute the project, and provide regular status updates along with a written final report which may include a prototype.

Most of our projects are something a group of undergraduate students can accomplish in about a semester with some guidance. They are usually feasibility studies of some sort. We prefer them to have a business component as much as an engineering or science aspect. The projects nearly always require confidentiality agreements so we can not discuss details, but we would be happy to give you the 2-minute description of some of our projects.

We feel that getting the students out to the clients’ place of business is an important educational aspect to the course, so where possible, we encourage the students to visit their clients as much as possible. However the course is NOT a co-op. Your time involvement is completely up to you.

Q: Is the project a single student ... or is it a group of students? ...

One thing the course does is emphasize team work. All of our projects are something that are best tackled with 3 or more students. In addition, we provide the group with an industrial mentor who is usually someone with experience in running projects or a technical expert. Click here to see our industrial advisors.

Q: Is the project a month or 4 months or ? ...

The course officially starts in September but the first term is usually spent doing things such as visiting the client, further defining the problem with the client, developing a project plan, dealing with confidentiality agreements, and other long-cycle time but low-effort-hour aspects. The brunt of the real work is all done in the winter semester. The project culminates in the students doing a presentation at the clients’ site in April.

Q: Is the project on our site ... Who selects the the students? ...

The project is executed from Queen’s. We have first class teleconference facilities and thus the client can choose to have weekly/monthly or no contact at all with the students. We try to encourage at least bi-weekly teleconferences.

The students bid on the projects and we select who goes on which project. We try to match skills and interest to the project. However, often the projects change or were poorly defined, and the students need to respond by building new skills.

Q: What involvement is there from the profs? ...

David Mody (ex Fluor Canada for 17 years), Barrie Jackson (ex Shell for 33 years) and a business advisor(s) meet with the students bi-weekly to ensure there are no major issues holding the project up. We try to provide the students with an industrial experience and thus industrial advisors have been instrumental to the success. Their industrial advisors usually meet with them biweekly. If the project warrants it, the students can obtain assistance from other professors, and many do benefit from this! We’ve had many projects where professors were brought in as consultants on the projects (i.e. microbiologists, controls experts, business, etc.). We’re flexible, so whatever will help make the project successful we will do.

Q: Who is paying what?

The course is an expensive one to operate. Although we have advisors that donate their time and companies that often pay for their travel, we often have significant project costs such as travel costs for the students and/or prototyping or other research costs. Additionally, we provide a WEBEX/teleconference centre for executing projects for remote clients. We ask the clients to pay a $6K fee for the following reasons:

a. it creates an environment in which you the client, have a strong desire to accomplish something.

b. the students are both motivated by the knowledge that they are a fee charging organization and also by the fact that you have ‘real’ business needs that they are trying to satisfy.

c. it covers some of the costs to run the program.

In the past, when there has been significant travel expenses (i.e. the Shell projects we are doing in Calgary) the company has offered to pick up other extraordinary expenses (i.e travel to Calgary). We can adapt the projects according to the depth of the company’s pockets.

Q: What is "Empowered by Shell" mean?

Recently, Shell Canada offered us a generous grant to help fund and renew the program. We are very appreciative of their generosity and support for the TEAM program. Clearly they see a lot of value for the experience the TEAM program provides. You will also. For further information see News Brief.


Let me just sum things up by saying we have a bunch of highly motivated students that can do amazing things! It’s a great opportunity for companies to participate in their education, get a project done that you may not have the resources for, and meet/work with some prospective employees without an enormous investment in time.


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