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Cook Engineering Design Center

Cook Engineering Design Center (CEDC) connects Dartmouth Bachelor of Engineering (BE) students with industry partners to solve real-world problems quickly and economically.

Directed by Professor Sol Diamond, CEDC coordinates industry-sponsored projects for Dartmouth's ENGS 89/90 capstone engineering design course sequence.

What Is ENGS 89/90?

CEDC projects form the heart of Dartmouth's capstone BE engineering design course sequence, "ENGS 89/90: Engineering Design Methodology & Project Initiation/Completion." Each project runs from mid September to early March with students working in teams of three to eight depending on the scope of the project.

Project Timeline

To begin, the potential sponsor emails the CEDC Fellow to set up a brief meeting to discuss the project idea and determine the best way for the company to participate.

  • March–July: Sponsors works with CEDC staff to define their projects and fill out the online proposal form.
  • July 16: Sponsor proposal forms are due through the CEDC project submission portal.
  • July–August: CEDC staff work with sponsors to further refine projects and finalize the list of projects that will be presented to students.
  • Early September: At the start of ENGS 89, proposals are pitched, projects and teams are matched, and projects begin.
  • Mid September–Early October: Project sponsors are invoiced.
  • Early October: Student teams give both oral and written reports to a professional review board about their understanding of the problem, the current state of the art surrounding potential solutions, and the solution area in which they intend to focus their efforts.
  • Mid November: Student teams give both oral and written reports to a professional review board on their potential solution to the problem, their attempts to realize the solution, potential obstacles, alternative ideas in case a dead-end is reached, and anticipated timelines for completing the project.
  • Early January: ENGS 90, the final segment of the course, begins.
  • Early February: Each student team informally reports to the professional review board about its progress to date, including the status of the proposed solution, and how challenges have been overcome.
  • Mid-March: Each student team presents their final report to the professional review board, recapping their work over the two terms and demonstrating the deliverable that solves the problem. A written report and handoff materials are also provided at this time.

Propose a Project

Sponsors: Who, Why & How?

A CEDC sponsor is any established business or organization that brings an engineering problem to our students. Sponsors come from all industries and sectors and vary in size and type.

Our students bring technical, analytical, and project management skills to develop efficient, inventive solutions to practical problems. They devote between 900 and 1,800 hours to their projects and draw on the expertise of CEDC staff, faculty advisors, and the technical staff of Dartmouth’s CAD facility, MShop, and instrument room. Project work includes professional review cycles, with teams presenting progress reports to panels of practicing engineers and experts.

What are the benefits?

For a minimal investment, deliverables include a written report containing relevant background research, analysis of the problem and proposed solution, and recommendations for next steps. Other deliverables may include:

  • Design analyses, reports, and feasibility studies
  • Product prototypes
  • Engineering plans, drawings, and CAD models
  • Computer programs, manuals, and data
  • Manufacturing process plans
  • Demonstrations, videos, and presentations
  • Business plans and financial analyses

Points of contact

Sponsors interact regularly with students throughout the project in at least two ways:

  1. The business lead provides company and contextual information, as well as user needs and specifications.
  2. The technology lead provides problem-specific technical guidance.

These two points of contact may or may not be the same person.

History of the Cook Engineering Design Center

Cook history photos

Legacy & Origin

The Cook Engineering Design Center was established in 1978 to create a bridge between industry and Thayer School. Several companies signed on to provide financial support and bring in projects for graduate engineering students, who would work in close collaboration with industry representatives.

Former overseer John Brown Cook '29 was an early and enthusiastic supporter of the concept of the Center. After Cook's death in 1979, his widow, Marian Miner Cook, succeeded him as Overseer and made a generous financial gift to support the design center. The Center, originally called INVENTE, was renamed the Cook Engineering Design Center (CEDC).

Cedc innovation

Impact & Innovation

During its first five years (1979-1984), more companies joined with an increase in industry-funded research. The Cook Center Associates Program was established in 1983 as a mechanism to generate and maintain a continuing relationship between interested companies and Thayer School.

During Dean Elsa Garmire's tenure, the CEDC became a virtual center with a formalized fee structure for projects and processes by which corporate partners were recruited.