Politehnica University Bucharest (ROMANIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 744-750
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
Preparing the students for a seamless transition from academia to a job in the industrial world is one of the most important problems in the education process that we were faced with. In order to help them leap over the gap, we undertook several actions:
- we encouraged original thinking, team work spirit and the competition spirit of our students;
- we constantly adapted our laboratory projects and platforms
All these actions lacked the real pressure of deadlines, of product efficiency and project quality. Our idea was to give the students the opportunity to see and feel the challenges of a real project, rather than giving them more theoretical problems to solve. We, as professors, are an active part in almost any scholar activity of our students. We wondered what if we can reverse this. What if we can make students an active part of the research activity in our department?
The first step towards an answer was to search for some methods so that students can take on research responsibilities. Since November 2007, our department is involved in the development of a research contract entitled CULORS –Tracking, locating and data collecting system for a mobile sensors network. The main objective of this contract is the structuring and efficient development of a mobile sensors network.
Starting from this contract, we drafted a series of project themes in order to involve our students in the research field. Depending on the knowledge available to students in different academic stages, we defined 4 categories of projects:

- homework projects for undergrads in their final year of study
- research projects for the undergrad diploma
- research projects for the master students
- research projects for dissertation papers

The full paper will include examples of projects for each of the above categories as well as presentations of the most original papers and contributions some of our students did in the last year.
Working alongside our group in the development of a research project allows the students to use all the theoretical knowledge they accumulated during their study years in a practical and organised way. Often, students’ participation in these projects brings added originality and innovation to the group. They manage to find clever approaches that elude their professors, and in the end they contribute to the increase of the overall performance. The grad students that get good results in their research are encouraged to present their findings in national or international conferences, helping them in improving their CV.
This approach of education by research has a great deal of benefits for all parties. The students get to experience some real world challenges and the professors get some brand new ideas for their projects. There is also a benefit for the university. Some of the students that work alongside research groups during their final years of study discover their vocation for teaching and decide to start an academic career in the university.
Education, research, student involvement.