The Capstone Marketplace connects undergraduate engineering teams with experts from the Department of Defense and other government organizations, to work on challenging design projects.

The Capstone Marketplace showcases ideas from the DoD and other government organizations as prospective topics for students in their design projects.  

Project funding is typically capped at $5,000. Funds may be used for material, components, non-capital equipment, student travel, and other student expenses.

Government sponsors and Capstone Marketplace managers mentor student teams as they develop innovative physical and virtual prototypes.  

Students enhance their problem solving, teambuilding, and leadership skills by participating in the Capstone Marketplace.

Capstone Marketplace managers select research topics that balance complexity and scope with the expectations and needs of their government customers.  

Capstone Marketplace emphasizes students “doing” and “building”. Prototype designs, development, integration of components, testing and evaluation, and demonstrations are required.  

Our mission

Capstone Marketplace connects a future U.S. engineering workforce with Subject Matter Experts in the DoD and other government agencies to solve challenging national security research problems. University students use “systems engineering” thinking, innovative technical approaches, and multidisciplinary methods in their design teams, as they build workable prototypes and capabilities that bring high value to sponsors 

How it works

Previous research has demonstrated that students who work on multidisciplinary Capstone Marketplace projects have increased interest and proficiency in applying basic systems engineering methods to their designs.  

The Capstone Marketplace works with the DoD and other government organizations to identify technology needs that form the Capstone Marketplace “Research Topics” posted on the website prior to each academic year.   

The Capstone Marketplace proposal process starts with Faculty Advisors and/or students reviewing available research topics. Either faculty or students can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) on topics they want to pursue; it’s not required for a student team to be formed when an EOI is submitted. Multiple EOIs on separate topics can be submitted. The ideal Capstone Marketplace team consists of senior undergraduate engineers working on multidisciplinary topics; teams may include students from different year groups, and in different majors such as business or operations research. Graduate students may participate on undergraduate Capstone teams.   

Capstone Marketplace managers match EOIs with research topics and send a Request for Proposal (RFP) for each qualifying EOI. Proposals are evaluated with sponsors; marketplace managers announce awards as the Fall semester starts. Twosemester projects are preferred. Universities receive Firm Fixed Price (FFP) contracts from the System Engineering Research Center (SERC) at Stevens Institute for each student team. Faculty and students are required to be knowledgeable of contract terms, schedules and deliverables; this introduces students to basic procedures for contract work common in industry.  

Government sponsors typically interact with student teams once a month to review project status, address questions and provide feedback. 

Capstone Marketplace managers match the research objectives and deliverables to each university’s design course syllabus. Capstone Marketplace teams are required to document development activities and project status as per their contract. Capstone Marketplace personnel provide mentoring as available; university faculty are responsible to guide the student teams’ academic work.

Typically, student teams will present project status and results at two interim reviews (at the mid-point of each semester) and in major reviews at the end of each semester. The final review, usually at the conclusion of the Spring semester, includes demonstrations of prototypes, presentation of a final report and project technical dataAt the conclusion of each final review, project information is shared with government customers and archived at Stevens Institute. 

After each review, sponsors provide feedback and assessments of each team’s performance.

Capstone Marketplace projects are governmentfunded research and development. SERC resources Capstone Marketplace teams with DoD funds that are provided to universities through subcontracts. Although the university, faculty, or students can declare and own intellectual property (IP) developed on projects, the government retains the right to use any Capstone-funded intellectual property IP without royalties.  Details on government research and IP are provided in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR). (Contact the Capstone Marketplace for further information). 

At the conclusion of the Capstone Marketplace project, each government customer can choose to recover prototypes, technical data, or residual materials, or these items may be retained by the universities for follow-on Capstone Marketplace activities. 

Ready to get started?

Previous research has demonstrated that students who work on multidisciplinary Capstone Marketplace projects have increased interest and proficiency in applying basic systems engineering methods to their designs.