Information for Applicants

Process:

We have a limited number of Kick-Starts to distribute this year, so it’s a competitive process that involves a few steps.

  1. Think of an idea for a project that you can complete in roughly three months time (start now).
  2. Identify a faculty or staff sponsor who supports your idea (start now). Sponsor Information
  3. Complete an online application explaining your idea and why it’s worth pursuing (Applications Due Oct 20th).
  4. Receive confirmation that your Kick-Start project was accepted (Early November)
  5. Attend ONE of two in-person workshop (approx 1 hour) offered on Tuesday, November 29th 2-3pm or Wednesday, November 29th from 5-6pm . You will receive the $500 Kick-Start at this session. (Register Today)
  6. Hand in Progress Report (January 26 and March 9)- Link to Progress Report Template
  7. Present your project on April 12th at the College of Engineering Research Open House.

Requirements:

By taking a Kick-Start, you agree to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Fill out two Check-In Reports with sponsor’s signature by January 26th and March 9th
  • Show your project as a poster at the College of Engineering Research Open House on April 12, 2018.
  • Return the equipment used in your project.
  • Submit all your receipts and a spreadsheet with all your expenses. Link to Spreadsheet
  • Complete a post-project survey of your experiences with the Kick-Start program.

It is strongly encouraged, you also:

  • Present your work at the Hawkeye Innovation Expo in the Iowa Memorial Union (mid-April)
  • Invite a University Photographer in to take photos while working on your project (who to contact will be provided later)
  • Visit the Hanson Center for Technical Communication for assistance with your proposal before you submit it.
  • Fill out a Hackaday.io page, and use it to post regular, substantial updates on the progress of your project. Each update should include photos (of your project, notes, or sketches) and text.
  • Attend a workshop on creating a poster (March)

Parameters:

  • We didn’t have any specific projects in mind. It could be something that solves a problem in the world, on campus or in your room. It could be a prototype or a finished product. Need inspiration? Take a look at one of the United Nation’s Global Problems
  • Open to All Engineering students (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Must find a faculty/staff sponsor. The role of the sponsor is to make sure the idea or project has some basis in reality, and to provide you with guidance during your project. You’ll identify your project sponsor when you complete the online application. You must meet with your adviser at least twice during the project process and fill out a Check-In Report.
  • You can work in a team, but you’ll only get one Kick-Start for that project. Kick-Start will be awarded per idea.
  • If you choose to work as a team, one person must be designated as the primary investigator for the project. That person will be responsible for meeting all the deadlines and communicating with Kick-Start program staff. Your team can include as many members, or co-investigators, as you see fit.
  • Students listed as co-investigators on a project are allowed to apply for their own Kick-Start if it’s for an entirely different project. Remember, it’s one Kick-Start per idea.
  • Failure is a natural part of making. It’s expected. The important thing is that you learn from these failures to better prepare for your next project. You will still be required to complete all the responsibilities of the Kick-Start – like a presentation about what went wrong and how it could be fixed.
  • What can you do with the money?
    • The funds in the Kick-Start are to help make your idea a reality. Making it a reality will likely involve a lot of different things. These could include any services or products through the Creative Space, Engineering Electronics Shop and Engineering Machine Shop:
      • materials
      • tools
      • labor
      • advice of professionals and peers
      • just about anything, really
    • There’s no way for us to know what you’re going to need to build and refine your idea. To make it as simple as possible for you to get what you need, we’re giving you near-total freedom with how you spend your funds, as long as it’s used through the Engineering Electronics or Machine Shops. If you can honestly justify it for your project, then it’s OK to spend your funds on it. Purchases of illegal substances, chemicals/items that need special handling and weapons are prohibited.  If questions about what may or may not be purchased, please visit the Electronics Shop.
    • In exchange for this freedom, you will be required to track your expenses in an online spreadsheet and submit your receipts at the end of your project. You may have to pay back any funds that are not accompanied by a receipt, so be sure to document everything. We’ll provide you with a budget spreadsheet template in Google Drive and Excel formats to help you track expenses.
  • You maintain ownership of your idea and anything you build as part of this project. You are also welcome to keep any materials you purchase for your project. Any tools that you purchase should be returned to the Creative Space for use by other makers. Examples of tools that should be returned are: a soldering iron used to solder parts of your project, an oscilloscope to measure electrical signals, and a power drill to drill holes. We recognize there is gray area in this definition, so please direct any questions about what should be returned to lib-engineering@uiowa.edu.
  • If you don’t use all your funding, that’s great.  This project has limited funds so any money you don’t use will go toward helping another maker build their idea.

 

Restrictions

  • Cannot already be receiving funding for this project
  • Only 1 idea per submission
  • Students can be the primary investigator for only one Kick-Start per year. However, students can be co-investigators on more than one project.
  • If you do not complete the requirements as outlined in this document, if you leave the project or the University, or in the unlikely event you are asked to leave the project, you agree to return ALL materials and tools to the Creative Space within three business days. You may be held accountable for any missing funds on the account and equipment. You will also not be allowed to receive Kick-Start in the future.