Connecting Industrial Partners with Student Talent.

More information

Potential partners please contact:
Dr. Daniel Schien, Lecturer

Tel: +44 (0)117 3315105

Department of Computer Science
University of Bristol 
Merchant Venturers Building
Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 1UB

SPE: Software Product Engineering


We are currently looking for project proposals for our software engineering unit - you could have a group of our talented students design and build a software system just for you!

Within this unit, teams of students develop their software engineering skills, acting as a software consultancy for real-world clients.

This is fantastic opportunity to get involved with the Department of Computer Science. We welcome project ideas from individuals and organisations, from the public and the private sector, both within and outside the IT sector. Read on to find out if your project idea is suitable...

The projects

In the second year of our Bachelors program in Computer Science, our students work as a group on a problem for a real-world client. Within this project the students develop a solution to a problem or an opportunity that the client has identified.

There are lots of reasons to get involved in SPE.

You can make your organisation known as a potential future employer and establish a relationship with some of our students (for example, to advertise internship positions).

This is also an opportunity for someone in your organisation to develop mentoring skills or experience as a product owner.

You might use the project to create engagement in your organisation on a new topic or technology. These kinds of project are great for trying out new ideas and exploring novel technologies.

There is the potential for the system that is developed to provide value to the client organisation. While we have very talented students, it's important to set appropriate exceptions. The purpose of the unit is to enable student learning. But please bare in mind that many features and aspects of the implementation may remain prototypical.

There is no direct financial cost to the client organisation. The main investment from the client side is to meet with the students every couple of weeks to feed back on their progress (distributed meetings/teleconferencing is certainly possible).

The groups

Each group contains approximately four students and works on their project during 22 weeks of study from the beginning of October until April of the following year. On average each student works for about six hours per week on the project.

Once a group has been allocated to the project, the team meets their client and begins by trying to understand the motivation for the project and exploring the solution space. This requirements gathering stage is a key part of the project itself.

Suitable projects

It is important to note that these are software engineering projects and thus must always involve the construction of a software system. Whilst software is the ultimate output of the project, the work involved may well require the students to investigate various technologies and alternative designs for the solution. These designs themsevles form another type of project output.

Projects should be incremental in scope - at their core will be a minimum set of functionality that all student groups will be able to implement. Depending on progress, the team will increase the scope and scale of the system over time, providing more ambitious revisions of increasing value to the client.

As these are second year students it is important to allow for a spectrum of abilities. The best approach would be to have an exciting vision but to break it down into incrementally scoped packages that the students can work on in an agile fashion.

Projects should not include a significant degree of investigative system modelling or any research. For example, any data science, machine learning or computer vision aspects need to be very minimal and be straightforward to implement with high level APIs.

This year, all backend systems will have to be implemented in Java and mobile applications will be Android only (it is not feasible for mutiple native apps to be developed for different mobile platforms).

Responsibilities and involvement

The effort provided by the students is contributed without charge to clients. We do however expect that the client will commit to meeting their student teams on a frequent basis. The students will be applying an agile development method that involves meeting with their client in regular intervals to present their progress, gain feedback and discuss the next steps. The purpose of these meetings is to steer the projects towards a mutually agreeable outcome.

The length of the intervals between meetings will depend on the progress of the groups, but it is expected that this will usually be every two to three weeks.

The duration of the meetings will again depend on the progress of the project, but are likely to be approximately an hour in length.

Besides these meetings with the students, the teaching staff we will be in contact with the client from time to time to get feedback on their developing relationship with the students.

The proposal brief

To propose a project, submit a brief using the button at the bottom of this page. The brief should be directed at the students - at the start of the semester, the students will chose their projects based on these descriptions. If you wish, you may include your contact details in the brief so that students can contact you in the first week of the semester before making their project choice.

It is recommended that you include the following elements in your brief:

  • Client description - please describe yourself.
  • Motivation - what is the opportunity/problem that you have identified?
  • Solution - what do you think the solution might look like? Just set a frame that allows for a variety of solutions. Part of the project is to find the best among several alternative solutions.
  • Constraints - are there any constraints that the students should be aware of?
  • IP - by default solutions will be made open-source and the students will retain the IP. If this is not the case for you project, please indicate so in the brief.

Please try to stay within two pages of A4 (appox 800 words)

Feel free to get in touch using the contact details at the top of this page if there are any issues you wish to discuss further.


This year submission takes place via Microsoft Forms.

Submit your proposal via Microsoft Forms

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