3. Proposal writing

Process

You are advised to follow the procedure explained in the TIL-0 form. Plan your work very well, work steadily and take care that you follow the advises, rules and regulations. Immediately inform your supervisors about any issue that may lead to disruptions and find solutions together with your supervisors.

Allowance to start your project

See the Forms and regulations section.

Communication

Regularly communicate with your supervisors. If your private conditions (health, relationship, family) lead to delays, inform your coaches immediately. Contact an academic counsellor or study psychologist if necessary. Do not disappear from our radar. This is very disconcerting for your supervisors and does not promote your case.

Confidentiality-/non-disclosure agreements and copyright

The TU Delft does not accept NDA's from companies or government organisations anymore, because they frequently reduce academic freedom and take away your copyright. We acknowledge the right of a commissioner to protect its interests, though.
Tell your commissioner that we use this template: English, Nederlands. The company official and you sign the form, after which you send it to the contract manager of CiTG. Return takes a few days. The template contains one obligation that is not legally binding: You may upload your thesis to the repository, but this is not mandatory. This is very useful in case your commissioner does not want its policies and/or data made public.

Do not sign anything under pressure. Discuss confidentiality issues with the chair of your commission first, then contact a Graduation coordinator.

Always make a scan/copy of any document you sign.

More information (in Dutch) about intellectual ownership can be found here.

Special case: A project outside the Netherlands

A graduation project may be even more interesting if carried out in a foreign (or if you are a foreign student: familiar) country.
It is however more challenging and complicated than a project in the Netherlands.
Supervision from a distance is more complicated and probably less effective. You may also experience a language/cultural barrier, physical and mental health problems. These may deter you from having the best results. 

A good preparation is key to make such an adventure a success. You have to arrange all practicalities; visa, accommodation, registration, vaccinations, a work permit, a permit for the project you are going to carry out, communication with TU Delft, and a place to work. This takes a lot of time before and during your stay. If you want to do a graduation project abroad, you must know exactly what you want and you must be very self-sufficient. You must also start very early, in some cases a year in advance.

The Studying Abroad page is a good reference if you are thinking (dreaming) about such a project. For content-related questions, you may contact the MSc TIL Programme Coordinator. He can be asked by the International Student Office to approve your plans before you go. Acceptance depends on many factors; quality of your proposal, feasibility/planning, our experience with the foreign supervising organisation, etc.
Inform all other relevant staff (International Student Office, secretary of your professor) timely and regularly about your plans, activities and whereabouts. You are the link between these staff members. Do not assume any active/direct communication between them unless you initiated this.

Content

A project starts with one or more ideas, which evolve into a proposal. TUD supervisors like to discus a draft proposal (example template) during the kick-off meeting.

Planning and writing your project proposal

There are two opposing ways of preparing your research project.
1. Start practically. In case of an external project (internship-graduation contract), it is advisable to spend about 1 month of your internship on pre-research and become acquainted with the company, its practices, challenges and staff.
During this period you write your project proposal. At the kick-off meeting this draft is discussed and adapted. You then continue working at the external organisation. Avoid a full-time stay there, because you may loose communication with your TUD supervisors. Your project may then become too practical for the TUD.
If you work on an internal TUD project it is also good to spend some time outside the TUD in order to experience the real world.

2. Start scientifically. This is more likely if you have taken a project idea from a professor or are more theoretically oriented. You start with the literature analysis and choice of methods first. Then you work on the practical details, either externally or at the TUD. There is a risk is that your project becomes too theoretical for the external organisation.

In practice a mix of ways is chosen. When in doubt, discuss the preferred arrangement with your supervisors. It is important that all of you feel comfortable with the choices you make.

Kick-off meeting
A kick-off meeting will be held while you are in the process. This means that you have already done some work and made choices, which are then re-evaluated. To prevent too much alteration, keep your weekly supervisors up to date and make choices (such as regarding data collection, methods) based on good arguments.

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