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Project Criteria

The Capstone project course, Applied Computation 297r (AC297r), engages a wide range of partners across academia and industries. Projects accepted into AC297r involve a business or organizational challenge, have a point of contact at the organization, and usually include complex/large scale data, and computational or engineering challenges. Project outcomes range from modeling to data visualization to algorithm development to software development.

Partner search usually involves one or two meetings between the course instructor and the lead partner contacts, during which we determine the fit with the curriculum and build out the project scope.

View examples of student research projects.

Partner Commitment

Collaboration between student teams and partners starts with a kickoff meeting.

After that, Harvard faculty and teaching staff are responsible for advising, mentoring, and guiding the students. The student teams will provide regular reports to partners, but partners are not required to make additional time commitments unless they want to. A lot of our partners enjoy the interaction and provide frequent feedback. 

Partners say: "The students' output and dedication far exceeded our expectations.  They were extremely diligent, insightful, thoughtful, and productive."

Partner Benefits

As a data partner, your organization will have the opportunity to work with talented Harvard students and faculty applying modern computational methods, techniques and analytics to your problem. You’ll be able to get to know the students well through their work, and you will gain some insights or new perspectives from the project outcomes.

Partners say: "We worked with the Capstone project to gain insights into a data problem or challenge we didn't have time to pursue, to add some capacity to our research efforts, to learn more about academic data science and computational modeling, and to connect with resources at Harvard University."

"I was impressed with the students! They were given some very open-ended questions and were able to identify issues to pursue and effectively did that."


Most projects will involve a substantial dataset or sets. If your organization has proprietary data, we can arrange to secure the data and set up a data use agreement between Harvard University and your organization. If there is any personally identifiable information or any human subjects data, we will review the agreement through Harvard’s Institutional Review Board before drafting the data use agreement.


AC297r is a fall semester course. Students will begin initial work during the first week of September and end the semester with a poster session in early December. Project development between partners and the instructor will take place continuously during the academic year, although by July 15, projects will be finalized for the following spring semester.


The primary goal of the capstone project course is a substantive educational experience for our students with our data partners. The research projects will be shared publicly at a Harvard University poster session and when appropriate, published in academic journals. As a data partner, you will be invited to attend the final presentation and the poster session, and you will receive a final written report.