Faculty grants support the creation of new courses and programs in which students develop ideas and gain the skills to bring them to market
Innovation is a skill that can and should be taught in universities. With our faculty grants, VentureWell challenges faculty to pioneer new ways to engage their students in the entrepreneurial process. The grants:
- Support new (or help modify existing) courses and programs that lead to the formation of E-Teams—multidisciplinary groups of students, faculty, and mentors working together to bring inventions to market.
- Help students learn by doing–gaining the entrepreneurial skills they need by actually forming a team and trying to make both the technology and business model work.
Have a strong likelihood of continuing beyond the grant period and becoming part of a campus culture of innovation. To date, 92% of our funded courses and programs report that they are ongoing.
There are two types of faculty grants: Course & Program grants and Sustainable Vision grants.
Course & Program grants support courses or programs at the intersection of invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship that lead to the creation and support of E-Teams. Focus areas include but are not limited to:
- General (technology-based) entrepreneurship
- New materials/clean tech/green energy
- Biomedical and healthcare
- Information technology
Sustainable Vision (SV) grants are very similar to Course & Program grants in that they support experiential learning and generate E-Teams. The key difference is that Sustainable Vision proposals must lead to the development of technology innovations that address poverty alleviation and basic human needs. A local, off-campus partner must be identified in the proposal. Focus areas include but are not limited to:
- Information technology
Examples of successful Faculty grants include:
- Inventor’s Studio at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in which students have one semester to learn product design, prototype an invention, research IP, and launch a startup. This course launched Ecovative Design, developers of environmentally friendly packaging material, among others.
- The Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) program at Penn State. HESE brings together students and faculty from various disciplines to develop technology-based solutions to challenges facing the developing world and marginalized communities.
- Lehigh’s Integrated Product Development (IPD) program. IPD is a set of courses that allows students from any college at Lehigh to work with students from other disciplines on a real-world industry-sponsored project.
- Art Center College of Design’s Safe Agua Peru program. This program led to the development of award-winning products designed for people living in urban slums.