OPEN 2023 Call for Proposals

In-Person, D.C. Metro Area // March 21-23, 2023

The Call for Proposals is now closed.

The OPEN Conference gathers together engaged faculty, administrators, global innovators, and university students from across disciplines to network, share stories, start new collaborations, and learn emerging best practices in STEM entrepreneurship education. During highly interactive and immersive sessions, you’ll gain effective new practices to apply to your class or program and collaborate meaningfully with fellow attendees. Aligned with this year’s theme, Connecting for Impact, OPEN 2023 will create space for meaningful connections among participants and to the content, ensuring that you have the support and tools you need to positively impact your campus ecosystem.

This year, plan to lead the conversation and contribute to the field of innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) education by proposing a session for OPEN 2023.

Learn More About OPEN

Important Date

  • January 31, 2023: Early Bird and Group pricing ends

Call for Proposals

We are seeking diverse ideas and perspectives for conference sessions, across four areas of focus with four interactive format types. Sessions are 30-60 minutes in length.

Though all proposals that fit with our areas of focus are welcome, special consideration will be given to proposals that:

  • share learnings from VentureWell Course & Program grantees
  • emphasize programs and practices that foster access and engagement of students from historically underrepresented groups (URGs*) in I&E
  • share findings from I&E education assessment, evaluation, or research
  • feature students as panelists or co-presenters
  • include institutions that are Minority Serving Institutions and/or community colleges
  • highlight sustainable design practices, including social and environmental sustainability

*URGs, as referenced throughout this page, are defined as traditionally underrepresented, underestimated, and under-resourced groups, specifically those who identify as Black, Latinx, and Indigenous; women from all backgrounds; individuals who identify as coming from low-income backgrounds; and others who are marginalized due to racism, sexism, classism, and/or other forms of marginalization.

The deadline for submissions is October 31, 2022. As a part of this competitive proposal process, we will give preference to sessions that align with our themes and emphasize learning by doing. Applicants will be notified and advised of next steps by December 1, 2022.

Session Areas of Focus

We are accepting proposals within the following four areas of focus:

  • Academic Impact/Student Experience in the I&E Space
    • Promising classroom practices/nifty assignments
    • Project-based learning
    • Teaching and learning in entrepreneurial support programs, including competitions, makerspaces, accelerators, incubators, and mentoring services
    • Techniques for teaching across disciplines and engaging student teams
    • Approaches for evaluating learning
    • Inclusively teaching I&E/asset-based teaching and learning
    • Sustainability and sustainable design concepts, tools, and frameworks
  • Institutional Impact and Change
    • Building new I&E policies, processes, and infrastructure or programs on campus
    • Stakeholder buy-in for institutional transformation through an inclusive and sustainable I&E curricular approach
    • Sustaining I&E momentum for institutional transformation
  • Off-Campus/Community Engagement
    • Regional and place-based I&E
    • Engaging with industry
    • Cross-institution collaborations
    • Pathways for long-term and inclusive community engagement
  • Emergent Themes in Higher Education I&E
    • What trends are you seeing or experiencing that you anticipate will transform I&E education in the years to come? Submit them here! Some possibilities are ethics, I&E beyond engineering, emerging technologies that affect I&E, etc.

Session Formats

OPEN Ignites (60 minutes)

OPEN Ignites are quick, dynamic, seven-minute presentations that are gathered into themed clusters of three Ignites in a single 60-minute breakout. In this effective and engaging format, each of the three Ignites are presented in rapid succession; these are followed by two 17-minute rounds of small group conversations/Q&A with the presenters, with participants prioritizing which two presenters they would like to converse with. Due to time constraints, individual Ignite presentations may have no more than two presenters.

OPEN Workshops (60 minutes)

OPEN Workshop sessions are highly immersive and emphasize learning by doing. Presenters begin with a brief overview and then dive right into engaging attendees in applying the featured approach or tool(s). Workshops may have up to a maximum of three facilitators; small-group work is strongly encouraged.

The goal is for attendees to leave the session with a work product, tools, or approaches they can immediately implement, as well as with new community connections. A limited number of workshop slots are available. Workshop applicants will be asked to provide an agenda for their workshop.

OPEN Foundations (60 minutes)

OPEN Foundations use a live panel format to provide introductory, foundational content for those new to the field of I&E education. Foundations panelists are seasoned I&E veterans who will share and compare their contrasting experiences on a single topic. We are seeking panelists who are willing to discuss topics in which they have passion, expertise, and/or experience. Foundations sessions will be recorded, edited, and made available for viewing and use after OPEN. Limited slots are available. Here are three examples from last year’s conference:

There are two ways to apply: (1) submit your proposal as an individual and we will match you with other panelists, or (2) submit your proposal including up to four panelists total.

Panel topics may include the following—however, other topics may emerge based on expertise of prospective panelists:

  • Starting from Zero: initiating I&E course content, standalone courses, programs, or other initiatives on campus, and how to amplify impact
  • Engaging a Broader Audience: underrepresented groups, non-engineering majors, graduate students integrated with undergraduates, non-traditional students, etc.
  • Regional Entrepreneurship: engaging in place-based and/or community-engaged entrepreneurship
  • The Role of Faculty with Student Teams: activating, mentoring, and/or managing
  • Makerspaces: getting started, specialization, collaboration, centralization, or other related topics

Teaching Toolkit (90 minutes)

The OPEN Teaching Toolkit session is a poster session reimagined. Presenters share their unique, innovative, and tried and true approaches for teaching I&E with a wide range of interested colleagues. During this 90-minute, reception-style session, presenters will discuss their teaching techniques with participants, using a poster as a visual aid. Toward the close of the session, participants will cast their vote for the “most likely to adopt” and “most innovative” teaching approaches. Following the conference, all toolkit presentations will be assembled into the inaugural OPEN Teaching Toolkit virtual publication. Posters may have up to two presenters. Presenters will be provided with a poster template for the session.

How To Apply

All proposal materials must be submitted through VentureWell’s online application system. Deadline extended until Monday, October 31, at 11:59 p.m. ET. To start, you’ll need to have or create a VentureWell account.

Click here to access an existing account or VWCommunitiesLogin?target=proposal. Then, log in, find the OPEN Call for Proposals link, and complete the steps!

To create and submit your proposal, you will need to complete the following:

  • Proposed Session Title. Make it descriptive and compelling!
  • Additional Session Presenters and Facilitators
  • Area of Focus: Select the one that most fits your proposed session.
  • Target Audience: Who will benefit from this session and why? (Administrators, Faculty, Other)
  • Preferred Format Type: Select one of the four available Session Formats—OPEN Ignite, Workshop, Foundation, or Teaching Toolkit. If you do not have a preference, or are not sure, please say so and we’ll choose what we think will work best for your session.
  • Full Session Description (limit to 150 words): What will your session be about? What are the goals for your session? How will it be interactive? If you are proposing a workshop, provide a high-level agenda, including a description of the hands-on activity. Please limit your description to 150 words. The reviewers will use this description to make a decision about your session.
  • Abbreviated Session Description (this is the description that will appear in the program). Limit to 50 words. Please provide:
    • A short and clear description that will “sell” your session to the attendees
    • A description of the actionable takeaways for your session
  • Course and Program (Formerly Faculty) Grantees: Is the work you’ll be sharing the result or outcome of a VentureWell Course & Program Grant?

Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status and advised of next steps by December 1, 2022.

Proposal Notifications

Proposal acceptance notifications will be sent on December 1.


Have a session-related question? Contact

Having technical difficulty with the application? Contact

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. Read More