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Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship

NYU - Poly students are ingrained, with a strong sense of innovation and entrepreneurship. Here, we are constantly applying the I2E ("I squared E" - invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship) philosophy in our classrooms, competitions, organizations, workspaces, career development opportunities, and funding.

The premier organizations on campus supporting this ideology are The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Association (EIA) and the Design Tinkering Club (DTC). EIA seeks to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem based on the I2E philosophy by hosting a student-faculty forum to “learn the concepts of entrepreneurship, provide the benefits of self-employment, and the step-by-step path involved in launching and commercializing own ideas.” (EIA Homepage). Each year they host events, workshops, and challenges such as Inno/Vention, Risky Ideas and App Challenge. In addition, they are active participants in the NYU Entrepreneur Challenge.

The Design Tinkering Club, originally the OpenIDEO Student Chapter, uses design thinking processes to cultivate viable solutions for social issues. Each year, DTC champions the OpenIDEO Challenge across campus to spark engagement and awareness of the world’s most pressing social issues. In conjunction with NYU-Poly administrators and stakeholders such as NCIIA and NSF, DTC launched The Greenhouse, a collaborative workspace for students and faculty to inspire, ideate, prototype, and share their newest innovations and entrepreneurial ventures. The Greenhouse wants to further educate and cultivate design thinkers through its Youth Cafe, bi-weekly workshops and talks featuring professionals in entrepreneurship and innovation worlds. The Youth Cafe gives the NYU community a chance to listen, share, and network with change makers from around the world.

Lastly, NYU-Poly students can learn first hand what it takes to be a working entrepreneur through their Skill-based Program for Incubator Knowledge and Employment (SPIKE). This program aims to support early-stage companies developing in Poly's incubators while simultaneously providing an opportunity for students to learn the skills necessary to find employment after completing their studies (SPIKE Homepage). These internships are held at one of the three offices in the NYU-Poly Incubators. These spaces are also open to current NYU & NYU-Poly students to work on their own ventures, free of charge. In addition, to career development, NYU-Poly is also a part of the NYU Summer LaunchPad, a 10 week summer program for graduating NYU and NYU-Poly student teams to accelerate their new ventures forward.

NYU-Poly students have access to a variety of funds to get their ideas and ventures of the ground, such as the Prototyping Fund and theInnovation Venture Fund to name a few. You can find a robust listing here.

Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship

NYU-Poly is the home to the Center for Faculty Innovations in Teaching and Learning (FITL), a faculty-centered enterprise dedicated to the advancement of educational practice. Its mission is to partner with the NYU-Poly community to promote innovative teaching strategies and technologies for learning. FITL was created through a 5-year, $1.92 million Title III Strengthening Institutions grant the US Department of Education awarded NYU-Poly in October 2008. Its objective is to increase NYU-Poly’s reputation as a leader in STEM higher education through extensive faculty training and providing resources to incorporate educational technology within the classroom and curriculum (FITL Homepage).

University Technology Transfer Function

Technology transfer at NYU-Poly and NYU is governed through the NYU Office of Industrial Liaison (NYU OIL). NYU OIL’s mission is to promote the commercial development of NYU technologies from its Langone Medical Center, Washington Square and NYU-Poly campuses into products to benefit the public, while providing resources to the University to support its research, education, and patient care missions. The Office also facilitates research collaborations between NYU researchers and industry on projects of mutual interest.

NYU OIL actively seeks commercial partners to develop NYU technologies, and works to establish mutually beneficial long-term relationships. Almost 60% of NYU patents have been licensed to companies for development and commercialization. Over the past five years, NYU has ranked first among all U.S. universities in income from technology licensing, which is plowed back into further research. NYU actively promotes entrepreneurship with more than 70 companies created based on NYU technologies. In the most recent published comparative data on technology commercialization activity at U.S. universities, NYU created 87% more new start-up companies per research dollars expended than the national average (NYU OIL).

University-Industry Collaboration

NYU-Poly has had a long standing collaborative relationship with the telecommunications, wireless communication, biological science, cyber security and privacy, and video gaming industries. Created in 1983 as one of the State of New York's 4 original Centers for Advanced Technology, CATT continues to fulfill its mission to stimulate economic development in information technology through research and education (Research Centers Homepage). Located on our campus, the CATT is sponsored by the New York State’s Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) and draws in key researchers from NYU and Columbia University (Research Projects). Companies that partner with CATT in joint research gain access to state-of-the-art facilities and a team of experts who understand how to turn technological breakthroughs into commercially-viable products and services. CATT’s research program focuses on 3 key areas that are crucial to the needs of businesses today: wireless networks, network security, and network applications (Research Centers Homepage).

The Wireless Internet Center of Advanced Technology (WICAT) is a joint research center created by Columbia University and NYU-Poly. As a future Industry/University Cooperative Research Center member, WICAT is partnered with companies and organizations from across the industry, from telecommunications and manufacturing giants to wireless customers and small start-up firms (Research Projects). WICAT is a multi-university R&D center sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under its program of Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC).With NYU-Poly as the lead institution, WICAT center sites are also located at Virginia Tech, University of Texas at Austin, Auburn University, and the University of Virginia. WICAT’s mission is to collaborate with industry research partners to create flexible, efficient, and secure wireless networks that satisfy communications needs in businesses, in the home, and in the lives of individuals. WICAT is part of NYU WIRELESS, NYU’s new cross-cutting research center that involves wireless communications, computing, and medicine (Research Centers Homepage).


Stemming from NYU-Poly’s pioneering efforts in polymer research, the Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing of Macromolecules is involved in the exploration and development of enzymes for a wide range of polymer forming and modifying reactions.The Center provides industrial members with critical, cutting-edge research on enzyme transformations related to polymer technology in hopes of understanding the impact that biocatalysis and bioprocessing might have on their short and long-term business strategies (Research Centers Homepage).

CRISSP combines security technology strengths with experts in psychology, law, public policy, and business from NYU. The goal of this center is to build new approaches to security and privacy that recognize that technology alone cannot provide the information security and privacy needed in today’s interconnected world (Research Centers Homepage).

In 2011, NYU-Poly launched their Center of Innovation for Technology and Entertainment (CITE), home to the renown Game Innovation Lab--an exciting, dynamic and flexible space for research and learning that takes games as an innovation challenge. Within the lab, core research and teaching activities are grounded in computer science, engineering, and user experience, with participation of researchers and educators from other allied disciplines. Sample projects in the Lab include user interface innovation (sensor-based tracking, multi-touch), network and video quality research, and research on games for learning (CITE Homepage).

Regional and Local Economic Development Efforts

CATT - Created in 1983 as one of the State of New York's 4 original Centers for Advanced Technology, CATT continues to fulfill its mission to stimulate economic development in information technology through research and education.

CITE - Former NYU-Poly President Hultin once stated that “With CITE, NYU-Poly’s researchers, students and industry partners are well poised to contribute to the economic growth of New York. CITE will facilitate the collaborative development of ground-breaking digital gaming innovations and new media technologies with tangible commercial applications.” (CITE Press Release)

In addition to CATT and CITE, NYU-Poly Incubators have an impressive track record with local economic boom having generated more than $250 million in economic activity and 900 jobs since 2009 (NYU-Poly Incubator). Named one of the Top 10 Idea Labs in the U.S. by Worth magazine, the NYU-Poly Incubators—Varick St., DUMBO and NYC-ACRE—are changing the landscape of New York City for the better. As the first NYC-sponsored Incubators and cornerstones of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, the programs are designed to empower entrepreneurs from across NYC and NYU who are creating jobs, launching new technology products and services and diversifying the local innovation ecosystem (NYU-Poly Incubator). Since 2009, the Incubators have served more than 100 companies, with 7 of those acquired by established public and private companies. Program graduates have raised more than $60M in equity funding and economic growth is projected to reach nearly $720 million by 2015 (NYU-Poly Incubator). NYU-Poly’s Incubators leverage support from NYCEDC, NYSERDA, and other government entities, as well as from Trinity Real Estate and Two Trees Management Company, and now Forest City Ratner Companies.

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Terrence Agbi

Polytechnic Institute of New York University Student Priorities