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Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship

At the University of Dayton students are able to develop and master their entrepreneurial/innovative mindset through courses, clubs, and competitions both on and off campus. Engineers foster their I&E mindset in courses starting in their first year with Engineering Innovations, and go on to further develop it in courses such as Project Management, New Tech Venture and their final Senior Design project. University of Dayton also offers a top 20 nationally rank degree in Entrepreneurship based out of the School of Business. There are student run clubs that gather like-minded individuals to focus on innovation and entrepreneurship such as the Maker’s Club, Flyer Innovations, the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization and much more. In competitions such as the Dayton Business Plan Competition (UDBPC), and Ethos Blitz students compete for scholarships, funds, and mentorship to further peruse their ideas.  

Encouraging Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship

University of Dayton faculty members have a wide range of skills and assets that make them invaluable to the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus.Faculty members have two primary avenues for innovation: inside the classroom and through their personal research projects. Innovation in the classroom requires student interaction in place of a purely lecture-based course. Many courses already embody this ideal, but there is still room to grow. Transitioning towards a curriculum that supports innovation and entrepreneurship in the classroom is a gradual process that the current Leadership Circle aims to continue. When it comes to faculty research, the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) is committed to providing innovative and practical solutions that can be serviced to the public through commercialization, collaboration, and entrepreneurship.UDRI strives to create value through working with a variety of groups such as the Air Force Research Lab at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, large businesses, and local non-profits. Additionally, faculty have the option to take paid sabbatical leave of up to a year in order to pursue new avenues of research or find new opportunities which they then bring back to campus to further pursue and exposure interested students and other faculty.

Actively Supporting the University Technology Transfer Function

The University of Dayton currently has a Technology Partnerships Office (TPO) which is part of the Office for Research. The main role of this office is managing university intellectual property (IP) through filing patents and licensing technology that is produced through the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI). The TPO also coordinates research agreements with industry and commercializing university inventions. While this office can provide limited advice to students who are pursing their own ventures, it mainly exists to support university owned IP. 

The college of Engineering has a strong Multidisciplinary Design program for senior Electrical and Mechanical engineering students. While most projects are industry sponsored, the Innovation Center will work with students who are interested in sponsoring their own projects. This two-part course provides students with mentoring through every step of the design process from ideation to prototyping and testing.

There are additional resources available to students pursing projects and ventures on their own time. The Connor Group Foundation Seed Investment Fund is a resource available through the school of Business that can provide seed funding to student ventures. Additionally, Flyer Consulting, which is another resource available through the school of Business, is a great resource to students seeking mentorship. 

Facilitating University-Industry Collaboration

University of Dayton collaborates with a variety of companies, and what makes them unique is the location of major companies located on campus including GE and Emerson Technologies.  These companies' location on campus serve as not only a physical representation of their connection to UD, but also as a method for students to get real world work experience much closer to campus.  Similarly, companies not located on campus also collaborate with the University of Dayton by hiring students for internships and co-ops through our cooperative education program.  In order to facilitate this process, UD hosts a career fair twice a year, in which hundreds of companies attend with the intention of hiring interns, co-ops, as well as full-time employees.  All of these companies have a great repor with the University and its students, which is why several companies return every year. All UD students and alums are welcome to attend the fairs.  Also, companies that aren't able to attend these career fairs host workshops, meet-and-greets, and on-campus interviews throughout the year which all students are welcome to attend.  As you can see, University of Dayton prides itself on preparing its students for post-graduation, and its collaboration with industry is a major reason why that's possible. 

Another major connection between the University and Industry is through the School of Engineering's Innovation Center. This center is tailored to Senior Design projects, where over 200 external industry clients have prompted real-world challenges for groups of students to "solve" over the course of a year. These solutions have reached client expectations 85% of the time because of the investment UD makes for legal, business, feasability counseling. Other innovation and design course have access to the Innovation Center. It provides spaces for collaboration space, workshop space, machine tools, testing equipment, and financial/legal/business resources.

In the last decade, UD and the City of Dayton have rejuviated their focus on the importance of entreprenuership and innovation for the purpose of econmic growth in the city. One future project is renovating the Dayton Arcade to create an "Innovation Hub" downtown for students and local companies in the Dayton area.  Another future project is the transformation of 38-acres of land adjacent to UD's campus. The unversity has yet to reveal the plans for this property, but they informed students that it would be a "place that builds on Dayton's history of innovation and entrepreneurship and can propel the region's next wave of jobs and opportunity."

Engaging with Regional and Local Economic Development Efforts

The University's latest economic development project was the decision to purchase the abandoned Dayton Fairgrounds land near our campus. They made this purchase with Premiere Health, and they have been involving the community of Greater Dayton in its decisions for the future of the property.

The City of Dayton Department of Economic Development offers a few different services to promote the growth of small businesses in downtown Dayton. They have a Small Business Advocate on staff who consults with start-ups and helps them get all of the necessary permits. The Department also recently created the Accelerate Dayton program that provides $10,000 awards to one start-up in each quadrant of the city per year.

Other organizations that support local economic development of small companies and students include the Dayton Diode, a for profit company, and the Dayton Development Coalition, whose board of trustees includes CEOs from local companies such as Fuyao Glass and the Kettering Health Network, as well as the University's President Spina.

Landscape Canvas Spreadsheet - Spring 2018

Landscape Canvas Presentation - Spring 2018

Related Links

'University of Dayton'

University of Dayton Student Priorities

University Innovation Fellows

Spring 2017:

David Fink

Khalilah Manson

Jake Tersigni

Madalyn Beban

Spring 2016:

Cameron Crasto

Suzy Dorsey

Reid Fuente

Daniela Lopez

Devin Spatz