Organization:Epicenter - National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation

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The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) was founded as a National Science Foundation funded STEM center. Epicenter formed in 2012 from a five-year grant awarded to Stanford University and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. In 2016, the Epicenter's grant expired. Epicenter academia and government to build a national entrepreneurship agenda in engineering; conducted research on higher education models; hosted online classes and resources; and formed communities around entrepreneurship in engineering education. Though Epicenter is no longer funded, many of the entrepreneurship and innovation programs that were established have continued on. 

Epicenter believes that teaching engineering students entrepreneurship and innovation as part of their undergraduate education will help them make a real impact. To be prepared to enter the work force and thrive in this ever-changing global economy, they need to be flexible, resilient, creative, empathetic, and have the ability to recognize and seize opportunities. 



The Epicenter's mission is to unleash the entrepreneurial potential of undergraduate engineering students across the United States to create bold innovators with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to contribute to economic and societal prosperity. For more, visit

Activities Offered

During its funded period, Epicenter developed new programmatic opportunities to offer faculty and students engaging ways to support entrepreneurship and innovation learning in undergraduate engineering education. Many of the opprotunites they created have continued on.

Student Support

Epicenter launched the University Innovation Fellows (UIF) program (formerly the Student Ambassadors Program). UI Fellows catalyze innovation on their home campuses by holding events and creating networks that inspire and foster student entrepreneurship. The UIF Program is now backed by the Hasso Plattner Insitute of Design ( at Stanford. 

Faculty Development

Epicenter offered conferences and workshops for engineering faculty that provided exposure to new tools, approaches and methodologies for delivering innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives. Of their initiatives, the Pathways in Innovation program has survived and continued to prosper past the ending of the Epicenter's funding. The intent of the program is to launch a two-year transformation period to help faculty incorporate entrepeneurship and innovation into engineering curricula, and offer extracirricular opprotunities that foster an innovative spirit. While controlled by Epicenter, over 50 schools participated in the program. The program is now backed by VentureWell. 


Through an initiative titled Fostering Innovative Generations Studies (FIGS), the Epicenter examined models for education engineers in entrepreneurial thinking; undergraduate engineering students' entrepreneurial interests, abilities and achievements; and the integration of entrepreneurship activities into "traditional" engineering courses. Their research is now being continued by the Designing Education Lab in Stanford University's School of Engineering


Get Involved

Get involved with Epicenter and join innovative, entrepreneurial engineering faculty and students from around the country at these upcoming events and opportunities.

University Innovation Fellows

Deadline for spring training: October 30, 2017

Training: January 6, 2018 - February 23, 2018

Nominated by their deans and faculty, University Innovation Fellows are engineering student leaders who catalyze innovation on their home campuses by holding events and creating networks that inspire and foster student entrepreneurship. Learn more about how to apply, and read about the students' activities.


OPEN 2018

Held March 22-24, 2018, in Austin, Texas

Co-hosted by VentureWell and Epicenter, this annual conference is the premier event for faculty and university leadership to learn about the latest developments in technology entrepreneurship in higher education and share models and success stories from campuses across the nation. Learn more about the 2018 conference at

Lean Launch Pad Educators Program

Held November 6-7, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts 

This workshop, hosted by VentureWell in collaboration with Epicenter, will challenge faculty to rethink their approach to teaching entrepreneurship. The Lean LaunchPad emphasizes planning before the plan and searching for a business model before execution. Learn more about the program.

Online Resources

Epicenter's series of online courses aims to enhance the educational experience in entrepreneurship and innovation. Read about our recent open online courses Crash Course on Creativity and Design Thinking Action Lab. Epicenter also offers a constantly-growing collection of storiesevents and teaching tools for engineering students and faculty.

Contact Information

Mailing Address
National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation
STVP, Huang Engineering Center, Suite 004
MC 4026
475 Via Ortega
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-4121

For further comments, questions, and inquiries about initiatives please check out

Edited by: Chadler IriarteMichael_MehtaRaeziel_Casas