School:Carnegie Mellon University

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Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is a global research university with more than 13,200 students, 100,000 alumni and 5,000 faculty and staff. 

CMU has been a birthplace of innovation since its founding in 1900.

  • For 2014-2015, the Times Higher Education of London ranked CMU No. 24 in the world, and No. 17 among U.S. universities.
  • In a 2010 Wall Street Journal poll, job recruiters looking for new hires ranked CMU No. 1 in computer science, No. 4 in finance and No. 7 in business. CMU ranked 10 overall.
  • CMU is one of the only 25 universities in the world, 11 in the U.S., invited to join the World Economic Forum's Global University Leaders Forum. Business members of the Forum include the world's top 1,000 companies who drive the economy forward, and who collaborate on shaping global, regional and industry agendas.
  • Thirty-five percent of CMU’s students are from 115 countries outside the U.S., giving the university one of the 10 most international student bodies, by percentage, among four-year U.S. institutions.  
  • CMU has helped to greenlight more than 1,000 companies, creating jobs across the U.S. and internationally, with the highest concentrations in Pittsburgh, Silicon Valley and India.
  • CMU is a world leader in robotics. Software that guides NASA’s Mars rovers and crash avoidance systems in Cadillacs began at CMU. Now, our scientists are developing technology to assist the elderly with household chores, respond to natural or man-made disasters and land a robot on the moon.
  • In 2014, The Hollywood Reporter rated CMU's School of Drama among the world's best with a No. 3 ranking. 
  • CMU attracts award-winning talent. Current and former faculty and alumni are winning top awards in arts, science, and technology.
  • With 100 percent of CMU’s electricity coming from green power sources, the university is ranked as a green power leader by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Promoting Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Carnegie Mellon offers many opportunities for students to explore innovation and entrepreneurship on campus.

Project Olympus

Project Olympus, a Carnegie Mellon innovation center, operates at the earliest stages of the value creation chain. It aims to augment and accelerate the process of moving cutting-edge research and great ideas to development and business stages through licensing, creating start-ups, and through corporate collaboration and strategic partnerships. Olympus provides start-up advice, micro-grants, incubator space, and connections for faculty and students across campus and with the wider regional, national and global business communities.

A maingoal is to create a climate, culture and community to enable talent and ideas to grow, creating a dynamic commercialization eco-system. An initiative of the School of Computer Science, Project Olympus works collaboratively with all members of the university’s Innovation Eco-system. Based within the university’s academic sector, Olympus can easily tap into promising innovations that build on the wealth of university research and student ingenuity. Fostering collaborations, both on and off campus, Olympus leverages considerable community expertise and resources.

Olympus PROBE projects (PRoblem-Oriented Business Explorations) are the centerpiece of the enterprise. Here teams of faculty and students from across campus explore the commercial potential of their research and ideas. Guidance is provided at every stage by the Olympus in-house Entrepreneurs-in-Residence and a network of economic development partners.

McGinnis Venture Competition

The McGinnis Venture Competition brings together Carnegie Mellon's best and brightest student entrepreneurs to compete for $60k in investments. All participants receive crucial interaction with alumni entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, an opportunity to raise capital and valuable feedback about ventures.

Undergraduate Innovation Scholars

This program fosters innovation and entrepreneurship and seeks to increase the number of successful start-up companies initiated by or involving Carnegie Mellon University undergraduate students. 

Scholars complete a two-year program integrating

  • academic coursework
  • work experience in a start-up company
  • networking
  • mentorship--given as well as received

This selective program attracts the next generation of innovative thinkers and doers.

Encouraging Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Actively Supporting the University Technology Transfer Function


Center For Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation (CTTEC) is Carnegie Mellon's Tech Transfer office. CTTEC is responsible for facilitating and accelerating the movement of research and technology out of the university and into the marketplace. Our collaborative and problem-solving approach working with researchers to validate, challenge and extend their workfitswell within the overall goals of commercialization.

CTTEC provides a number of services to the research community at Carnegie Mellon. The most visible of these is the licensing of new technologies developed byfacultywhich in turn, results in benefits to the inventors, the universityand society in general. Additional activities include:

  • Evaluating the commercial potential and patentability of new technologies
  • Managing the intellectual property protection process
  • Marketing and licensing patents, materials, software, and other technologies
  • Providing guidance on open source software licensing
  • Receiving and distributing royalties and other income to inventorsand Carnegie Mellon schools and departments

Other important services provided to the research community include:

  • Providing Research Material to organizations through various Material Transfer Agreements (MTA) or Research Use Licensing
  • Assisting and streamlining the company start-up process

Facilitating University-Industry Collaboration

Engaging with Regional and Local Economic Development Efforts

Related Links

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University Student Priorities

University Innovation Fellow:

Spring 2016:

Lauren Valley