School:Indiana University Purdue University - Indianapolis

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IUPUI is just starting to break the surface of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E). Though there are independent efforts in this space, including classes, student organiations, and competitions, there is no unified strategy to promote an I&E culture.We have the seeds of I&E sown around our campus in the form of classes and competitions we really don't have a firm basis of innovation. There have been discussions across all levels of the campus community about the best ways to promote I&E, and the changing climate locally, nationally, and globally, coupled with the right people in the right roles across campus indicate that the time is right to take action toward developing I&E culture for the campus.

IUPUI Student Efforts

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Students have been pushing for I&E on campus for several years. It has proven difficult to garner sustained interest. In 2017, a new student organization, The Brain Trust, was formed to provide education and an environment for students to bring ideas into action. The small group of students kickstarted the planning stages amonst faculty to develop a lasting entrepreneurial structure on campus; they hoped to continue to bring students from fragmented backgrounds and disciplines together to focus on singular projects to improve and contribute to IUPUI.

In an effort to initiate the improvement of IUPUI's current innovative mindset, The Brain Trust's first goal was to apply to the University Innovation Fellows program to gain the knowledge and know how to most effectively change the campus landscape. The Brain Trust met our current faculty champion, Youngbuk Hong, who cared deeply about the innovative culture on our champion. The Brain Trust merged with University Innovation Fellows, the and the Visual Communication Design department to form IDEA (Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship, Action) Fellows. Throughout 2019, we have continued to improve the culture of innovation on our campus. We hosted the first Design Sprint working alongside the Mayor's office to help solve issues in our community. We continue to participate in the UIF mission, and countless more students have joined our cause.

Other student groups have started their own contributions to campus unity and innovation. Most notably, Student Talks, an organization dedicated to student discussions similar to that of Ted talks but on a student basis, has carved a path to begin meaningful discussions on campus. This venue could open the way to a more unified and innovative campus. ENACTUS: A national innovation competition recently undergone by students of IUPUI. (See website) 

Campus I&E Efforts

The IDEA (Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship, Action) Project

In the spring of 2018, students from current and past UIF leadership circles partnered with the Herron School of Art + Design's faculty and students in the MFA, Visual Communication Design program to perform design research around the challenge: How might we create a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus? This project, which has the support of campus administration, seeks to understand the problem space and propose solutions.

Faculty Proposal for Developing Culture of Innovation on Campus

In the Fall of 2015 there was an assembly of Deans of the individual schools of study to discuss methods of promoting innovation on campus. The main idea conveyed in the meeting was that the movement had to be student led. Unfortunately this movement proposal fell to the wayside under the red tape of running a university. Fortunately, The Brain Trust was recently made aware of the proceedings of this meeting and is currently following up with the Vice Chancellor of IUPUI in an effort to allocate funds and the people needed to make this proposal a reality.

Think It Make It Lab

The Herron School of Art and Design has recently spent $1.3 million to design a makerspace known as the Think It Make It Lab. This area houses computers equipped with design software, 3D printers, laser engravers and CNC machinery. Although this space is currently mainly reserved for Art and Design as well as Informatics students; the end goal is to make it available to the general IUPUI student population.

JagStart - IUPUI Student Pitch Competition

JagStart is a annual competition where students can pitch their ideas for solving campus, local, national and even world issues. This competition is in elevator pitch format and can be taken on by an individual or a team. It is the hope that this gets students in touch with their more innovative and passionate side. It is a good opportunity to get a small feel of what pitching an idea to an audience is like.

IUFresh Implementation

A University Innovation Fellowship run program for incoming IUPUI freshman students during Summer Bridge, a two-week transition program at the end of the summer.

University Technology Transfer Functions

The Indiana University Research and Technology Corporation (IURTC) is an off-campus organization that serves as IUPUI's technology transfer office. Whether a student's goal is to commercialize his or her product, secure rights on intellectual property, or to patent an invention, the IURTC helps them accomplish their goals.


The technology commercialization process can be started with IURTC by completing an Invention Disclosure Form that is reviewed and copied to the student's department chair, the dean of their school or college, and the chancellor or provost at their campus.


The IURTC has helped multiple undergraduate and graduate student run startups get their feet off the ground including:

  • Assembly: A startup biopharmaceutical company researching treatment for hepatitis B and CDAD
  • Anagin: Another start up developing an over the counter medication for PTSD

Software Licensing and Intellectual Property Rights

The IURTC also assists in helping students secure intellectual property rights for ideas that they develop but are unsure of what steps to take next as well as licensing software to companies.

University-Industry Collaboration

IUPUI is currently collabortating with the Lugar Center for Alternative Energy Resources to do active research on campus. IUPUI's affiliation with the Luger Center for Alternative Energy Research stems from the school's dedication to innovative solutions to enivironmental problems as a research-based institution. In pursuit of alternative energies, student organizations such as The Brain Trust, Sustainability Councils, and SEDS actively attempt to bring student-led initiatives to a public and professional developmental level. Currently in progress is a bid for a self-sustained orbital space station for human life support, programs to increase environment-sustainable awareness in the community, and a project to produce self-contained shipping crate housing solutions for students interested in sustainability, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

Local Economic Development

With its urban location, IUPUI not only has strong interior innovation opportunity, but exteriorly, too.  Leaders of Indianapolis have a vision of Indianapolis becoming the "Silicon Valley of the Midwest."  Connecting IUPUI to this ecosystem will provide students with resources and mentors to jumpstart their projects.

16 Tech Indy

16 Tech is a planned Innovation Community and one of the largest talent attraction, retention and development opportunities in Indianapolis’ history.

The Innovation Community is purpose-built to attract the best talent to collaborate, innovate and commercialize new ideas across a spectrum of advanced industries, including life sciences, technology and advanced manufacturing. The community is built to respond to the way innovation occurs today ─ in open environments where collaboration occurs naturally, while breaking down barriers that sometimes exist in the cross-pollination of ideas across industries.

Innovation communities like 16 Tech draw companies and talent from around the world; they also provide job training and development opportunities for residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. It’s this mix of talent and industry diversity that makes for a truly inclusive and vibrant community for innovation and business and community development.

Like any community, 16 Tech will be a place where people not only work, but live, play and learn. Its millions of square feet of custom, open, modern innovation space is coupled with retail and housing development, generous green space and walking/biking trails for a rich, urban living experience.

-taken from

Other Resources

Verge: Local startup and Entrpreneurship company.

Great Places 2020: A program to make the area next to campus a new thriving part of town including plans for an Entrepreneurship center.

Cyberia: A local makerspace which offers discounts for student I&E.

Related Links

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis Student Priorities

University Innovation Fellows

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