School:University of Cailfornia San Diego

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Campus Overview


The University of California, San Diego is a campus with a rich innovation and entrepeurial environment. Home of the Rady School of Management and Jacobs School of Engineering, students at UCSD, in both undergraduate and graduate programs, have access to a wide variety of workshops, programs, clubs, and other organizations involving innovation and entrepeurial ventures. With over 30,000 undergraduate students, many startups in technology, life sciences, and social innovation are produced by student entrepeneurs. 

Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship

UCSD's students have a prominent campus role in the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. With a number of programs and events geared towards undergraduates, innovation has become a significant part of student culture, both within undergraduate and graduate circles. Through incubator programs, business pitch competitions, and a strong culture of awareness within the campus, students at UCSD are able to participate within the Innovation Ecosystem.

The Moxie Center is UCSD's premier center for undergraduate innovation. The Moxie Center is an undergraduate innovation incubator, guiding student teams through understanding the Lean Startup model and building their start up companies. Entrance to the Moxie Center requires an application and approval by its directors, after which the Center provides a number of valuable resources. With strong ties to the von Leibeg Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Rady School of Managment, the Jacobs School of Engineering, the Moxie Center puts students in touch with important advisors and contacts, in engineering, business, and legal fields. The Center is outfitted with two locations-- a dry lab center, with tables, tools, 3d printers, and more equipment to allow student teams to work on their products and innovations, and a second workspace location, with more whiteboards, meeting rooms, and resources available to Moxie students. 

Business pitch competitions at UCSD's campus are common within the Jacobs school of Engineering and the Rady school of managment. Several annual competitions take place at UCSD; the Trinet Challenge is a collaboratie pitch event between Jacobs, Rady, and Scripps, with the opportunity to win over $15K in funding, and is open to undergraduates; the UCSD e-Challenge has several stages, and gives out more than $100k in funding and resources over its several events, and is also open to undergraduates; the Moxie Center puts on the Zahn Prize every year, open to students within the Moxie Center. Even more small events take place on UCSD's campus, like Moxie's frequent Fastpitch Contests for small cash prizes. The vast majority of the business pitch competitions are open to undergraduate students, but predominantly find participation from graduate student teams. These competitions are open to public viewing, and attract significant attention from local industry repreresentatives, including executives from prominent organizations, like Qualcomm, General Atomics, Evo Nexus, and more. These competitions, in addition to providing participants with potential prize money, serve as excellent mixers and networking events, and create strong ties between campus participators and outside bodies.

Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The Faculty within UCSD are highly involved within the Innovation ecosystem on campus, and can be found leading the programs and centers dedicated to student innovation. Given that position, many faculty innovators are strongly tied to student innovators, and the two groups communicate and collaborate to grow the ecosystem. From professors to other faculty, a large number of entrepreneurial ventures are started by faculty members with graduate student teams, teams that frequently make appearances within UCSD's many business pitch competition. At UCSD's annual Trinet Challenge, undergraduates and Professors compete and pitch on the same stage, and are judged together, sometimes with surprising results. Faculty have access to many of the centers students have access to, like the Von Leibeg Center, where they can be connected to valuable contacts, receive advising from experienced industry leaders, and involve themself in the same entrepreneurial ecosystem that students find themselves in.

The spirit of entrepreneurship within faculty and professors provides encouragment for the students that are involved with them via classes, advisement, or team leadership. Many faculty members that are connected with prominent faculty innovators (leaders of innovation centers, for example) attend student business pitch competitions, and provide feedback to student teams pitching their ideas. This connection between faculty and students fosters growth within the campus innovation ecosystem, as more faculty are able to direct and orient students toward entrepreneurial centers and pathways, like the Moxie center or vLC. 

University Technology Transfer

The UCSD Tech Transfer Office is the largest on-campus resource for IP law services. Open to access by students and faculty, the Tech Transfer Office is frequently referred to by entrepreneurial organizations on campus for assistance in IP protection for student or faculty innovators. Over 180 startup companies have been formed in the region with UCSD TTO-licenced technologies, founded by graduates, faculty, and, occasionally, undergraduates. The Tech Transfer Office has over 30 members of technology transfer staff, and offers patent writing, patent searching, and educational services. The Office also has involvment with a number of organizations in the region, including the largest startup incubator in the region, and several law offices. 

University-Industry Collaboration

UC San Diego and the surrounding collection of companies, organizations, and business groups share a number of strong bonds. UCSD's many entrepreneurial events, like business pitch competitions, Moxie exhibitions, poster sessions, TEDx talks, and entrepreneurship workshops, attract a number of off-campus participants an observers. Participants in UCSD innovation and entrepreneurship events frequenrtly get the opportunity to network and build ties with the greater innovation community around campus. 

The Jacobs School of Engineering and the Rady School of Managment consistenly include industry figures as leaders and participants in their hosted events. The Dean of Engineering invites industry leaders to view exhibitions of engineering student innovation projects, and frequently hosts industry leaders in talks, conventions, and presentations. The Jacobs School also contains the Von Leibeg Center, an entrepreneurship advising center, for students, graduates, faculty, and administrators. Completely open-acess, the vLC is the epicenter of industry connection within Jacobs. Advisors within the vLC are individuals with previous executive experience within the industry, venture capitalists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and concurrent industry figures, and provide valuable industry advising directly to campus innovators. 

Regional/Local Economic Development Efforts

UCSD's numerous programs, within entrepreneurship, innovation, engineering, and business, all share significant ties to regional industries and companies. In many cases, faculty members involved with running certain programs are also members of outside organizations and companies, and contribute their experience within industry to assist on-campus innovation. Major innovation centers on campus, like the vLC or Moxie Center, have official advisors from outside companies, furthering the connection local companies have with innovative stuents on campus. These connections foster communication, and provide advantages to both students and local companies-- the companies talent search on campus, and talented students benefit from the attention from potential employers. UCSD's strong STEM culture and highly recognized entrepreneurial community make it a hub of attention, from established companies and startups alike. 

Campus Programs

Classes and Degree Programs

Rady Business Minor


Eningeering World Health

Rady Entrepeneur Club

I&E Programs

Global TIES

Moxie Center

Entrepeneurship and New Venture Workshop

I&E Resources

Patents and IP- Tech Transfer Office

Advising- Von Leibeg Center

Research and Development-Moxie Center Lab Space

Events and Seminars


Annual TEDxUCSD Event

Business Pitch Competitions

Trinet Challenge

UCSD E-Challenge

Zahn Prize Competition

Fast Pitch Competitions- Moxie Center

Lab Expo

BMES organized Lab Expo Event

Off Campus Resources and Centers


Evo-Nexus Incubator

Jannsen Labs

Tech Coast Angels

Landscape Canvas

Related Links

Campus Student Priorities

University Innovation Fellows:

Uzair Mohammad

Alex Finch

Neil Gandhi

Joyce Sunday

Deepak Atyam

Jack Goodwin

Related links