School:University of Oregon

From University Innovation Fellows
Jump to navigation Jump to search


The University of Oregon is a public research University located in Eugene Oregon and founded in 1876. Our University is a rated very high on research activity and is the main flagship public university in Oregon. The institution is divided into eight individual schools including: school of architecture and allied arts (AAA), the college of arts and sciences, Charles H Lundquist College of Business, College of Education, Robert D Clark Honors College, School of Journalism and Communication, School of Law, School of Music and Dance. The university has multiple research institutes which include the areas of molecular biology, neuroscience, optics and materials.

In the fall of 2018, the UO has broken ground for the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact which aims to provide highly interdisciplinary, world-class science experience to students as well as additional training in innovation, communication and entrepreneurialism.

One of the goals of the campus is to face global challenges in a well designed space that supports interactive discovery, leading to research that seeds start-up companies. Additionally the UO has recently offered the Product Design Program, which allows students to learn theories and applied practices of art, architecture and design to creative collaborative opportunities across disciplines. The program is still very new and growing but is deeply rooted in hands on learning where students can learn to develop projects from a personal, local and global perspective.

Currently, the entrepreneurship program at Oregon is driven by a mission to educate, inspire and empower the future of entrepreneurs by instilling in students the characteristics of innovation, initiative, accountability and dedication. The Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE) combines a foundation of theory with hands-on learning that fosters the mindset of a successful entrepreneur. Oregon believes its students are very career oriented, networked and inspired individuals. 

A majority of the curricula that are defined and structured in LCE are: recognizing and evaluating business opportunities, venture planning and implementation, developing and commercializing new products, legal, financial and operational considerations for startups. Links to our landscape canvas are below: 

Promoting student innovation and entrepreneurship

Programs, Opportunities, Organizations: 

1) UO Entrepreneurship Club

Background: The Entrepreneurship Club was started to promote entrepreneurship through connecting students with local entrepreneurs and business proffessionals. Today the club is going dormant as attendance and member engagment have been dropiing significantly. This came to our attention when leadership possitions opened and no showed any interest in running.
How it works: Currently the club meets bi weekly and hosts a speaker and or workshop in the Lunquist College of Business.
Mission: "Our mission is to facilitate the development of young proffessionals through the entrepreneurial perspective."

2) Alpha Kappa Psi, Professional Business Fraternity

Background: Alpha Kappa Psi is the oldest and most well-known business fraternity in the US. It was founded in 1904 by students at New York University.There are 223 chapters worldwide with over 14,400 members
How it Works: Weekly chapter meetings with additional hours of community service, fundraising, and professional development hours. Chapter activities allow our members to sharpen skills which lead to success in the business world.
Mission: Providing resources for enhancing the educational experience of future business leaders.

3) UO Product Design Program

Background: This program provides a strong grounding in the use, invention and production of consumer products. It integrates the theories and applied practices of art, architecture, and design disciplines, creating collaborative opportunities across campus with the business school and anthropology and chemistry departments.
How it works: Students can get a BA or BS in Material and Product Studies in Eugene and a fifth year BFA in Product Design in Portland.
Mission: Provide students with an in-depth knowledge about materials, idea generation, prototyping and manufacturing in order to allow students to design a better world.
Entrepreneurial Tie: In order to provide students with real world opportunities, many studios tie in a competition element allowing students to pitch their designs to industry professionals. In the past competitions have involved Wilsonart Chair designs, which were highlighted at the ICFF, a user interface challenge and a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation competition, etc.

4) Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship

Background: LCE offers real world experiences and mentoring students through investment competitions, consulting projects, internships, and the Venture Launch Pathway Program.
How it Works: Based on student’s area of interest, background and commitment, LCE admits them into one of four centers.
Mission: Experiential learning, curriculum to harness opportunity and strong investor and alumni network.

5) Oregon New Venture Championship

Background: Oregon’s New Venture Championship (NVC) is the original six-round business competition for graduate students. This movement was started at the University of Oregon and provides an opportunity to translate scholastic experiences into real world opportunities.
How it works: Students get feedback from judges to help turn their business plan into a successful venture and get the chance to capture the attention of angel investors to get their business of the ground.
Mission: NVC wants to develop skilled and knowledgeable entrepreneurial leaders who will successfully confront the ever-changing business environment with creative and innovative solutions.
Competitors: MBA students from the top business programs worldwide are invited to compete. Students have come from the US and places like Hong Kong and Thailand. 
Outcome: In 2013 the 1st place prize went to students from Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration for a prebiotic syrup. In 2005, a UO student group placed 3rd for a battery replacement for transceivers and sensors.

6) TechStars Startup Weekend Eugene

Background: In just 54 hours, this event allows people to pitch ideas and learn how to create a real company, meet the best mentors, investors, co-founders, and sponsors who are eager to help others get startups going.
How it works: Students, fellow community entrepreneurs, faculty and more are invited to this 3-day event to take an idea, pitch the idea, then build the idea to best of your ability in the 3 days. Then the final presentation is given to the panel of judges.
Mission: The mission is to learn, test your ideas, and make new connections at the event. And if things go really well - this is where these ideas can be taken seriously and potentially transformed into an actual business.

7) UO Innovation Summit

Background: The Innovation Summit was founded by a group of students in early 2017. The first ever Summit was held on campus on October 27th 2017 where 400+ attendees and over 90 different events accumulated for a one day festival.
How it works: Any community and UO member can submit a proposal to showcase their work or share their skills during the one day innovation festival. The event is open to all students and to the public. People can go to any event on the schedule throughout the day.
Mission: To spread innovation and entrepreneurial thinking all across the UO campus and throughout Eugene by bringing a variety of events and activities across departments.

8) Spark Grants

Background: A brand new, small funding opportunity of $500 to get a project off the ground. Starting Fall 2017.
How it works: Any student can submit an idea with a purpose and a plan. Students then have 6 weeks to develop and prototype their project. The students will have to present their product at the end of the 6 weeks. Possibly have their idea funded further with Rainmaker Grants
Mission: Remove a barrier to starting a project.

9) Rainmaker Grants

Background: Five yearly grants of $5000 for developed ideas and projects.
How it works: Students will need to demonstrate a well constructed and planned project or prototype. Ideally stemming from a Spark Grant.

10) Civil War Shark Tank

Background: An annual competition based on the TV show 'Shark Tank', University of Oregon and Oregon State University students compete to pitch their ideas in front of judges and an audience. A $1000 first prize and a place at the Willamette Angel Conference where startups compete for seed money. Also included is an elevator pitch competition.
How it works: Students submit a 2 minute and 5 page executive summary and the best are chosen to represent the school at the event. At the event students must defend their idea and be well prepared for criticism.

11) Entrepreneurship Club

Background: The current Entrepreneurship Club is slowly declining in attendance and engagment from current UO students. The club has a speaker come in every meeting to discuss business related topics while also providing inspiration and networking opportunities.
How it works: The club has introduced a bi-weekly newsletter than helps students find underground awesome internships, interesting articles/videos/quotes/podcast episodes our exec team has ran across that week. We are looking into introducing a podcast to the club where we reach out to interesting people/alumni that our members what to listen to, members would send in questions mixed with exec team questions then we'd record and share to the club and the community. Potential name for podcast is "All Innovators Podcast".
Mission: Connect the school (all departments) through entrepreneurship/innovation and try and make students/faculty understand that we are all entrepreneurs/innovators.

12) Duck Ventures

Background: Duck Ventures is a group focused on teaching and educating students about early-stage equity investments, venture capital, and angel investing.
How it works: Duck Ventures is partnered with various firms and conferences in the state of Oregon. These firms outsource market research and due dilligence to Duck Ventures students to help minimize the usually lengthy time it takes for firms to conduct dilligence on a startup that is seeking potential investment. It's also a great way for studens to get directly involved with company valuations, term sheets, and investor relations, gaining real-world experience while doing meaningful work with firms.

12) Job Shadow Program

Background: The Job Shadow Program is an opportunity for pre-business students to explore a career by observing professionals—many of whom are alumni of the Lundquist College—during a typical day on the job. 
How it works: The program pairs you with a host professional and provides training to help you make the most of the experience 

UO Undergraduate Courses

1) Intro to Entrepreneurship BA199

Background: The Introduction to Entrepreneurship class exposes students to the concepts, tools and principles of entrepreneurship.
How it works: The class explores the local entrepreneurship ecosystem (both campus and Eugene/Springfield) by touring facilities (makerspaces, accelerators, etc) and talking with local startup founders to learn about the resources available to entrepreneurs. Students will have the opportunity to individually build their own entrepreneurial mindset by developing a project plan that will either 1) advance a business idea; 2) advance an internship or job opportunity; 3) or create a club or event on campus.

2) Green Product Design CH114

Background: Recently, the UO now offers a one hundred level green chemistry course that is open to all majors. The class hosts about 50-60 students. How it works: Throughout the class, the professor leads the students into hands on group work to develop ideas using Green Chemistry. THe class focus changes per term. For example, fall of 2017, the class focused on green wearables where teams were formed to developed a greener wearable using an aspect of technology.
Mission: To expose students to green principles and to start thinking about innovative ways to create a more sustainable world.

Encouraging faculty innovation and entrepreneurship

Oregon is a highly research oriented campus, with faculty working on their own projects of interest. Within the product design program, faculty are developing personal design projects in order to stay actively engaged in the rest of the design world. Within the Science departments faculty gain access to software and lab equipment for projects and research.

1) Faculty Seed Grants

Background: Faculty with ideas but lacking funding looked to the school for assitant 
Mission: To give faculty access to funding for their projects while helping expand levels of innovation across campus
Outcome: Grant winning Faculty can be funded with up to $2,500 dollars for their projects every term.

2) Green Product Design Network

Background: The Green Product Design Network began with a group of faculty leaders at UO with interests and expertise in green chemistry, product design, business and journalism and community. *Mission: Take ideas from invention to the marketplace in a way that has a more expedient and lasting impact on society.
Outcome: Selected as one of five key projects that the UO is supporting and highlighting as a major strategic initiative. 

3) Conferences

Background: Conferences are hosted at the Business College to unite faculty in business from around the world. For example, in 2013, the Lunquist College’s biennial Financial Research Conference drew experts from Shanghai, London and New York to meet up in Eugene.
Mission: Focus on institutional investors and the asset management industry to benefit presenters and audience members in complementary ways. Belief that research is a collaborative process so there is a strong emphasis on collaboration where researchers can present and discuss their work with peers in face to face interactions = Actively supporting the university technology transfer function.

4) Innovation Partnership Services

Background: Innovation Partnership Services ( formerly known as Technology Transfer), is a part of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. IPS  partners with UO innovators, the public and industry to accelerate the adoption of innovations derived from UO research and education Mission: as a fundamental extension of UO’s teaching and public benefits missions, IPS strives to employ a diversity of innovation management pathways to connect University research to societal benefit.
What they do: moves innovation into public use by identifying and creating channels for relationships between university innovators and industry, for investment and for development of user communities. Services include: patent filing, confidentiality/material transfer agreements, and helping UO innovators navigate federal and state policy.

Facilitating University-Industry Collaboration

The example below highlights how Oregon puts efforts on interdisciplinary research and teaching and always tries to create deep relationships and partnerships with important key players in education and research.

1) Shared Research and Student Training in Gabon

Background: The UO entered a groundbreaking research and training partnership with African nation, Gabon. The agreement will result in the creation of the Gabon-Oregon Transnational Research Center on Environmental Development *Headquartered in Eugene, OR and Libreville, Gabon. The center represents a new partnership that will enable developed and developing countries to benefit equally from shared research and two way training of students from each nation.
Mission: Effort to put priority on interdisciplinary research and teaching. Need to reinforce training programs and establish strong and deep partnerships mimicking those created at Oregon.
Leaders: UO-led, five-campus Oregon African Studies Consortium: Oregon State University, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland State University, Willamette University and partner with Gabonese Government to fulfill its vision of turning the country into a laboratory for a new model of development for Africa.


Background: Driven-U is a UO student startup, founded by Micah Miller in 2016.
How it works:It’s an online resource that provides university students with connections to other like-minded driven students. If a student is looking for someone to program their app or need someone to design their logo but they don’t know who to ask, is a geat site to connect with people who may be able to help.
Mission:To connect students with people with the essential skills they need to help create what they want.

3) Product Design Launch Lab

Background:The Product Design Launch Lab is a collaboration between the College of Design and the University of Oregon Innovation Hub, a flexible space for meeting, creating, collaboration, and networking in downtown Eugene.
How it works: The Product Design Launch Lab offersa set of design studios and design services that connects UO’s expertise and students in product design with entrepreneurs inside and outside of the university.

Engaging with regional and local economic development efforts

The example below highlights how University of Oregon likes to work closely with other Oregon universities in order to help the greater community of Oregon reach its potential. Initiatives are very interdisciplinary and collaborative.


Background: Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN) connects government, academic and industry resources in the community. There is both a RAIN Eugene and a RAIN@UO branch.
Mission: advance the formation, growth, and retention of tech-based startups in the South valley in order to triple the current rate of new tech business formation and job creation.
Goal: Address five key ingredients that transform innovative ideas into viable thriving business for the state of Oregon #Market opportunities #High quality ideas #Management teams #Access to investment capital #Strong community connections.
Outcome: By funding RAIN, Oregon (as a state) will enable these key ingredients by mobilizing and expanding the assets of the South Valley region: nearly $400M of combined research activity at Oregon State, University of Oregon and linked regional economic development initiatives. This will grow the ecosystem of entrepreneurial talent and tech based companies
  • RAIN Eugene: Offers a 12 week accelerator program for new businesses and also part of the RAIN innovation network.
  • RAIN@UO: Allows for students and faculty to learn more about innovation and entrepreneurship on campus and in the community. === 

2) Fertilab Thinkubator

Background: Fertilab Thinkubator is an incubator for start-ups, a co-working space and a place for events held for those interested in entrepreneurship and innovation in town. There is a location in Eugene and in Springfield.
Mission: Promote entrepreneurship and innovation as a way to develop the economy and the workforce.
Goal: Build the next generation of businesses in Eugene.
Outcome: Promoting entrepreneurship in Eugene and enhancing the collaboration in the start-up community.

Related Links

University of Oregon Student Priorities

U of Oregon Landscape Canvas Spring 2016

University Innovation Fellows

Spring 2019
Maya Lazaro
Michelle Sconce Massaquoi
Nisha Sridhar
Raj Shah

Spring 2018
Corina Pigg
Adam Faris
David Freiburger
Elliot Lofts

Spring 2017
Kaheawai Kaonohi
Hunter Sudek

Spring 2016
Nick Capaldini
Susan Cooper
Brandon Crockett
Adam Jansons
David Philiips

Spring 2014
Claire Sakaguchi