We believe students can change the world through their unique perspective and their limitless creative potential.

Deadlines & Dates of Training

Fall Application Deadline: March 24, 2017 midnight ET
Fall Training Dates: September 5th 2017 – October 20th, 2017. Orientation is on September 5th at 8pm ET; and 10pm ET/8:30am IST for participants in India.

Spring Application Deadline: October 30, 2017 midnight ET
Spring Training Dates: January 2, 2018 – February 15, 2018. Orientation is on January 2nd at 8pm ET; and 10pm ET/8:30am IST for participants in India .

The Role of a University Innovation Fellow

Students are so much more than the customers of higher education. Across the country, our Fellows are working to create lasting institutional change that will increase student engagement with creativity, innovation, design thinking, entrepreneurship and venture creation.

This is why the University Innovation Fellows program was one of the three strategic initiatives spearheaded by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) during a 5-year National Science Foundation grant that was directed by Stanford University and VentureWell. After the Epicenter grant ends in June 2016, the University Innovation Fellows will continue to impact schools around the world as a program of Stanford’s d.school.

We train teams of students to survey the entrepreneurial landscape at their schools and identify opportunities for impact. Past projects include new classes, campus events, freshmen engagement experiences, design challenges, maker spaces and student-run organizations. Our purpose is to cultivate each student as a leader who motivates others to support lasting institutional enhancements that create a vibrant culture of innovation. By being part of a team that participates in the same training, these students can inspire even more peers and provide their campus with a wider breadth of opportunity in regards to innovation and entrepreneurship.

University Innovation Fellows become part of an extraordinary national network and have cited numerous personal benefits from leadership skills to venture development know-how. New candidates attend an Annual Meetup in Silicon Valley where they learn strategies for fostering an innovative ecosystem.

Your Role as a Faculty Sponsor

As a faculty sponsor, we encourage you to play an active role with the Fellows on your campus. It is important to keep the flow of communication open so that your Fellows know they have direct support on campus at the administrative level should they hit roadblocks. We have seen faculty support be quite advantageous to the success of our Fellows. It is essential that students view you as a person of support, a liaison to other faculty champions and administration, and as an advocate for the change your students want to see surrounding innovation and entrepreneurship. In the video below, Mark Mondry, the faculty sponsor of Corey Brugh at the Colorado School of Mines, discusses with Fellows during a Monthly Meetup how he has cultivated a strong faculty-Fellows relationship.

To see more faculty thoughts about the University Innovation Fellows program, visit our Impact Stories page.

Don’t worry, you can select more than one excellent student!

If you are a faculty sponsor struggling to decide on only one student for the University Innovation Fellows program, you don’t have to! We are pleased to announce the continuation of a team-based approach to training Fellows on campus, the Leadership Circle. We have seen single students on campus be extremely successful, so the possibilities teams of students on each campus are endless. In a team of multiple students, the Fellows will be able to develop and implement strategies together, and they will gain greater traction in starting an innovation and entrepreneurship movement. Faculty sponsors may select students for Leadership Circles by putting forth their chosen candidates on the Faculty Sponsorship Application, available on the Application Page. Applications will be evaluated based on the commitment expressed by the institutional leader, the breadth of class years and diversity of student majors.

The Logistics

There are a limited number of seats for each training, and the candidates will undergo a rigorous vetting process by the University Innovation Fellows team and current Fellows. If you are interested in having one Fellow or a team of Fellows in a Leadership Circle on your campus, you will need to do the following:

    • Identify a team of a student or students who meet the criteria for selection. Up to 4 students comprise a Leadership Circle.
    • Secure a travel budget to allow Fellows to attend the Silicon Valley Meetup and at least one Regional Meetup. These trips include airfare and shared hotel costs.
    • Identify a sponsor (this may be you) who will serve as a resource to the Fellow. This role can be served by a faculty, dean, department chair, center director or other member of the institutional staff.

In order to be an institution with a Leadership Circle (up to 4 students), you will need to:

    • Put forth a letter from the College or University President (or Vice President / Vice Chancellor / Vice Provost) requesting the formation of a University Innovation Fellows Leadership Circle.
    • Ensure that each applicant has identified three peers and/or mentors within their community to provide letters of support on their behalf. These three letters are submitted electronically and that link is found after the student application is submitted.

When these items are in place, please request the online registration form: Apply.

*We encourage you to secure additional funds for your students travel expenses. Candidates will be invited to attend our Silicon Valley Meetup at Google and Stanford’s d.school (for the students being trained in the current academic year) and the Regional Meetups (with all active Fellows from all cohorts within your institution’s region).  There is also opportunity for other travel as we represent the University Innovation Fellows program at conferences across the nation; for example, the invitation-only National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges. We foresee a total overall budget between $6,000 – $6,500 ($4,000 program fee + $500/student for travel expenses). Please also note that if you are flying coast to coast for the Silicon Valley Meetup, the estimated budget may increase.