Pathways to Innovation Program Announces 2016 Call for Proposals


(June 24, 2015) — The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is accepting proposals for its Pathways to Innovation Program.

The Pathways to Innovation Program is designed to help institutions fully incorporate innovation and entrepreneurship into undergraduate engineering education. The program is run by Epicenter, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell.

Ongoing innovation is required to maintain America’s global competitiveness and address pressing problems. Engineering is the foundation of much of that innovation. Faculty and administrators participating in Epicenter’s Pathways program are taking on this challenge and leading their universities into a new era of engineering education that prepares students to tackle big problems and thrive in this ever-changing economy.

Participating schools assemble a team of faculty and academic leaders to assess their institution’s current offerings, design a unique strategy for change, and lead their peers in a transformation process. Program teams receive access to models for integrating entrepreneurship into engineering curriculum, custom online activities, guidance from a community of engineering and entrepreneurship faculty, and membership in a national network of schools with similar goals.

Thirty-seven U.S. schools are currently participating in the program. Their projects include innovation certificates and majors, maker and flexible learning spaces, first-year and capstone courses, faculty fellows programs, and innovation centers. Several cross-institutional collaborations have resulted from the first group of schools, and participants are able to connect regularly to share best practices and resources.

Epicenter will select up to 14 schools from the current round of proposals, and accepted institutions will begin work in November 2015. Any U.S. college or university with an engineering degree program may apply. Undergraduate engineering must be a primary focus of the work to be done as part of the program, but Epicenter also welcomes proposals for interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary initiatives.

“Pathways institutions are transforming the way undergraduate engineering students are learning. Thanks to their work, young engineers will graduate with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to solve the world’s big problems,” said Liz Nilsen, co-leader of the Pathways to Innovation Program.

“The 37 schools currently in the Pathways program have already made an enormous impact on undergraduate engineering at their home institutions,” said Victoria Matthew, co-leader of the program. “We are now looking for additional institutions with passion and zeal to help continue this work and to transform engineering education.”

Proposals are due September 25, 2015.

Epicenter staff will host two online info sessions about the program and application process on July 1 and August 4. Info session registration links, program details, and the Call for Proposals are available at


About Epicenter:

The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell. Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. To do this, Epicenter helps students combine their technical skills, their ability to develop innovative technologies that solve important problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. Epicenter’s three core initiatives are the University Innovation Fellows program for undergraduate engineering students and their peers; the Pathways to Innovation Program for institutional teams of faculty and university leaders; and the research program Fostering Innovative Generations Studies, which contributes to national knowledge of entrepreneurship and engineering education. Learn more and get involved at

About Stanford University:

At Stanford University, the Epicenter collaboration is managed by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), the entrepreneurship center in Stanford’s School of Engineering. STVP delivers courses and extracurricular programs to Stanford students, creates scholarly research on high-impact technology ventures, and produces a large and growing collection of online content and experiences for people around the world. Visit us online at

About VentureWell:

VentureWell was founded in 1995 as the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) and rebranded in 2014 to underscore its impact as an education network that cultivates revolutionary ideas and promising inventions. A not-for-profit organization reaching more than 200 universities, VentureWell is the leader in funding, training, coaching and early investment that brings student innovations to market. Inventions created by VentureWell grantees are reaching millions of people in more than 50 countries and helping to solve some of our greatest 21st century challenges. Visit to learn how we inspire students, faculty and investors to transform game-changing ideas into solutions for people and the planet.


Media contact:
Laurie Moore
Communications Manager, Epicenter
(650) 561-6113

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