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Creating An Innovation Continuum In The Engineering Curriculum: Epics And The Epics Entrepreneurship Initiative

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Learning from Entrepreneurship Programs

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.368.1 - 11.368.12



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Paper Authors

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Nancy Clement Purdue University

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Edward Coyle Purdue University

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Joy Krueger Purdue University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Creating an Innovation Continuum in the Engineering Curriculum: EPICS and the EPICS Entrepreneurship Initiative

1. Introduction Engineering Projects in Community Service – EPICS – is an engineering design program that operates in a service-learning context1,2. EPICS students earn academic credit for their participation in design teams that solve technology-based problems for not-for-profit organizations in the local community. The teams are: multidisciplinary – drawing students from across engineering and around the university; vertically-integrated – maintaining a mix of freshmen through seniors each semester; and long-term – each student participates in a project for up to seven semesters. The continuity, technical depth, and disciplinary breadth of these teams enable them to deliver products of significant benefit to the community. Many of these products have significant commercial potential. They thus provide a compelling context for the EPICS teams that developed them to learn about entrepreneurship and commercialization. The EPICS Entrepreneurship Initiative3 (EEI) provides this learning opportunity. Its goals are to: • Create opportunities for EPICS students to learn about and experience entrepreneurship. • Enable EPICS teams and their project partners in the community to identify, protect, and benefit from the intellectual property they create together. • Spread the benefits of EPICS products to all communities. • Develop a model of entrepreneurship that can be emulated by other institutions.

These goals, when combined with those of the EPICS program, imply that EPICS supports an Innovation Continuum: an EPICS team works with its project partner in the community to define, design, develop, test, deploy, and potentially commercialize products that are of significant benefit to the community. In the following sections of this paper, we provide details of the programs and facilities that have been created to support the potential commercialization of EPICS-developed products. In Section 2, we describe the EEI’s relationship with EPICS and the resources that have been developed to support the EEI. In Section 3, we describe in detail the EPICS Idea-to-Product® (I2P®) Competition. It provides a unique, highly mentored experience for EPICS students that wish to determine the commercial potential of their product.

2. The EPICS Entrepreneurship Initiative and its Relationship with the EPICS Program

The EEI supports the entrepreneurship-related aspects of the Innovation Continuum within EPICS by: • Providing EPICS students and advisors with educational opportunities in the areas of intellectual property, patents and copyrights, and tools and techniques for searching patent and market databases. These opportunities include: (a) lectures by legal experts on various aspects of intellectual property, from patents to the many options for copyrighting software; (b) hands-on skills session in searching patent databases to determine other intellectual

Clement, N., & Coyle, E., & Krueger, J. (2006, June), Creating An Innovation Continuum In The Engineering Curriculum: Epics And The Epics Entrepreneurship Initiative Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--386

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