From developing a special spoon holder for people struggling with cerebral palsy to redesigning a hand operated water pump for leg operation in developing countries, Cal Poly Pomona students and faculty are working on socially responsible, entrepreneurial projects thanks to a new grant. The university received $25,200 from the National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) to provide seed money for the university's students and faculty to develop commercially viable, entrepreneurial projects that directly benefit local communities.
With the help of the NCIIA, engineering and business school educators are providing students the opportunity for meaningful community involvement through participation in carefully selected, socially responsible, team-oriented projects with the potential for commercial adaptation.
Twenty-five students will be drawn from a variety of engineering disciplines to participate in an undergraduate seminar and optional two-quarter design course sequence offered by the College of Engineering. Students participate in multidisciplinary teams for a period of at least one academic year. They begin by visiting community partner sites, identifying projects, and generating a thorough market study, feasibility analysis, and concept design during the undergraduate seminar. During the two-quarter design course sequence, students evaluate possible designs from the seminar and develop a functional prototype, then test and modify before making a formal presentation of the concept and prototype to the community partner. NCIIA funding is made available to teams with projects that show commercial potential.
NCIIA fosters invention, innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education as a way of creating innovative, commercially viable and socially beneficial businesses and employment opportunities in the United States. NCIIA is supported by Lemelson Foundation.
The proposal for funding was submitted by College of Engineering professors Jawaharlal Mariappan and Ravi Vilupanur, and College of Business Administration professor Stanley Abraham.