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Work in progress — Preparing engineers to solve global problems through technology and entrepreneurship

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3 Author(s)

This paper highlights innovative programs in which students and faculty members develop new technologies that benefit poor people, and deploy them through economically sustainable business models. Since 2006, the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance has awarded forty-one grants totaling $1.8 million through the Sustainable Vision program. These initiatives, which are being developed and implemented by U.S. faculty and their students, have operated in twenty-six countries to date. All of the technologies are designed to improve quality of life and/or alleviate poverty, through increasing the accessibility or affordability of renewable energy, clean water, medical devices, improved agricultural tools, and shelter. Projects are working toward commercialization by developing sustainable business models to ensure that their technologies have maximum benefit for the intended users. Descriptions of two exemplary projects, including their accomplishments and challenges in the areas of technology, culture, and scalable model development are provided, illustrating faculty and student efforts to develop and implement engineering solutions that address basic human needs.

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 2010 IEEE

Date of Conference:

27-30 Oct. 2010