Industry and organization partnerships are at the heart of the da Vinci Center’s Product Innovation programs. Our sponsors benefit by engaging with our talented cross-disciplinary student teams who deliver unique product solutions over the course of one or more, fifteen week semesters, and our students benefit by engaging with real world development challenges. Through gifts to the VCU da Vinci Center’s Product Innovation programs, project sponsors financially support these projects and the work of the da Vinci Center so that we can continue to develop unique, innovative learning experiences for the VCU community and beyond.

Sponsor benefits include the following:

  • Low cost approach to discover unique solution perspectives on a pressing company issue.
  • Collaborate with a cross-disciplinary team of da Vinci-trained undergraduate or graduate students from backgrounds in Arts, Business, Engineering, and Humanities & Sciences.
  • Connect with talented students and identify promising interns and productive future employees.
  • Engage in a unique two way learning experience.
  • Guide and hear first-hand innovation research by the VCU da Vinci Center.
  • Play a key role in preparing students for the 21st century workforce.

What can you expect from the students?

  • Students are required to apply and interview to be admitted to any da Vinci program, so you can expect students to be invested, engaged, and contributing members of the project team who take personal ownership in project success
  • 75 hours+ per student per semester on the project team (average of 600 hours per team)
  • Primary and secondary research, analysis, design and creative problem-solving
  • Design Thinking and Human-Centered Design approach
  • Maintain detailed records of all research and processes
  • Ability to communicate effectively with teammates, advisors, mentors and external partners.
  • Clearly present project progress at midterm and semester’s end.

What do we need from you?

  • Project proposal: Describes problem or unmet need
  • A sponsor liaison to meet for at least one hour bi-weekly with their project team for mentoring and guidance (approximately 10–12 hours per semester for meetings and progress updates).
  • If required for primary research: safety training, HIPPA certification, internal or partnered contacts to identify potential candidates for user-testing, etc.
  • Coordinate other parties interested in providing feedback on student recommendations at midterm and final presentations.
  • Provide input to course instructor on individual and team performance.

Levels of Sponsorship

For more information on levels of sponsorship for da Vinci Center projects, please contact Allison Schumacher, Director of Academic Alchemy, at; 804-828-7188.

Product Innovation Project Application

Prospective sponsors should contact Allison Schumacher, Director of Academic Alchemy, at to talk about a potential project fit and learn more about our programs and offerings. We will gladly arrange a meeting or phone call, to answer any questions you may have. This conversation is not require, but encouraged.

The Google form below should be used submit official project proposals for a cross-disciplinary project in the VCU da Vinci Center’s Undergraduate Certificate in Product Innovation culmination course (INNO 460: Product Innovation Project) or to the Master of Product Innovation project course (INNO 590: da Vinci Project). You may submit more than one proposal, but please use a separate submission form for each proposal. If you would like to update the proposal, simply make another submission--the most recently submitted version will be taken as the final proposal. We will follow-up with you if more information is needed to review your submission and to communicate the status of your proposal. Please submit Fall 2018 semester proposals no later than August 1st, 2018. 


Past sponsors include:

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