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 solution product solutions 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 use this form to submit a proposal 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 need 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 spring semester proposals no later than December 15th, 2017.
  • Select which da Vinci Program(s) you would like us to consider this project proposal for. Please select all that apply.
  • Please enter the first and last name of the person we should contact to discuss this proposal.
  • Please enter the email address of the person we should contact to discuss this proposal.
  • Please enter the phone number of the person we should contact to discuss this proposal.
  • If yours is a large organization, please include the name of organization as well as the sponsoring subunit, if appropriate.
  • Who will meet with the team, answer questions and emails, and supply addition information during the course of the project? Please include: name, title, phone and email.
  • Who is the senior most executive in your organization who will authorize the project, if other than the sponsor liaison? Please include: name, title, phone and email.
  • Please provide a name appropriate for this project / problem.
  • Please provide more detail about the project—a problem statement, desired goal(s) for the project and nature of the question(s) to be addressed. Note: Only students who have signed requested legal documentation will see this description and project goals.
  • Please provide a one to two sentence project description that, if selected, may be shared publicly on the da Vinci Center’s website.
  • Please provide a brief description of any organizational or environmental factors that may support, impede or confound the project:
  • Some students have jobs or internships with companies that might raise conflict of interest concerns. Are there any companies whose employees (students) you would wish to exclude as to avoid a conflict of Interest?
  • Please briefly describe any information you may share with the student team in support of this project. Note: Please do not include any proprietary information here, only high-level titles and descriptions.

Past sponsors include:

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