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Entrepreneurship and Engineering

The DEL’s research on entrepreneurship in engineering is conducted with support from the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation, or Epicenter. Epicenter is funded by the National Science Foundation (Grant No. 1125457) and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance). Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society.

Stanford University Professors Sheri Sheppard, Tom Byers, and Kathy Eisenhardt are the Principal Investigators of the Epicenter initiative.

Over the past three years, the Epicenter Research Team has been conducting a set of large, multi-method, national studies of entrepreneurship in engineering collectively known as the Fostering Innovative Generations Studies, or FIGS. As part of FIGS, the team is pursuing three major Research Questions (RQs). Each of these questions addresses an important gap in existing knowledge about entrepreneurship education for engineers:

  • an examination of how entrepreneurship programs for engineers work from the ground up (RQ1);
  • an exploration of how engineering students’ innovation and entrepreneurial interests evolve over time and are influenced by educational and workplace experiences (RQ2); and
  • a study of how engineering students and faculty perceive and learn entrepreneurial content in traditional technical environments (RQ3).

Research Community and Advisors