Innovation Certificate






















The application window is closed. It will open during the Fall 2015 semester.

This is a selective program, with space limited to 25 students. The application will ask students to write short reflective essays, and to engage with iFoundry leadership for an admissions interview.

Questions? Contact us!

Karen Hyman, iFoundry Associate Director
kkhymanatillinois [dot] edu


Amy Koester, iFoundry Program Coordinator
akoesteratillinois [dot] edu


What is the iFoundry/TEC Innovation Certificate?

The Innovation Certificate will welcome applications from all first-year students starting in November 2014. It is designed for specially-selected first-year engineering students whose interests and abilities are in entrepreneurship, innovative product design, and transformative technical products and services. Through a small set of special courses, coaching opportunities, and community, the IC will help students who wish to develop their creative and innovative capabilities that enable them to apply their engineering knowledge and talents to the problems that can have the most impact on our society.

Purposeful Courses

A set of courses have been designed that encourage engineers to become more innovative and to generate ideas that have the potential to be breakthrough new products. These courses, 12 hours total, can be integrated into the typical engineering students’ curriculum. The courses and experiences for the IC students will include:

  • An in-depth course on finding and understanding customer problems and creating solutions to meet those needs

  • A course on creativity, including habits of mind

  • Various engineering projects with a clear deliverable that solve a real customer problem

  • A course on entrepreneurship

  • Coaching and support for the IC community of students to help them develop problem solving, modeling and prototyping, and other business leadership skills.

You'll be coached by phenomenal people

Each student accepted into this special program will meet with a faculty/staff coach individually at least once every semester to explore their ideas and progress to identify their individual focus and to help them achieve their personal goals. In addition, the program will offer some group coaching and discussion sessions to build participants’ personal development, leadership, creativity and innovation.

You'll share your work and ideas

Structured sessions will focus on aspirations, innovative ideas, and personal challenges. The program will build a supportive community, and students will learn and teach one another as the IC community grows. The initial year will offer structured experiences, and we expect that the students will take the initiative to collaborate in the second and third years in the program. At the end of each academic year, all IC students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their ideas.

Industry involvement

The IC has vital out-of-classroom experiences to supplement course work, collaborations with established innovators, product dissection experiences, and experiences with creative and innovative groups that will enrich and extend the in-classroom work. Companies that will participate with and support the IC include: Autodesk, Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, Inventables, Procter & Gamble, State Farm, and others.

IC Course Schedule


Acceptance & Workshop Series

Reading and Idea Generation

ENG 298, User Oriented Collaborative Design* & Innovation Coaching

ENG 333, Creativity, Innovation, Vision* & Innovation Coaching

Modest stipends to pursue ideas

ENG 315, Learning in Community (LINC)* & Innovation Coaching

TE/ENG 298, High Tech Ventures: From Idea to Enterprise* & Innovation Coaching

Modest stipends to pursue ideas

Departmental Senior Design Course*, integrated with your personal innovative project & Innovation Coaching

Innovation Coaching & Product Demonstration

* Designates For-Credit Courses


Meet some of our Innovation Certificate Students!