A partnership has been created at Virginia Tech to help forge a distinct path from student creativity to innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology is partnering with the Pamplin College of Business to expand and refine efforts to prepare students for entrepreneurial opportunities. This collaboration will serve as a key component of Virginia Tech’s growing innovation ecosystem.

The Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology’s faculty fellows and students have been creating new educational models and research projects that meet at the convergence of  science, engineering, art, and design, while Pamplin’s Apex Systems Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship supports programs across the university that foster new venture development based on innovative technologies.

“With the complementary missions of these organizations, combining efforts is the first step to creating a unique collaboration,” said Ben Knapp, director of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology.

“We have worked to create new classes that encourage elementary, middle, high school, and college students to think from both a design and computational perspective and consider how they can use these skills in the world. Pamplin brings strong partnerships and new venture development. Together, we can give industry what they have been demanding from academia.”

As part of the collaboration, the institute and center will work together to identify funding opportunities and outreach projects; collaborate on interdisciplinary research and commercialization opportunities; and develop joint programs for Virginia Tech students, faculty, and alumni, as well as business partners.

The groups will partner to support existing programs, such as hackathon events and the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology’s ArtsFusion seminar series, which brings cutting-edge artists, scientists, engineers, and designers to the Virginia Tech campus to explore topics across disciplines.

The center will contribute to the curriculum for the institute’s academic offerings, which include classes that prepare students to become technology leaders and innovators and provide them with the skills they need to create their own startup businesses.

“The partnership further encourages the interdisciplinary culture and knowledge that industry is seeking,” said Derick Maggard, director of the Apex Systems Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “We are creating a hands-on approach to our programs and education through this partnership. Magic happens when you create an environment that is truly interdisciplinary, combining the know-how of engineers, designers, scientists, and business students. It mirrors real-world experience and is truly exciting when creative ideas are spun out to create companies.” 

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.