The Diploma in Innovation is a one-year program designed to enable current USC Ph.D. students to engage in innovative scholarship with another Ph.D. student or with any other individual or organization capable of providing collaborative support. Throughout the program team members will also participate in a series of seminars focused on various topics related to innovation such as: creative thinking, the process of innovation, methods of collaboration, social entrepreneurship, developing a business plan, intellectual property law and other issues that will be of use to teams as they pursue their projects.
Each team, which must consist of at least one USC Ph.D. student, will submit a proposal that identifies all collaborators and illustrates how the proposed project could lead to innovative scholarship or to novel solutions, processes, policies or devices with the potential to address pressing societal needs. Proposals must lay out the steps by which the project will reach completion in one year’s time under the supervision of a USC faculty mentor, who must be identified in the project proposal. $5,000 will be provided to assist the team with their project.
A committee of faculty, appointed by the Provost, will judge each proposal to determine which teams will be selected to receive a $5,000 innovation grant and pursue the Diploma in Innovation. Ideal projects will be feasible within a year, will be directed towards addressing a current academic or societal need in innovative, collaborative ways, and will demonstrate the potential for long-term impact. Up to 15 projects will be funded each year, with funds being disbursed over the course of a year to the USC Ph.D. student(s) involved in the project.
It is expected that most USC Ph.D. applicants will have already passed their qualifying examinations. Detailed application instructions are available in the Apply section and program requirements are available here.