The 6-month Diploma in Innovation program is designed to enable current USC STEM Ph.D. students to explore the path to innovation and entrepreneurship with other USC student(s) or any other individual(s) (e.g., industrial mentors) capable of providing the student(s) with innovation/entrepreneurship support.
Each team, which must consist of at least two people (of which at least one must be a USC STEM Ph.D. student), will submit a proposal that identifies all collaborators. Proposals must focus on the potential of the technology to result in a product or service that meets a societal/market need. The proposal’s primary focus should not be the underlying science, but rather an outline of the initial exploration toward the marketplace presuming that technical challenges are addressed successfully.
A committee of faculty, appointed by the Provost, will judge each proposal to determine which teams will be selected to receive a $2,250 NSF site grant and pursue the Diploma in Innovation. Ideal projects will be feasible within six months, 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.
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.