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- Innovation and Design Clinic - Background and Purpose

The Innovation and Design Clinic (IDC) currently provides UC Merced's graduating seniors the opportunity to learn and contribute as part of a team that includes practicing engineers and other professionals from partner and sponsoring organizations. The IDC teams focus on engineering design projects that are chosen based on their potential for significant near-term impact on communities, organizations, and/or industries in the region. The program integrates students from the entrepreneurship course in the Gallo Management Program to infuse an economic development mindset in the context of global market potential. The commitment of the teams and partners combined with the richness and intensity of the “Innovate to Grow" competition greatly enhances the traditional capstone experience.

Through the IDC, classroom learning and our students' research activity is coordinated with a real-world design project that takes place in partner organizations and/or industries to help share diverse approaches to design and build fulfilling the client based objectives. IDC partners contribute a gift of sponsorships $25,000 per year to the program operation, and a project sponsor’s involvement ranges from providing funds to engaging the students in industry experiences.

We seek opportunities for engineering and management students with partner organizations and industries to collaborate, discover solutions to common problems, create and streamline networking, and increase both radical and incremental innovation. As industries and organizations become increasingly knowledge based, and as products, processes and business systems become more complex, UC Merced engineering students are becoming an essential part of industry and are contributing to regional economic, social and cultural growth.

The Innovation and Design Clinic challenges UC Merced’s engineering students to become “entrepreneurs” of their knowledge, skills and research applications. Participating organizations and/or corporations play a vital role in encouraging this new program of Capstone-IDC activity by achieving the goals of the academic-industry partnerships and innovation center.

The Spring 2012 projects, and their mentors/clients, included: Recycled Water System for City of Merced (City Engineer) Microturbine for UCM Merced Irrigation Canals (UCM Facilities) Sensor to Autonomously Record Environmental Conditions Experienced during Shipping (Pelco/Schneider) Organic Material Grinder for Plasma Reactor for Generation of Energy from Waste (UCM) Solar Drinking Water Treatment (Water Boards, San Joaquin Valley) Almond by-products as Biofuels for UCM campus (UCM Facilities) Solar Power for KVIE Sacramento (Chief Engineer, KVIE) Security Camera Housing Thermal Control (Pelco/Schneider) e-Tractor for UCM Fleet Service Flow Valve for IV Fluid Supply System for Neonates (Children's Hosp. Madera) Noise Control for Neonatal ICU (Children's Hosp. Madera).  Projects such as these fulfill both the student’s learning objectives and the needs of the engineering industry at large.


Through the generosity of our sponsors, the Innovate to Grow competition will contribute to the continued building of a distinctive pipeline of leaders in the areas of sustainability, energy and engineering research that is critical to the future of the Central Valley and the State of California.

Innovate to Grow: the Event 2013

For a pdf copy of this page, click here.

For More Information: Contact the School of Engineering Dean's Office @ 209-228-4021.