Ideas to Innovation Projects

The centerpiece of the ECE project-track MS is a yearlong immersive design experience that integrates an ambitious system design project with the development of students’ professional success skills. These end-to-end projects engage teams to work across the spectrum of materials and devices to circuits, systems, software, and reliability.

An important part of your experience in the Project Track Master's Program is learning how to develop rough ideas for new projects into compelling cases for new product development. Developing a concrete plan for the project and successfully executing it are also important parts of the experience as is second stage planning for how this new technology demonstration could be turned into a new product line or start-up company. The conception, selling to “management,” project planning, and execution are the responsibility of the student teams. Plenty of advice and guidance will be provided. 

Student teams consist of members with different technical expertise. During the fall semester, each team identifies, proposes and initiates work. Most of the technical work takes place during spring semester and is completed during Summer or Fall session.

The development of students’ success skills is an integral part of the design experience – tightly linked to the design project itself. Skills to be developed include written and oral communication to a variety of audiences, building successful teams, working in teams, leading teams, an appreciation of professional ethics, and the related business knowledge and understanding of intellectual property needed to develop technology demonstrations into start-up companies or new product lines in existing companies.

This yearlong experience is designed to prepare students to conceive compelling ideas for project, sell them to management, work in a team to successfully demonstrate proof-of-concept, and then to plan the stage two scale up to a successful small business or product line in a large company. The processes for project proposals, approvals to proceed, design reviews, and final reports are modeled on those of leading technology innovation companies.

Ideas for projects may come from the students themselves or from other sources. For example, several faculty research groups are eager to turn recent research advances into product demonstrations. Similarly, Purdue’s Office of Technology Commercialization is looking for teams to produce proof-of-concept demonstrations of intellectual property in Purdue’s portfolio.