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    Integrating sustainability at the point of invention

    August 7-12, 2022

    University of Cincinnati


    Funding provided by the Proctor & Gamble Higher Education Grant Program

    and the UC Center for Entrepreneurship

  • Work in interdisciplinary teams to connect design and innovation to the science of sustainability. Invent a CleanTech product, campus-based sustainable initiative OR a green solution for partner, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, declared one of the 'Greenest Zoo's in America'. Learn from experts in design, business, green chemistry, and communications. Pitch and win funding to move your idea forward.


    By the end of the UC Sustainable Invention Immersion Week, you will learn how to:

    1. Apply user-centered design 
    2. Use the principles of green chemistry and life-cycle thinking to design a sustainable product
    3. Communicate your product's message and company's values through digital storytelling
    4. Construct a viable business model with an identified target market and develop your pitch 
    Gain the following from participating:
    • Two free meals each day (breakfast & lunch)
    • $150 Prototyping budget per team
    • Top 3 winning teams will split $3,000 in cash prizes
    • Build your network connecting with Startup Cincy's entrepreneurial ecosystem
    • Opportunity to advance venture forward by participating in the Flywheel Social Enterprise's Sustainable Cincy accelerator program in the fall term
    • Opportunity to advance venture forward through an Independent Study class (3 credit hours)

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    Community of Practice

    As a 'Sustainable Invention Scholar', you will join like-minded students and faculty to gain access to mentors, resources, competitions and funding to grow your idea. Continue your learning through meetups and network opportunities held throughout the year.

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    Use design thinking and sustainable materials to turn your idea into a viable prototype. Execute your concept through one of the many makerspaces on campus. Learn about new equipment and technologies from experts in the field. Develop a portfolio worthy project that will stand out on any professional resume.

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    Interdisciplinary Collaboration

    The combination of an interdisciplinary curriculum and a diverse community will expand your creativity, improve your problem-solving strategies and build leadership skills.

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    Sustainable Invention

    Green chemistry minimizes the impacts of consumer products on human health and the environment. Learn key facets of the product life-cycle as you create your sustainable product.

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    Master how to create a viable business model and identify a comprehensive value proposition for your product.

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    Understand the principles of user-centered design through the design thinking process.

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    Digital StoryTelling


    Learn how to craft a clear and compelling story for your startup.

  • "Everything about the business world was a learning experience for me. As a science person, having the opportunity to learn more about this side of things and give it a try was really beneficial"

    --2017 SIIW Participant

    "It (Sustainable Invention Immersion Week) was amazing and one of the most inspirational student events I have attended.” --Eleanor Vandegrift, Associate Director of the Science Literacy Program and University of Oregon Affiliate Director, Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science



    "It was valuable to be able to learn from professors with whom I wouldn't usually have classes with and learn about subjects that I love, but have never had access to in a classroom setting"

    --2017 SIIW Participant



  • 2019

    Less but Better Challenge

    Your challenge will be to design a new solution to address a need that eliminates or significantly reduces the problems associated with materials using the State of Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality Vision 2050 Materials Management plan as a framework. We will examine how 'upstream impacts' (raw material selection, design, and production actions made at the point of invention) can significantly minimize the environmental footprint of a product.

    The solution should be economically viable, socially acceptable and have a net positive environmental impact compared to existing products/processes.



    The C O L O R Challenge

    Color dramatically influences human behavior from how we communicate to how we make decisions and is a ubiquitous component of consumer products. The materials and processes used to generate color in consumer products have significant impacts on human health and the environment. In light of the economic, social and environmental impacts of color on society, you will be asked to invent a product or process that reduces the impacts of color (dyes, pigments, inks and structural color) on human health and the environment or invent a new way to use color as a tool to reduce the impacts of consumer products on human health and the environment. The strategy should be economically viable, socially acceptable and have a net positive environmental impact compared to existing products/processes.



  • In Partnership With

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  • Our 2022 Judges and Guest Speakers

    Josie Dalton, Program Manager, Flywheel Social Enterprise Hub

    Stephenie Ritchey, Sustainability Manager, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

    Dr. Christina Calvin, Founder/CEO, Terran Material Resources

    Antony Seppi, Growth Lab Director, Alloy Development Corp.


  • 2019 Top Teams

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    1st Place-- AgriFiber

    A better soil solution for increased crop Production

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    2nd Place--Roduce

    an organic food preservation system

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    3rd Place--Nativ Solution

    a sustainable aggregate to close the concrete life cycle

  • NEWS

    The latest news on SIIW teams, faculty, related initiatives and the program at large

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    Julie Haack honored as

    2019 Williams Fellow

    Sustainable Invention Immersion Week Co-Director Julie Haack was recognized as this year's Williams Fellow, the university's highest award for interdisciplinary undergraduate teaching. Dr. Haack will receive her award at the May 28th Outstanding Achievements Awards ceremony. Read more here.

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    AlgoteK selected as semi-finalist

    for Impact Category for the

    2018 Bend Venture Conference

    SIIW Team AlgoteK has been selected as one of six semi-finalists for the Impact Category for this year's Bend Venture Conference, the largest angel conference in the Pacific Northwest.

    Read more here.

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    AlgoteK joins the 2018 Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator

    AlgoteK was selected into this summer's Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator (formerly OregonBEST) cohort. Read more here.

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    SIIW at 2018 Venture Well OPEN Conference

    The SIIW program has been invited to present at the 2018 Venture Well OPEN annual conference taking place March 22-24 in Austin, Texas.


    Join us as we discuss the SIIW program's origins, our methodology and process, successes and challenges to date and how we plan to scale the program going forward in 2018.

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    AlgoteK selected into Plug and Play's New Materials & Packaging spring 2019 cohort

    AlgoteK was invited to participate in one of the top Silicon Valley accelerators, Plug and Play. As a member of the spring 2019 New Materials & Packaging cohort, AlgoteK will have access to nationally recognized materials leaders and mentors. Read more here.

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    AlgoteK in Forbes

    and Other News Outlets

    AlgoteK has been recently profiled in several publications including Forbes and on Eugene and Portland-based local news stations.

    • Read about AlgoteK in Forbes here
    • Watch the AlgoteK story on Eugene NBC 16 KMTR here
    • Watch the AlgoteK story on Portland's Fox 12 KPTV here
    • Watch the AlgoteK story on Eugene's KPTV here.
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    Competition Success for

    SIIW Team Chromatec

    SIIW Team Chromatec (co-founders Nick Capaldini and Rishika Krishna) were finalists in two major business competitions recently: St. Louis University's 2017 Real Elevator Pitch Competition and TieOregon's 2017 PitchOregon competition. They were also semi-finalists in the 2018 national Student Startup Madness SXSW competition.

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    AlgoteK wins 2nd Place and the Impact Category at the Statewide InventOR Competition

    AlgoteK, a 100% biodegradable plastic alternative company founded at the 2017 UO Sustainable Invention Immersion Week, competed against 10 other Oregon university ventures on June 29th to win $7500 at the first inaugural InventOR competition held at OregonTech in Klamath Falls. Read more here.

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    SIIW Team Algotek (formerly Oble) Selected to Compete in April's TechFestNW's PitchFestNW competition and the Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Competition at Texas Christian University

    SIIW Team Algotek (co-founders Tyler Young, David Crinnion, Tanner Stickling and Justin LeBuhn) will be competing in the TechFestNW's PitchFestNW competition on April 6th. TechFestNW is the Pacific Northwest's leading technology and innovation conference which showcases startups from around the world. They will also be competing as finalists in the April 5-7 in TCU's Values and Ventures Competition.



  • Sustainable Invention Immersion Week

    Sponsorship Opportunities

  • Schedule for the Week

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  • Faculty Facilitators

    *Indicates Program Directors

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    Senior Instructor

    Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Tyler Invention Greenhouse

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    Director of Cross-Campus Engagement and Instructor of Management

    Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship

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    Professor of Practice

    School of Journalism and Communication

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    Assistant Professor


    Product Design

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    Program Manager and

    Instructor of Management

    Center for Sustainable Business Practices

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    Associate Professor


    Department of Biology

  • 2017 Top Teams

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    1st Place-- Chromatec

    a Hands-Free, Non-Electrical gas detection meter

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    2nd Place--Oble

    a green chemistry solution to packaging

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    3rd Place--Kopi

    a sustainable filter to prevent lead in water

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    4th Place--Reforts

    A Sustainable toy company using recycled plastics