April 13, 2010

Grant aids birth of new concepts for global initiative

Posted: April 13, 2010
A student tests the twig light device while reading a book.
A student in Ghana, Africa tests the twig light device created by graduate student Michael Pugliese in the College of Technology and Innovation as a project for GlobalResolve.

Students at Arizona State University have an opportunity to change the face of poverty 8,000 miles away, thanks to grants from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) totaling $46,000 in the last six months.

In March, a $30,000 grant was awarded to GlobalResolve, a social entrepreneurship program, in order to enhance capstone courses at ASU.

“The grant will further the development of a three-semester global impact entrepreneurship capstone course,” said Mark Henderson, professor of engineering in the College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) and executive director of GlobalResolve.

“The project-based course will be a source of new product ideas that can be used for economic development in poverty-stricken areas,” Henderson said.

The capstone sequence, which is coordinated with the My Life Ventures business capstone courses offered through ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business, will last a full year through spring, summer and fall semesters. Professors with expertise in fields ranging from engineering to social science will help prepare the students for the complexities of the projects.

Students will travel to villages in Africa to assess the needs of villagers in a developing country, develop products that solve problems or meet needs in the community, and finally create village businesses around the solutions that they have designed.

Through the initiative, CTI engineering technology students have produced award-winning innovations such as ethanol gel fuel production and an LED lighting device – the recipient of a $16,000 NCIIA grant in fall 2009 that runs on energy from burning twigs.

The work of professors Henderson and Brad Rogers and students from CTI and other ASU units to alleviate poverty through GlobalResolve efforts is being recognized internationally. Henderson and Rogers were invited to participate in the exclusive Engineering for the Developing World summit in Washington, D.C., in March. The event, sponsored by ASME, formerly the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, brought a number of academic, government, corporate and foundation leaders together to explore new ways for the engineering community to meet the needs of the poor worldwide.

“The College of Technology and Innovation is the perfect place to develop this program because the college’s emphasis on innovation, entrepreneurship, multi-disciplinary teaming and global awareness fully embodies the design aspirations of the New American University," Henderson said. "GlobalResolve brings those aspirations to life."

Information regarding the new course, as well as current and ongoing projects, can be found online at http://globalresolve.asu.edu.

Written by Kari Stallcop

Media contact:
Chris Lambrakis
(480)727-1173
lambrakis@asu.edu