Sponsored Projects

The School of Design has a long history of successful collaborations with businesses, non-profits, and academic partners. We recognize that an important part of a rich learning experience is participating in real life projects brought to the table by organizations interested in leveraging design thinking and problem-solving processes. For our sponsors, compensation comes from the innovative ideas that emerge in response to their research problems.

In these classroom-based research projects, our students work directly with clients on a wide variety of meaningful problems, from envisioning the car of the future to exploring the impact of mobility and social media.

Project duration can vary from part of a semester (3 to 7 weeks) to a full semester (15 weeks) to a full year (or even multiple years.) A project may engage a full class or an independent team of a just few students and faculty members. Both undergraduate and graduate students participate.

School of Design research has been sponsored by organizations such as:


  • Disney
  • GE
  • General Motors
  • Google
  • IBM
  • Intel
  • LG
  • Microsoft
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Vodaphone


  • Innovation Works
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center


  • NSF
  • Qatar National Research Fund
  • Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance
  • US Department of Transit


  • Fine Foundation
  • The Heinz Endowments
  • Hillman Foundation
  • Iota Phi Foundation
  • Kaufmann Foundation
  • MacArthur Foundation

Want to become a research sponsor? Contact the School of Design office at 412-268-2828.