Innovation Spaces and Programs

Get your hands dirty — successful entrepreneurship requires action. Makerspaces located throughout campus, grant programs, and events like the annual HackUConn 20-hour “hackathon” facilitate hands-on creativity and experimentation, providing valuable experience in doing the work.

Makerspace students working on project
students showing their work in the Makerspace


This annual event brings together students from all areas of study to identify and develop solutions to some of today’s most pressing problems. Students form teams and work nonstop for 20-hours, developing prototypes using the capabilities of Innovation Zone Makerspace. The event culminates with presentations to a panel of judges who have subject matter expertise and award prizes to the best solutions.

Get Hacking

Innovation Zone Makerspace

Launched in the fall of 2016 in UConn’s newest residence hall, the Peter J. Werth Residence Tower, the 1,500-square-foot Innovation Zone Makerspace (IZM) supports the entrepreneurial pipeline at UConn. By providing the necessary materials, equipment, and guidance , the IZM creates an environment where UConn students, faculty, and staff can bring their ideas from conception to reality. The ultimate goal of the IZM is to inspire creative and innovative thinking while providing a hands-on learning environment that encourages innovative design, prototyping, collaboration, problem solving and entrepreneurial mindset.

Start Making

person using LCIZ Makerspace
Students using the Innovation Lab at the Next Generation Connecticut Hall

UConn Library Maker Studio

The UConn Library Maker Studio fosters a community of cross-disciplinary innovation among UConn students, faculty, and staff. By offering a variety of equipment for turning ideas into tangible objects, the Maker Studio encourages creative, self-initiated learning in support of class projects, research, and extracurricular team and club initiatives.

Discover the Maker Studio

OPIM Innovate

OPIM Innovate is an educational research lab providing students of all disciplines with opportunities and resources to learn, explore, and develop industry-valued skills outside the classroom around emerging technology and analytics. Open to all undergraduate and graduate students of any major, OPIM Innovate offers workshops, projects, self-paced learning activities, and challenges all focused on meeting students where they are at and building skills that translate into opportunities.

Get Involved with OPIM Innovate

3D printed husky

Additional Innovation Supports

Office of Undergraduate Research

The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) is a resource for all undergraduates in all majors on all UConn campuses seeking to enrich their experiences through participation in research, scholarship, and creative activity. OUR helps students find and develop opportunities to engage in independent or collaborative research with faculty members and other mentors working across the University's academic disciplines. Offering a range of advising services, online resources, funding opportunities, and events, OUR supports students from their initial steps to get involved through the sharing of their discoveries with the University community and beyond.

It can be intimidating to think about how to get involved in research at a large university like UConn, but OUR is here to help! Advising and workshops will help you develop a strategy to get involved. Funding programs provide financial support that makes projects possible. Involvement in undergraduate research and creative activity will help you build research-specific skills and knowledge, but also transferable skills that will be useful regardless of your next steps — skills like communication, collaboration, problem-solving, and leadership.

Frontiers in Undergraduate Research

Frontiers in Undergraduate Research poster exhibitions provide opportunities for UConn’s talented undergraduate researchers to share their work with the University community. Exhibitions are held twice each year, with fall Frontiers taking place each October and the spring Frontiers event hosted in March or April. Several hundred students representing a range of project types and academic disciplines present their projects at Frontiers exhibitions each year.

UConn IDEA Grant Program

The UConn IDEA Grant program provides students an opportunity to engage in a meaningful project that they design. The program is designed to provide valuable learning experiences that help students explore a topic of interest, develop skills that prepare them for a career or graduate study, test out career and/or academic options, and build a network of like-minded peers engaged in innovative and creative projects. IDEA is a chance for students to flex their creative muscles, innovate, and explore.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF) Awards

SURF Awards support full-time undergraduate students who are engaged in summer research or creative projects under the supervision of a UConn faculty member. SURF awards are available to students in all majors at all UConn campuses. The deadline is early in the spring semester; awards are made for the summer. The maximum total amount awarded for SURF awards is $4,500 ($4,000 stipend for the student researcher and up to $500 for consumables associated with the project).

SURF Awards provide undergraduate students the opportunity to devote themselves full time to research or creative projects that are meaningful to them. Through more intensive summer engagement, students are able to make significant progress on their projects and test out whether this type of engagement and inquiry is something they wish to pursue beyond graduation through graduate education and/or career options.

Change Grant – UConn Co-op Legacy Fellowship Program

UConn undergraduates in all majors can apply for up to $2,000 in funding to support projects that represent the legacy of the UConn Co-op’s commitment to public engagement, innovation, and social impact, including service initiatives, creative endeavors, research, advocacy, and social entrepreneurship. Applications are accepted twice per year in October and February.

The Change Grant provides recipients an opportunity to effect change and make an impact on issues, problems, topics, or questions that matter to them. In addition to funding, recipients receive support from a project mentor and from the Office of Undergraduate Research, as well as join a cohort of like-minded students who strive to make a difference.