Frequently Asked Questions
about Impact Through Innovation
What is the goal of Impact Through Innovation?
ITI facilitates project development by UNC Greensboro’s School of Education faculty and students to address real-world challenges within the field of education. Projects are diverse, ranging from social innovation to technical solutions. With a focus on translating research into practice, measurable improvements in education and the empowerment of people engaged with the educators are principal goals.
How does ITI define social innovation?
ITI defines social innovation as the development, funding, and implementation of innovative solutions to social, cultural, and environmental problems that impact the field of education. Although some projects may result in revenue-generating innovations, we view social innovation as prioritizing social advancements over financial gain.
Does ITI provide grants?
Rather than providing grants, we invest in you and your ideas. All investees must sign a memorandum of understanding that outlines the amount of funds invested, how those funds will be used, and an agreement that funds will be returned to ITI if a project is successful so that funds can then be invested in other innovative projects.
How are decisions made about which projects receive funding?
Projects are evaluated on their own merit. The decision to invest in a project is determined by the ITI Director, School of Education Associate Dean for Research, and if needed, the ITI Advisory Committee.
Criteria for funding include:
- The project addresses a real-world problem within education, broadly defined.
- The project includes a creative way of addressing a challenge that extends beyond pure academic research.
- The project leads to a product or process that is useful in practice and that potential end users view as valuable.
- The person submitting the project is willing to engage with ITI through idea incubation, coaching and feedback to refine their idea and the implementation of their project outcome, so that it has the potential for scalability and sustainability over time, thereby creating a broader impact.
Examples of supported projects can be found here.
What is the difference between an Idea Starter Award and an Idea Development Award?
Through the IDEA Model of Project Development, innovative projects tend to evolve during the phases of idea formation, development, expansion, and finally, acceleration. Idea Starter Awards assist faculty in formulating an innovative approach to a problem within their areas of expertise. Idea Development Awards help faculty to mature an idea with demonstrated merit. This can include a research or programmatic initiative. Information about award applications and expectations is available here.
How well-developed does my project need to be in order to apply for an Idea Starter Award?
Projects may be in their infancy for Idea Starter Awards. The key requirement is to present an idea with the potential to make an impact beyond traditional academic work. The goal of your project should be to create a solution that directly and positively impacts a challenge faced by constituents of education.
Is it possible to receive both an Idea Starter Award and, later, an Idea Development Award to implement a project?
Yes, this is possible.
Are there annual deadlines for submitting applications?
No, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.
Will interdisciplinary projects (across School of Education departments) receive special consideration?
Who owns what I create?
Inventions developed by faculty while employed at UNC Greensboro are the intellectual property of the university. However, the university shares revenue generated with faculty members. Student creations are also the intellectual property of the university, but typically the university will waive rights to these. See UNC Greensboro’s Policy https://policy.uncg.edu/university-policies/patents_inventions/.