The Center for Engineering Entrepreneurship at Fairfield University
June 13, 2015
rev. 8
Douglas Lyon,
School of Engineering
Fairfield University

THE PRIMARY GOAL is to enhance the quality of the graduate programs in the School of Engineering at Fairfield University through increased applied research, while facilitating the development of innovative products.



The Center will allow students and faculty to immerse themselves in real-world projects sponsored by Connecticut industry, or their own research into new products and processes to create opportunities for themselves and others.


The University is blessed with students and faculty with promising concepts for wealth and job creation.We urgently need a way to start businesses at the University to commercialize these innovations.We already have in place a portfolio of University patents, papers, and prototypes with commercial potential.


The Center will facilitate the creation of new companies by combining access to affordable and flexible R&D lab space with business and technical mentoring. For example, we have access to a free law clinic that can help with patents and trademarks: law clinic.


 Offering students the opportunity to work on practical projects with the potential to increase quality of life will set Fairfield University apart from institutions relying solely on theory or routine textbook projects.The Center will engage faculty and students with local technology businesses and innovators.


we have renovated space on the second floor of McAuliffe as the CEE at Fairfield University, for use by:

  1. Students and Faculty,
  2. Local independent innovators
  3. Technology startups and early-stage ventures
  4. Mature corporations with the resources to conduct sponsored research

Who Would Benefit From the CEE?


FACULTY RESEARCH productivity will be improved by creating release time from industrially sponsored research. This research brings in alternatives to the tuition-driven business model that we have normally relied upon. The Faculty Release Time (FRT) program provides limited funding for individuals working with external industrial associates who are sponsoring interns on campus. These interns require supervision and support. Faculty will supervise the thesis work in order to ensure high-quality publications that will do the University credit.The faculty need experienced students to help them with their publications and research.

An award of $6,000 is required for each course of release time.

The funds support the cost of a replacement instructor to cover one course, or similar responsibilities, normally presented by the applicant. Funds provided are based on the actual cost of the replacement's salary, not on the applicant's salary.

In summary, faculty will transform industrial relationships into productive sources of income for the University and into a publication stream.


Entrepreneurs (recent grads, vets, and area innovators) will launch or grow startups in product- or process-oriented fields. The will develop, test and prototype products for market research. Companies will have access to a source of engineering talent that can be pre-screened through the internship process. Once vetted, employers who are happy with their employees often offer permanent positions. Outsourcing the advanced product development cuts internal costs. **


THE STUDENT DEMOGRAPHIC has changed materially. The graduate student body at the School of Engineering has become both more full-time and more international and we expect this trend to continue. These students have international visa status that constrains off-campus employment. The students represent a skilled workforce that requires financial support and experience with industry to further their career goals. The F-1 and J-1 students are eligible to work on-campus while attending classes. The students earn extra money, obtain work experience, develop communication skills, develop good work skills and obtain recommendation letters and personal references for future employment or education. Students can work up to 20-hours per week during the academic year, and full-time on-campus, during vacation periods. Students need jobs that look good on the resume and provide relevant learning experiences. The CEE caters to this urgent student need for relevant employment opportunity, on campus. Students will learn to conduct research to publication standards and to conduct industrially sponsored research. Some will do thesis work in an industrially related area, thus helping them to become technical leaders in their field.

In summary, students get work experience through internships in high-tech companies, they get opportunities to transition into full-time employments and they obtain essential skill development. Students will learn how to conduct R&D and become exposed to industrial research problems.


Businesses are able to help with the commercialization of University discoveries. This enables alternative income streams from licensing and manufacturing. Most faculty members are not interested in building businesses; hence the urgent need for the CEE on campus. This income stream can be lucrative. For example; universities with even modest tech transfer initiatives earn typically $2 million annually from out-licensing fee.Columbia receives over $100 million annually.

Businesses who hire our students are constituents of our programs from an accreditation point-of-view. They serve as advisory board members and can help with development efforts on campus (entrepreneurship creates wealth). This enables us to bring donors and sponsors closer to the Fairfield community. As the businesses take off, they will generate good public relations, providing evidence that Fairfield University is a hotbed of innovation and commercialization.

The CEE creates a high-energy activity, on campus, improving collaboration with area businesses, creating a flow of investors, bankers and political leaders, enabling stipend and tuition subsidies and helping to create wealth.

Fig1. - A view of MCA202

Fig2. - Renovations recently done to MCA202
Fig3. - Another view of MCA202

  FloorPlan in pdf  Draft Lease Agreement

Pictures of some of the machines in the machine shop can be seen here: Shop pictures