Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Pitt strives to ensure that research translates into innovations that positively impact our community and the environment by working across impact areas to innovate and ensure mechanisms for students, faculty, and staff to advance ideas to help build a more sustainable future.

The quest for discovery at the University of Pittsburgh runs deep. Pitt innovators cured polio, created CPR, and cultivated the field of organ transplantation, to name just a few of the university’s monumental contributions to the world.  Pitt is consistently ranked as a top-tier research institution, has a rich history of innovation and entrepreneurship across a wide range of disciplines, and provides opportunities for students to engage in developing their ideas including via the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, Innovation Institute, and the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence. From Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine to today’s startups and spin outs, Pitt fosters an environment of research, discovery, and implementation focused on human impact and the relentless pursuit of change, for good.

Pitt Startups, Spinouts, & Patents

Pitt innovation and entrepreneurship efforts relating to and focused on sustainability are embedded within the larger Pitt innovation ecosystem, thanks to a shared focus on changing the world for the better by finding solutions. These developments embody progress as described by multiple impact areas of Pitt’s Sustainability Plan, the guiding document for Pitt’s goals in sustainability. Some of these impact areas include: 

  • Materials & Waste – Striving for sustainable consumption and diversion practices by considering sourcing, usage, and ultimate disposal at time of purchase.
  • Food Systems – Striving to build food systems that support a healthy body and a healthy planet, strengthen local communities, and minimize waste. 
  • Health & Well-being – Striving to enhance the physical and mental health as well as the quality of life of the community.
  • Energy & Emissions – Combating the serious threat of climate change by aiming to dramatically reduce energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • Research – Advancing the frontier of knowledge and making a positive impact on the world through collaborative and multi-disciplinary approaches to sustainability-related research that focuses on areas of great social and environmental need.
  • Innovation – Striving to ensure that research translates into innovations that positively impact our community and the environment.

Have a great idea & want to get involved?  Check out:

  1. Big Idea Center @ Pitt – Campus hub for student innovation and entrepreneurship offering a range of programs, events, and services to assist students with pursuing their “big ideas” idea for a new product or service.
  2. Innovation Institute – Protects and manages intellectual property generated by Pitt innovators while providing the programs, services, and funding Pitt students, faculty, and staff need to assess the commercial potential of their innovation or big idea and accelerate on the path to market.
  3. Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence – Regional small business education, consulting and networking.
  4. PINCH: Pitt Innovation Challenge – Supporting diverse teams who generate innovative solutions to challenging health problems.
  5. Pitt Sustainability Challenge (Coming in late 2022)
  6. Randall Big Idea Competition – Annual Pitt student competition awarding $100,000 in prizes to successful teams with big ideas.
  7. The Forge – Pitt’s student startup incubator provides mentoring, work space, education and other resources for up to 2 years for Pitt student startups to work toward securing their first paying customers.
  8. University Library System Entrepreneurship Resource Guide