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Courtesy of Daderot/Creative Commons

Penn was just ranked eighth most innovative university in the world by Reuters in a report that measured indicators like academic papers and patent filings. 

Director of Weiss Tech House Anne Stamer said she was not surprised that Penn was ranked highly for innovation. 

“There are so many opportunities on campus for innovation,” Stamer said. “We have a program for everybody.”

Stamer cited Weiss Tech House as an example of one of resources available to students. The organization provides space, funding and mentoring to help undergraduate students develop ideas into real products and companies, Stamer said.

Student director of Weiss Tech House and Wharton and Engineering senior Wanda Lipps also says the organization fosters “the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation” on campus by helping students make connections with “likeminded people who are involved with entrepreneurship.”

Executive Director of the Mack Institute of Innovation Management, Saikat Chaudhuri said Penn encourages students to be a “part of something larger."

The Mack Institute of Innovation is the largest research center at Wharton with a more than $40 million endowment to promote innovation at the corporate level for hundreds of students across schools.

Through Penn’s work with healthcare business models, ThinkTech and “corporate innovation across industries,” Chaudhuri said Penn approaches “innovation as a much larger enterprise.” He added that while there may be a lot of “new ventures” coming out of universities such as Stanford University or Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “there’s so much more to innovation” at Penn. 

Chaudhuri noted that while the LinkedIn founder may not be a Penn alumnus, the CEO who sold the company to Microsoft was. In that way, “we have a strong global presence,” Chaudhuri said.

He added that especially with Penn President Amy Gutmann’s recent emphasis on innovation, the different entrepreneurship groups on campus have become more coordinated as more resources have become available.

Wharton and Engineering 2015 graduate Teddy Guenin is just one example of Penn resources contributing to innovation. He and his business partner Ashwin Amurthur were the 2014-2015 winners of the Y-Prize, a Wharton competition that offers the winning team $10,000 to work towards commercialization of a new technology.

“Penn increasingly has opportunities for entrepreneurship,” Guenin said. His own product came from applying a technology he saw in his engineering lab to the fracking industry. 

"There’s a lot of people at Penn willing to listen,” Guenin said. 

The Penn Center for Innovation's Chief Marketing, Communications, and Programs Officer Laurie Actman said that the Penn Center for Innovation promotes innovation specifically among faculty by “facilitating relationships and initiating opportunities.” 

PCI in recent years has seen an increase in revenue and number of patents. Penn also launched the Pennovation Center in September to "bridge the intellectual and entrepreneurial initiatives for advancing knowledge and generating economic development," according to its website.

 As Chaudhuri says, Penn will be at the forefront of the “next revolution.”

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