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Participate in innovation courses and programs to learn, challenge yourself, and hone your innovation skills


Carolina Graduate Certificate in Innovation for the Public Good

Equip yourself with the modern change-making mindset, methods, and tools to be effective in working across sectors and disciplines to solve complex, economic, social, and ecological problems.   Three of the certificate’s courses, including the required core course Design Thinking for the Public Good, are housed in Gillings.

Design Thinking for the Public Good (HBEH 748) 
Design Thinking for the Public Good (HBEH 748) trains an interdisciplinary group of graduate students to apply the mindsets, methods, and processes associated with design thinking (i.e. human-centered design) to solve real-world problems. Design thinking is a creative problem-solving process that prioritizes ethnographic market research, convergent and divergent thinking, as well as rapid prototyping. Students will collaborate with community members to design solutions (products, services, etc.) that are desirable, feasible, and viable. For more information, contact the course instructor Dr. Liz Chen.

Public Health Entrepreneurship (SPHG 428H) 
Public Health Entrepreneurship (SPHG 428H) provides an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to learn how entrepreneurial approaches can be applied to public health challenges. The class also develops entrepreneurial problem-solving skills. For more information, contact the course instructor, Dr. Alice Ammerman.

Systems Thinking/Collective Impact (HPM 966) 
Systems Thinking/Collective Impact (HPM 966) has two parts, both focused on applying practical, structured systems thinking approaches to improve care, service delivery systems, policy, and/or environments in which we live. This first part of the course is person-centered applying systems thinking tools to understand individuals’ experiences as the foundation for driving change. For more information, contact the course instructor Dr. Kristen Hassmiller Lich.


  • Startup UNC  – a new ventures course design to help students, faculty, staff, and alumni develop a business idea or scientific innovation into a high-growth company.
  • Launch Chapel Hill Cohort  – a 16-week business accelerator program offered twice yearly and designed to increase the growth of high-impact start-up and early-stage ventures that are committed to building self-sustaining enterprises.
  • The Cube Residency – UNC students, faculty and staff compete in the Social Innovation Challenge for their venture to receive a 1-year residency in Cube. Residents receive access to co-working space, up to $5000 seed funding, mentorship and capacity-building workshops.
  • The Eship Center Apprenticeship – Designed to accelerate the entrepreneurial careers of UNC’s highest potential student leaders, the 12-month Eship Center Apprenticeship (formerly Adams Apprenticeship) takes undergraduate juniors and first-year graduate students through a comprehensive program to develop successful entrepreneurial leaders.
  • The Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship – An undergraduate minor for the problem-solver, the creator, the agent for social change. Students come from different walks of life, a spectrum of perspectives, and can be pursuing any major on campus.
  • Venture Catalyst Program – The Venture Catalyst Program is a collaboration between Innovate Carolina and KickStart Venture Services that allows the leaders of UNC-affiliated startups, serial entrepreneur coaches and talented graduate students to converge and collaborate.
  • Eship Scholars Cohort– The Eship Scholars program was created to celebrate and support students from backgrounds and identities underrepresented in entrepreneurship who display the drive and qualities of a successful entrepreneur, but who may not self-identify as an entrepreneur. Scholars receive $5000 in support of reaching their entrepreneurship goals.
  • E(I) Lab -The E(I) Lab is a six-month-long experiential program that will bring together graduate students, professional students and postdocs from diverse disciplines across UNC to conceive, develop and test innovative solutions to unmet needs in healthcare. Bring your critical thinking skill set and your interest to work in a cross-disciplinary way!
  • MOTRD UP  – Mechanisms of Translation, Realizing Discovery and Understanding the Pipeline (TL1 program). This 1-2 year fellowship experience for postdoctoral scientists focuses on the actual translation of research products into entrepreneurship and commercialization (EC), health systems (HS), and clinical trials/regulatory (CTR). Applicants should apply when they have a product/idea/research finding that is ready to move to the next translational stage. For example, laboratory discoveries leading to preparation of a regulatory application to the FDA, data that is ready to support a clinical trial, or a discovery that will move to dissemination across a health system.