Innovate to Grow (I2G) is a unique “experiential learning” program that engages external partner organizations with teams of students who design systems to solve complex, real-world problems. 

At the end of each semester, the work completed by the student teams culminates in the Innovate to Grow event, which features student-led research and highlights their project outcomes.  The bi-annual Innovate to Grow event is a showcase of UC Merced student ingenuity and creativity, and the marquee event for the School of Engineering, drawing hundreds of industry leaders, community members, and entrepreneurs from the Central Valley, Silicon Valley, Southern California and beyond.   

Innovate to Grow began in 2012 as the culminating event for the School of Engineering’s Senior Capstone teams' final report.  The Innovate to Grow program has evolved to encompass the following experiential learning classes, and threads of our campus' innovation culture:

In one year (two semesters) the Innovate to Grow projects, classes, and events involve approximately 500 students and 100 teams. The classes that are part of the Innovate to Grow program have grown since its inception, as our enrollments in engineering and computer science continue to grow rapidly. 

Depending on the nature of the project, the amenability for multiple solutions or competition and the availability and interest of the industry mentors, a team may be paired 1:1 with a partner/project, while other projects have two or more teams competing to produce competitive designs.

The projects tackled by the students involve a variety of industries, such as Agriculture, Food Processing, Water, Energy, Health Care, Medical Devices, Finance, Transportation, Construction, Materials, IT, Networking, and more.

Most student innovations are related to projects inspired by industry partners and community organizations where success might be measured by:

  • a system or process improvement for the partner’s operations or plant;

  • a prototype or invention that may lead to a product or patent application;

  • a software application or system improvement;

  • studies and prototypes for government labs or nonprofits in the local community.

Some of those innovations can help, or turn into, small businesses in the community.  The innovation and entrepreneurial thinking embedded in our culture are signatures of our programs and highlight the unique student experience for undergraduate students on our campus. 

Please see more details if you are interested in partnering with us:

  • You may sponsor the program and events. 

  • You may propose a project that can be evaluated for fit in Engineering Capstone, Software Engineering Capstone, or Service Learning, or an internship, or potentially collaborative research with Faculty at UC Merced. 




For any questions or comments, please send an email to: