Skip to main content

Why an Academic Innovation Summit?

West Virginia and WVU are at a pivotal moment. In the face of profound challenges impacting our communities over the past year, we witnessed the power of bringing diverse expertise, innovation and grit to envisioning solutions to a global pandemic, and we can bring those same focused skills to addressing other challenges we face as an institution and a region. 

In October 2021, WVU hosted its first-ever Academic Innovation Summit to generate novel solutions to challenges facing rural Appalachia.  The event brought interdisciplinary talent together in creative teams in a social hackathon environment to envision accelerated solutions for creating new opportunities, alleviating deep challenges and achieving sustainability for our University and for our region.

Teams were presented with specific challenges facing rural Appalachia and asked to develop and pitch actionable and impactful programs to a panel of reviewers.

Leaders and experts from across the University served as Challenge Ambassadors to present specific challenge statements for the identified topics. Teams were given less than 24 hours to develop novel solutions to their assigned challenge leading to new in-demand curricula, cutting-edge research and impactful outreach. Facilitators from the WVU ADVANCE Center guided teams through the ideation-to-pitch process.

A panel of University and outside experts heard the teams’ pitches and selected the top proposals that they believed showed the most promise and potential impact.