An EPIC Way to Teach Engineering

With technology revitalizing American manufacturing, the Boston University College of Engineering has transformed its curriculum so students learn the entire innovation process – from concept to design to production to deployment. The centerpiece of this transformation is the Engineering Product Innovation Center (EPIC), a 15,000-square-foot makerspace equipped with the latest industry technology.

While other engineering schools have taken steps to prepare their students for advanced manufacturing, the Boston University initiative is unique in how it transforms the entire engineering curriculum, enabled by modern technology and software infrastructure, and through a partnership with regional industries. One such partner, PTC®, donated $18.8 million in product design and management software used by 27,000 manufacturers worldwide.

While EPIC boasts a CAD studio, demonstration areas, fabrication facilities, materials testing, project management software, 3-D printers, robotics and laser processing, it is not built to remain static. EPIC has been designed so equipment can be continually updated and reconfigured within the center.

Corporate Advisors and Supporters

EPIC is funded through the University, ENG alumni and friends, and regional industry. A representative from each principal industry sponsor, GE Aviation, P&G, PTC, Schlumberger, Arrow Electronics and Rolls Royce sits on EPIC’s Industrial Advisory Board, which offer suggestions on how the ENG undergraduate curriculum can best prepare students for employment in the years ahead. Other corporations provide direct financial support, including Ametek, Buehler, Garlock, Stanley Black, Teledyne Dalsa, and Peterbilt.

Creating the Societal Engineer

Opening EPIC is the latest way Boston University is creating the Societal Engineer – someone whose engineering education instills both the skills and passion to improve society. In the 21st century, that means educating engineers who have a thorough understanding of not only technology, but how innovation is deployed in the marketplace and brought into use.

As BU College of Engineering Dean Kenneth R. Lutchen, said, “This facility is meant to expose students to how you go from an idea to a manufacturing-ready and deployable product that you can make money with – and all the steps in between.”

For more information on how your company can partner with EPIC, contact EPIC Director Anna Thornton.


Quotes from our Partners


“In an increasingly smart and interconnected world, manufacturers are at the cusp of a fundamental transformation, marking what could be one of the most significant disruptions since the Industrial Revolution. On the forefront of helping companies succeed with this transformation, PTC helps manufacturing leaders achieve and sustain a competitive advantage in the creation, operation, and service of products across the entire lifecycle — from engineering to supply chain and manufacturing, to sales and service. We value our partnership with BU and the Engineering Product Innovation Center as we work together to educate and train the next generation of engineers who will bring a deep understanding of design to manufacture and will reach beyond the expected to innovate and add value to society.”

Michael Campbell (ENG ’94), Executive Vice President, PTC

“BU and GE have a strong partnership based on people development, collaboration, and innovation. EPIC is a terrific recent example of how we came together to discover what’s possible. We look forward to our continued partnership as a Corporate Leader of the College of Engineering.”

Colleen Athans (ENG ’89), Vice President, General Manager, Aviation Global Supply Chain, GE

“Innovation is what drives our business, and the College of Engineering has a wonderful track record of how to innovate. With the right level of support from Dean Lutchen and the university as a whole, funding EPIC was a strategic choice connecting us with a hub of innovation at the cutting edge. We look forward to advancing a holistic relationship with Boston University for the years to come.”

Yannis Skoufalos
Chief Global Product Supply Officer
Procter & Gamble