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.