The University Innovation Fellows program is run by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (

Since 2017, each year a cohort of students are selected among Global Learning and Leadership for Sustainability Track Program as Fellows. Students go through a 6-week online training program. After completing the online training, they attend the Silicon Valley Meetup in March, where they connect with one another and build on the learning from the online training. Fellows receive year-round mentorship and represent the program and their schools at global conferences and events.

The University Innovation Fellows (UIF) program empowers students around the world to become agents of change in higher education. Fellows create opportunities that help their peers unlock their creative potential and develop the design-centered mindset required to take on complex challenges in today’s world.

Koç University Sustainability and Innovation Manuel for Students

Please find the Koç University Sustainability and Innovation Manuel for Students here.

2020 Cohort Project Ideas

Project Idea #1 – KULENDAR (ongoing)

KULENDAR is a calendar portal where all events in our school along with class times, deadlines and exams can be seen. The main objective of the project is to enable our students to better plan and manage their time. The identified problems behind this projects are listed below:

  • Student Side:
    • There are too many events in our school which makes it very hard to keep track.
    • Only common ground for promoting events are through email, which leads to many people getting emails that do not relate to them, thus missing the events that they would like to attend
    • Students cannot plan the events they would like to attend ahead of time.
    • Students have a hard time keeping track of their deadlines for different courses.
  • School Administration and Student Clubs Side:
    • Many departments do not have the prior data about student’s vacant times to better plan their events.
    • Club activities department lose a lot of time sending club activities mails that can be easily automated


  • Connections with IT Department established
  • Kick off meeting where use cases and MVP will be planned is set.
  • Team recruiting efforts have begun.

KULendar prototype


Project Idea #2 – KUForum (ongoing)

KUForum is a forum platform where students can ask their questions in categories and get answers that can be upvoted and post their complaints to the complaints board which will also move up as more people support the issue. The main objective of the Project is facilitating the feedback mechanisms and making our voice heard in school management.

The identified problems behind this projects are listed below:

  • Student Side:
    • Lack of questionnaires directed to students or examination of the problem before critical decisions by the school management
    • Lack of efficient representation of student voice in decision making process
    • Inefficient complaint resolving systems
    • Inability to reach answers of previously asked common problems
  • School Administration and Student Clubs Side:
    • Inability to identify who and how many people suffer from issues.
    • Inability to get agile feedback
    • Difficulty of identifying most critical problems
    • Recurring mails from students which are usually sent to unrelated people


  • Connections with IT Department and Student Dean established
  • Mechanisms of student complaints or questions being resolved is currently being defined.
  • IT Support for hosting and customization of digital solutions has been promised


Project Idea #3 – I&E Online Manual (ongoing)

The Project aiming to create a manual that improves upon the landscape canvas we prepared containing information on entrepreneurship and innovation related coursework, departments, incubation centers and the paths and counselling they can take. The main objective of the Project is to inform students about the Innovation & Entrepreneurship opportunities in our school


  • Established connections with the director of KWORKS, our school’s incubation center and College of Administrative Sciences Dean.
  • Currently recruiting the team to design the manual and gather information on the existing opportunities.


 Project Idea #4 – International Workshops

Online International workshops in different areas such as sustainability, design thinking etc. coordinated with other UIF Fellows with the help of research centers in our school. The identified problems behind this projects is mainly based on the question that comes with online education of whether the university education is necessary while you can learn things from online education platforms at the fraction of the cost. In response to this problem, we want to help our schools’ students to retain the network opportunity that universities provide by using the advantages of the online era and our connections with UIF.


Project Idea #5 – Wellbeing Club&Week

Wellbeing exercises and workshops through the finals and midterm weeks that our school is mostly very stressful. A wellbeing club that shares information with each other on wellbeing, does Yoga or meditation together ?

2019 Cohort Project Ideas

PROJECT IDEA#1 – Place/workshop to meet students who have common interests and make them to design a project and to do a prototype (ongoing)

The Project focuses on designing courses or conducting workshops to make students experience the information which they got from the lecture.


PROJECT IDEA#2 – Club Activity Page:

The Project has a strategic priority of increase on accessing students clubs by providing a platform where each club can have a voice and talk about their goals,old projects and upcoming events. The Project has a main objective of increae Access to students clubs.


PROJECT IDEA#3 – Scavenger Lab Hunt

The Project focuses on arranging an orienteering/scavenger hunt. In the beginning of each new school year there during the orientation process.The Project focuses on labs about innovation and impact are not known around the school. 


PROJECT IDEA#4 – Combining knowledge and skills in practice.

The Project aims to create a program combining different majors and leading by a mentor who can guide about designing an upcoming project.

2017 Cohort Project Ideas

PROJECT IDEA#1 – Guiding, encouraging and inspiring students about non-corporate career paths.

  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship Manual: A manual containing information on entrepreneurship and innovation related coursework and departments.
  • A periodically updated “How to” and “Where to” website for Koc University:
  • An updated website that guides students through skill and goal related journeys.
  • Listing all the related courses, gatekeeper people and professors, affiliated organizations, student clubs and “inside information” about specific goals, skills, needs.
  • A Startup career event: Collaborating with career center, entrepreneurship club, marketing club, business administration club to gather 10+ startup founders with students to introduce succesful entrepreneurial career paths, hold pitch & innovation challenges with them.
  • TEDx event focused on I&E
  • Pitch competition
  • Innovation challenge
  • A chatbot mobile application that creates instant answers from the website database
  • Quarterly revised handbook that lists all the information website has
  • “A Creative’s Guide to Thrive at Koc University”


PROJECT IDEA#2 – Initiating, sustaining, and developing a multi-disciplinary creative network.

There is this an urgent need for creative people coming from different disciplines to get to know each other and somehow interact.

  • Slack: Properly designed Slack group for entrepreneurial needs, inspiring articles, event announcements, feedback requests
  • Creative Newsletter: Can be integrated to the website
  • Redesigning KU Daily: For a more individualized, interest-based communication platform


PROJECT IDEA#3 – Redesigning the ineffective indoor and outdoor spaces in the campus to facilitate productive co-working, creative socializing, and wellbeing.

For a spatially limited campus (meaning there are no free spaces around the campus to enlarge the area) efficiency of currently used areas are highly important for a comfortable, creative student life.

  • Redesigning Yeni Nero space
    • Heart of the campus has the worst indoor design.
    • Furnitures are terribly old and dull, not allowing comfortable eating, working in groups and even having a enjoyable coffee break.
    • Sound isolation is terrible.
    • There are no sockets.
    • Even it is a large are at the heart of the school, it is not facilitated for workshops, artistic events.
    • Interior decoration is not inspiring.
  • Building small transparent containers in the dormitory area – Fall 2017
  • Designing empty spaces that will be created due to the moving of science labs to the new building. – Spring 2017


PROJECT IDEA#4 – Informing, promoting, and integrating “social impact” in the campus.

  • Social Impact Quotient – 2017
    • Not only GPA for students
    • SIQ that measures each student’s impact on his community, campus and environment.


PROJECT IDEA#5 – Facilitating online & offline intersections for the curriculum with new e-learning technologies, platforms, organizations.

  • Hybrid academic and skill-related e-learning certificate programs.
    • Connecting courses, e-learning platforms, organizations, clubs, companies and more with condensed certificate programs.


PROJECT IDEA#6 – Community Space – Fall 2017 & Spring 2018

The main aim of the Project is designing and building a creative space that will allow multi-disciplinary collaboration, 7/24 co-working, organizing workshops, hosting maker projects, incubating student startups, intersecting with related courses for alternative educative methodologies.


PROJECT IDEA#7 – Global Learning and Leadership Program for school employees

The main objective of the Project is empowering administrative and academic staff with I&E related content, workshops, programs for creating a more coherent campus vision.

What University Innovation Fellows Do

Fellows represent the student voice in the global conversation about the future of education. They become deeply familiar with the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem at their schools, working closely with faculty, administrators and community stakeholders. They develop system thinking skills and learn a variety of design approaches that support their work as change agents.

Based on their deep understanding of the landscape of learning opportunities available at their schools, Fellows design and implement activities to enhance that landscape. 1,500 Fellows (and counting!) at 185 schools around the world have created innovation and makerspaces, courses and extracurricular resources.

Click here for more information about UIF and latest updates.

Contact: Mrs. Nilüfer Akpınar Şahin