Building Capacity for Research in Technology-Based Social Entrepreneurship Education for the Next Generation of Engineering Leaders
Effective Years: 2023-2026
Despite the emphasis on both entrepreneurship and social responsibility for engineering students, education, and research on the two topics have been mostly separate efforts. Technology-based social entrepreneurship education for engineers has ample potential to give engineering students the opportunity to become socially responsible engineering leaders with an entrepreneurial mindset. However, very little research on the topic has been conducted in the field of engineering education. This project aims to advance understanding of how engineers who have launched technology social ventures identify business opportunities that can fulfill the goal of utilizing technology to solve societal problems and the required competencies for successful technology-based social entrepreneurship. Based on this knowledge, the project team will develop a measurement instrument to assess these competencies in undergraduate engineering students. The research findings and the resulting instrument will provide a basis for technology-based social entrepreneurship education for engineering students and students from other disciplines who intend to collaborate with engineers. In the process of participating in this project, the principal investigator (PI) will establish domain-specific knowledge in engineering entrepreneurship education and in-depth knowledge and experience in educational research methods as well as project development and management.
The research aspects of this project will address the questions: (1) How do engineers who founded technology social ventures identify business opportunities that use technology to solve societal problems? (2) What competencies are necessary for engineers to lead their technology social ventures? And (3) What validity and reliability evidence can be found for the newly developed instrument that measures the competencies for successful technology-based social entrepreneurship? The findings from Research Study 1, which will apply a mixed-methods grounded theory approach, will be based on the experiences of expert engineers. The outcomes of Research Study 2, which will be a Delphi study, will be the list of competencies for engineers to lead technology social ventures. The outcomes of Research Study 3 are expected to be a valid and reliable instrument that can be utilized in future research on engineering entrepreneurship education. The PI will also develop new undergraduate and graduate course modules based on the findings. Project findings will be shared through workshops and presentations at conferences. The success of this project will be assessed through regular meetings with the advisory board. The project is supported by NSF’s EDU Core Research Building Capacity in STEM Education Research (ECR: BCSER) program, which is designed to build investigators’ capacity to carry out high-quality STEM education research.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.