Siemens, leading U.S. universities to host series of R&D challenges to bolster innovation pipeline

Princeton, NJ   |   Mar 27, 2018

  • Dedicated to developing the next-generation workforce, Siemens will invest nearly $1 million in winning ideas

At the company’s annual U.S. Innovation Day held in Chicago, Siemens announced it will collaborate with five leading U.S. universities to host on-campus FutureMakers Challenges to further bolster its innovation pipeline and empower the nation’s top talent. Participating universities include Carnegie Mellon University, University of California, Berkeley, Princeton University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Georgia Institute of Technology. The universities were selected based on their technical strengths, match to Siemens’ projects and history of collaboration.


In April, teams of undergraduate and doctoral students at each university will develop next-generation software concepts that are MindSphere ready around emerging technologies and trends based on Siemens’ R&D portfolio, university core competences, and market-driven needs including: cybersecurity; machine learning; artificial intelligence; industrial automation; smart manufacturing.


Siemens will invest $150,000 in each university’s winning idea, totaling nearly $1 million across the program. As part of the investment, Siemens will invite a Ph.D.-level student from the winning team of each university to work with its Corporate Technology teams in Princeton, New Jersey, Berkeley, California, or Charlotte, North Carolina over the course of six months to bring the technology from concept to reality.


“We are pleased to be working with Siemens on this hackathon concept,” said Edward W. Felten, director of the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University. “By combining the work of undergraduate and graduate students during the FutureMakers Challenge itself with an ongoing research project for the first place winner, this event is a novel way to foster university- industry collaboration in a way that supports both teaching and research."


“Innovation is a top guarantor of success, and it’s been a part of Siemens’ DNA for over 170 years,” said Kurt Bettenhausen, head of Siemens Corporate Technology US. “By joining forces with America’s top talent, I’m confident this year’s FutureMakers Challenges will result in groundbreaking solutions that will meaningfully impact society.”


Each challenge will take place over a 24-hour period where teams will create software solutions that demonstrate how their ideas address the assigned industry challenge. A panel of Siemens experts will select the winners based on innovation, out-of-the-box thinking and relevance to market needs. Through the FutureMakers Challenges, Siemens is taking a unique approach to university partnerships that foster continued collaboration with funded doctoral degree sponsorships.


Siemens Corporate Technology’s challenge initiative was first launched in the United States in 2013 as an internal employee-driven event to disrupt corporate technologies and processes. By extending the event outside its walls, Siemens hopes to not only further drive its innovation pipeline but also encourage the further development of the next-generation workforce.


Siemens has a long history of supporting innovation. Most recently, next47, a global Siemens-backed venture firm, partnered with TechStars, one of the world’s most successful start-up accelerators to help foster entrepreneurship within Siemens. As part of the TechStars program, Siemens employees can apply for a three month accelerator program, along with investment and mentorship support. Last year, two teams were selected out of 25 applicants.


For more information on Siemens’ FutureMakers Challenge initiative, visit


About Siemens Innovation Day USA 2018

Siemens Innovation Day USA at the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) at UI Labs in Chicago brings together technology experts to showcase how digitalization is enabling companies and organizations to do things better than ever before. From AI technology that will transform farming to software that can transport people virtually to remote oil fields, the annual event is a live look at the technologies that drive business value in a post-digital world. For more information, or to attend virtually, click here and follow the conversation using #SiemensInnovates.


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Siemens Corporation is a U.S. subsidiary of Siemens AG, a global powerhouse focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization. One of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is a leading supplier of systems for power generation and transmission as well as medical diagnosis. With approximately 372,000 employees in 190 countries, Siemens reported worldwide revenue of $92.0 billion in fiscal 2017. Siemens in the USA reported revenue of $23.3 billion, including $5.0 billion in exports, and employs approximately 50,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico.


Language: English