AEIR Class listens and looks at the projector

Design Thinking for Research Innovations

A microcredential offered by Academic Entrepreneurs in Residence (AEiR) program

Design Thinking for Research Innovations

Transition Technical Solutions to Impact

In today's rapidly evolving innovation landscape, researchers and innovators are constantly challenged to create solutions that address real user needs and problems. While technical expertise is crucial, understanding and empathizing with users is equally essential for developing impactful solutions. This hands-on course is tailored for researchers who already have an idea or a product in mind and is designed to equip participants with the skills and methodologies to effectively gather user insights, facilitating the creation of successful technical inventions. This course will give you experience to transition your technical solution to impact. 

An Experiential Course

Throughout this experiential course, participants will learn how to move beyond secondary research and dive deep into understanding users' experiences, problems, and workflows through observation and interviewing techniques. By engaging with those experiencing the problem, researchers can gain valuable insights that will enable them to craft more comprehensive and relevant technical solutions. 

Earn a digital badge through UCalgary

Offered through UCalgary Badges and issued by the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial, the Design Thinking for Research Innovations Microcredential is a way to recognize competencies or skills acquired through a variety of learning experiences or at a more granular level than is captured by transcripts or degrees. Microcredentialing also allows academic staff, graduate students, and staff to document their professional development. Users have the flexibility to select their own learning experiences and set their own personal learning pathway.

Learn more

Key Dates

An 8-week course, offered in person.

Sept. 29, 2023

Application Deadline

Oct. 18, 2023

Course Start

Dec. 6, 2023

Course End

Course Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, participants will: 

  1. Be able to articulate technical solutions in terms of their unique attributes to solve a problem. Understanding the core components and functionalities of an invention allows researchers to communicate its value and benefits more effectively. 
  2. Gain proficiency in observing and interviewing users to identify their explicit and implicit needs, uncovering valuable insights that may not be evident through secondary research alone. 
  3. Synthesize user research insights, which will serve as the foundation for developing solutions that precisely address real needs. 
  4. Gain experience in the iterative nature of design thinking framework.  
  5. Be able to quantify and/or qualify the value your solution can create for end users.  

These skills will help all researchers, whether they seek to commercialize their research or just improve their grant writing skills. Taken together, you will have a collection of tools that will help you link your research to a very tangible, end-user application. 

For those who are interested in taking their research to market, this course will serve as a precursor to entry into the AEiR program, where you will get ongoing support while building your venture.  

Applications are currently closed. If you would like to be notified when the course is offered again, please contact us.

Microcredential FAQ

If you need additional information or have further questions about this microcredential offering, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at

The acquired skills will prove invaluable to researchers, regardless of whether they aim to commercialize their research or enhance the impact of their research. Ultimately, participants will possess an array of tools that facilitate the connection of their research to tangible, real-world applications benefiting end users. For those interested in advancing their research into the market, this course will function as a stepping stone toward entry into the AEiR mentoring program, offering continuous support during the venture-building journey. 

Completion of the course will result in being awarded a microcredential through the UCalgary Badges program and issued by the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking.

This course serves as a bridge between research and practical applications, making it a valuable resource for those aiming to make a tangible difference in both research and the entrepreneurial landscape. It is designed for a diverse range of individuals who are seeking to enhance their skills and make impactful contributions in various domains. Researchers, professors, and graduate and undergraduate students will all benefit from attending this course. Whether their goals involve driving innovation, venturing into entrepreneurship, pursuing research and development positions, or refining grant writing abilities, this course provides the necessary skill set. By imparting proficiency in articulating technical solutions, synthesizing user research insights, and grasping the iterative design process, participants will be equipped to create solutions that precisely address real needs.  

The course's formal programming occurs weekly from October to December.

The time commitment for the course is 10-15 hours. 

Yes. All we ask from course participants is regular attendance at the sessions and commitment to working on their projects. 

The course maintains a foundation of trust within the academic community, mentors, and participants. While encouraging open discussions about technical solutions and value propositions, participants are guided to share without revealing sensitive intellectual property details. This approach fosters collaboration while protecting each team's proprietary information, ensuring a balance between open dialogue and safeguarding innovations. 

Your technical solution doesn't need to be fully developed to enroll in this course. This hands-on course is designed for individuals who already have an idea or a product in mind to address a specific problem. Whether your idea is at a conceptual stage, a prototype, or even further along in development, this course is tailored to help you effectively gather user insights and refine your technical solution. By understanding users' experiences and needs, you can enhance the impact of your solution. The course aims to equip you with the skills and methodologies needed to transition your technical solution towards creating meaningful outcomes. 

No, you do not necessarily need to be part of E2i (Evolve to Innovate) or any other innovation or entrepreneurial program to take the course