On November 8 & 9. the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez (UPRM) will host the HSI Conference: Accelerating the Impact of HSI STEM Education and Research on Innovation Ecosystems, in cooperation with other HSIs, as well as partners in the commercial economy.The conference will provide input to NSF on how to expand active learning opportunities for undergraduate populations at HSIs by linking these students with mentors from both the commercial and knowledge economies. The new NSF HSI program:

https://nsf.gov/ehr/HSIProgramPlan.jsp

Will focus on enhancing the quality of undergraduate STEM education at HSIs and seeks to increase the retention and graduation rates of students pursuing associate or baccalaureate degrees in STEM.

The 2-day conference, in addition to pre- and post-conference meet-ups, will bring together an estimated 150 participants that include HSI education and research leaders, current and potential entrepreneurs, corporate and industry representatives, university administrators, invited guest speakers, undergraduate students, and NSF representatives to discuss emerging effective strategies for encouraging links between university and industry, with the important component of undergraduate involvement. The activities will provide ample opportunity for interaction among participants of all backgrounds and levels, including invited undergraduate students, during poster sessions, panel discussions, and invited presentations. This interaction is essential to fully understand the challenges of establishing partnerships between university and industry, and how innovation ecosystems can improve STEM education at HSIs. The conference outcome will be a blueprint for developing innovation ecosystems at HSIs and the establishment of a regional hub for this initiative.