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Pace University Opens First Design Factory Hub in New York City



Official Partnership, Only the Second in U.S. and 11th in the World, Allows New York Students to Work with Leading Companies Like Porsche, Nokia and Others

NEW YORK – Pace University today opened the first-ever Design Factory Global Network (DFGN) institute in New York City, only the second DFGN hub in the United States and the eleventh in the world. This innovative collaboration connects Pace University students with companies all over the world to provide creative solutions to real, design-based problems through project-based learning. It builds on a previous partnership with the Design Factory Global Network, which has fostered relationships with leading industry organizations like Nokia, Porsche, Infinion and others.

The New York City Design Factory is an official part of the Design Factory Global Network. The Design Factory Global Network is a consortium of eleven universities around the world that leverages design thinking through a highly effective, project-based-learning approach. The DFGN hub, to be housed at the Seidenberg School of CSIS at Pace University’s New York City Campus, will occupy a new state-of-the-art studio space designed specifically for collaborative learning.

“The Design Factory program is one of the most exciting educational opportunities I have been involved with in 30 years in higher education. The students and their company partners learn together how to create better solutions and better products,” said Jonathan H. Hill, Dean of the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University. “Innovative thinking, creative problems solving and entrepreneurial skills are what the Design Factory focuses on developing. Its unique mix of academic theory, hands-on applied work and real world corporate sponsors perfectly complements the technology industry workplace our students will graduate into.”

“The most important shared quality by all DFGN institutes is the passion to strive for the best learning experience and outcome. In this sense, Pace has the most committed coaches and students!" said Kalevi Ekman, Chair of Product Development at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Aalto University and Founder of the Design Factory Global Network. “Design Factory Global Network can learn so much from Pace – the true American drive and perseverance combined with scientific rigor.”

“The New York City Design Factory will provide the kind of exciting opportunities we need more of, fostering collaboration and partnerships between students and industry,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Facilities like this one, and the project-based learning they facilitate, benefit students, local industry, and the city as a whole.”

In addition to the construction of the physical Design Factory, Pace University also announced the creation of the Product Development Project, inspired by a similar program at Aalto University in Helsinki. Through this problem-based-learning program, teams of students spend a semester creating and prototyping solutions to industry provided challenges. Overall, the Factory provides a foundation for Pace University to collaborate with innovative institutions and their faculty, as well as students on five continents. This proven model for collaboration with industry, allows companies to benefit from the creativity and outside perspective of Pace University students while simultaneously providing an opportunity to find and hire new talent. It also provides Pace University students with a unique, international and interdisciplinary learning experience.

Pace University Students have already participated remotely in the Product Development Project course at Aalto University in Finland, as well as the Product Innovation Project course at Graz University of Technology in Austria. They have developed innovative solutions for industry leading companies, including a smart shoe concept for Nokia, suggestions for rethinking the future of used car dealerships for Porsche Austria, and 3D imaging use cases for Infinion, among others.

About Design Factory

The original Design Factory was born in Helsinki, Finland from a research project focused on creating an ideal physical and mental working environment for product developers and researchers. Today Aalto Design Factory (ADF) is one of the spearhead projects and one of the first physical manifestations of Aalto University encouraging and enabling fruitful interaction between students, researchers, and professional practitioners. Demand for similar programs throughout the world gave way to the Design Factory Global Network (DFGN), a network of innovation hubs in universities and research organizations in five continents of the world. DFGN is on a mission to create change in the world of learning and research through passion-based culture and effective problem solving. Shared understanding and common ways of working enable Design Factories in the network to collaborate efficiently across cultures, time zones and organizational boundaries fostering radical innovations.

About Pace University

Since 1906, Pace University has produced thinking professionals by providing high-quality education for the professions with a firm base in liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York Metropolitan Area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, enrolling almost 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its College of Health Professions, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lubin School of Business, School of Education, Elisabeth Haub School of Law and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

Sara Morell / 646-200-5291