UC Forward and Co-Labs


Malayan tigers paw at a device that plays music and contains lights at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. The zoo funded and partnered with UC Forward on a project which pulled 30 students from 10 disciplines together with 10 zoo staff mentors to design, fabricate, and test nine prototype animal enrichment devices for tigers, penguins, giraffes and large birds.

UC Forward and Co-Labs connects industry partners with diverse groups of student talent through semester-long (15-17 weeks) project collaborations. Our team will work with you to outline project goals and deliverables that empower student teams to leverage design thinking and cross-disciplinary collaboration to explore new ideas and uncover innovation opportunities.

  • Connect with students across multiple majors through a semester-long, faculty-led course
  • Propose your organization’s real-world problem for student teams to work collaboratively to solve through the practice of design thinking
  • Industry partners participate approx. 1-3 hours per week (or more as desired)
  • Students work approximately 25 hours per week on each project (375-425 hours total over 15-17 weeks)
  • Courses are financially sponsored by our industry partners

Project Examples

 A few examples of UC Forward projects UC students have worked on.

Kroger Corporation’s Zero Hunger/Zero Waste

Cincinnati Zoo Puzzles for Animals

A New Green Uptown

BHDP Architecture and the Future of Work

Ready to Connect?

Work with us to kick start your next project.  We are now accepting requests for future UC Forward Projects.

Ideal project proposals will challenge students to:

  • Generate new knowledge (research / insight development);
  • Identify new business / product / service opportunities and evolutions;
  • Explore new visual or spatial concepts; and/or
  • Make speculative predictions about future scenarios

Questions? Fill out the contact form below and a member of the Partnership Development Team will contact you.


Get in Touch

Whether you’re looking to tap into talent and technology, upskill your workforce or collaborate on your exciting new venture, we’re waiting to hear from you – reach out today to get started!