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The Global Innovation Exchange graduates its second cohort of Master of Science in Technology Innovation students

Date: December 14, 2019

GIX develops innovators who can navigate and lead in a changing landscape

SEATTLE (December 14, 2019) — Following in the footsteps of last year’s inaugural group of students, 42 students from eight countries and regions will graduate from the Global Innovation Exchange with the Master of Science in Technology Innovation (MSTI) degree on Saturday. The Global Innovation Exchange — a partnership between the University of Washington, Tsinghua University and Microsoft — launched in 2017 to develop leaders in innovation and brings together leading academic and cross-sector partners.

Steve Davis, President & CEO, PATH

Taking place in the Steve Ballmer Building in Bellevue, students will graduate in the company of friends, family and GIX leaders, faculty and staff with an MSTI degree conferred by the University of Washington. Nineteen students will continue their education for six additional months at Tsinghua University in Beijing, where they will graduate with a second degree from Tsinghua University, the Master of Science in Engineering (Data Science and Information Technology).

Notable speakers at the graduation include Shwetak Patel, co-executive director of GIX (UW), Patrick Rau, vice dean of GIX (THU), and keynote speaker Steve Davis, president and CEO of PATH, an organization dedicated to finding innovative solutions for global health challenges. “The greatest impact on the world’s biggest health problems will come from social innovation,” said Davis. “That sort of development is key to creating a better world.”

Shwetak Patel, co-executive director, GIX (UW)

“I have been incredibly impressed by the drive, innovative design thinking, and diverse perspectives brought by the second cohort of GIX students,” said Shwetak Patel, co-executive director of GIX (UW). “They have brought new solutions to problems ranging from augmented reality mapping to the betterment of the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease.”

“GIX is an incredibly unique space in academia—the partnership between Tsinghua University, the University of Washington, and Microsoft allows students to explore problem spaces in a new way across design thinking, technology development, and entrepreneurship,” said Patrick Rau, vice dean of GIX (THU). “GIX is more than a collection of classes, it is membership in a community of like-minded individuals and organizations. The students have shown not just that they have the ability to make technology, but that they have the empathy to connect to their users and work to improve their lives.”

Patrick Rau, vice dean of GIX (THU)

The GIX education model brings together the strengths of students from diverse backgrounds and from around the world to create effective cross-disciplinary teams that leverage emerging technologies – such as AI, machine learning, connected devices, IoT, AR/VR, robotics, and blockchain – to address local and global challenges.

A central part of the MSTI program is the students’ launch projects. In collaboration with GIX’s Consortium members which include Harman, Microsoft, Nintendo, T-Mobile, Roobo, and Vulcan, students focused on these projects for the last six months. The ten projects come from a variety of fields including healthcare, education, hardware, energy, augmented reality, retail as well as social innovation.

GIX students were also recognized for their work outside of GIX including as finalists in the 2019 Imagine Cup Americas Regional Competition and at the University of Washington Maker Summit.


GIX is a new model of experiential education and practice to develop leaders in innovation. Starting with our project and team-based graduate degree programs, GIX will grow to include a broad array of innovation experiences for students, executives, and working professionals. Founded by the University of Washington, Tsinghua University, and Microsoft, GIX is a global collaboration between leading academic and cross-sector partners.

Starting in fall 2020, a new robotics track of the MSTI degree will teach students how to bridge business principles, human-centered design and robotics fundamentals like navigation, manipulation, and mobility.


Donna O’Neill
Director, Marketing & Communications
Global Innovation Exchange (GIX)

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