In the yearlong program, students in engineering, business and the arts work in teams to design and make products for industrial sponsors, and to develop marketing plans for their products.
IPD has won a curriculum innovation award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and has been praised by The New York Times for preparing students to work in the "cross-disciplinary teams" increasingly demanded by industry.
IPD students and their counterparts in Lehigh's newer IBE (Integrated Business and Engineering) program are regularly invited to display their products at national competitions. Together, they have won 11 national awards from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA).
IPD teams have made more than 300 products and they run the gamut:
- A noncontact windshield wiper for commercial trucks
- An active rear spoiler for improved fuel efficiency
- A biomedical device for wound management
- A lacrosse helmet and stick made with new materials for improved performance and safety
In 2006, Ochs won the Olympus Innovation Award, which is given annually by NCIIA to individuals who promote and demonstrate innovative thinking in education.