Shaw Innovation Explorers Program

Help us reach our $2M goal of endowing the Shaw Innovation Explorers Program in perpetuity. 


Your gift will ensure that students today and for generations to come, will take part in transformational, hands on, high-impact learning experiences. The Explorer Program sets these students up for entrepreneurial success, while moving them toward becoming tomorrow's changemakers and problem solvers.


Gifts can also be made via check and appreciated securities.


Please contact Jennifer Lowrey for more information. 








A UNH Entrepreneurship Center Student Fellows Program


Make a gift to become an Explorer champion.


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"The Shaw Innovation Explorers program was a transformative part of my life and without this program I may have just worked an office job for my whole life, sad to think that's all I could have been, but I have grown and see so many opportunities through this program."- 2022 Shaw Explorer

About the Explorers Program

The Shaw Innovation Explorers (“Explorers”) Program is an innovative student fellowship designed for proven creative and innovative UNH sophomores to gain a 360-degree understanding of innovation through hands-on, high-impact experiences. The vision is to have a breadth of introductions and engagements with pioneering leaders in areas that include art, music, technology, science/marine, theater, municipalities, and New Hampshire and New England native industries. A training workshop provides the basics of innovation and start-up development.


Student Scholarship

Each student selected to participate will receive a $3,000 scholarship to support their education at UNH.


Innovation Explorer Speaker Series

The Shaw Innovation Explorer Speaker Series will introduce both the Explorers group and the larger university and Seacoast communities to high-profile innovators and pioneers in their fields of expertise. This pioneer will take stage with David Shaw for an insightful and thoughtful conversation.  In addition, a “Round-Table” session with the pioneer speaker and the Explorers will provide highly personalized conversation and interactions.


Are you an Explorer?

Are you creative and innovative? Want to be part of what is already becoming known as a top program to get in to? Are you ready to roll your sleeves up and dive into a full world of creative and innovative events and activities?  Apply to the Shaw Innovation Explorers Program!

OPEN TO ALL UNH DURHAM RISING SOPHOMORES.  All college and all majors welcome.


Philanthropic Support

The Shaw Innovation Explorers Program is possible due to the generous support of David E. Shaw '73, CEO Black Point Group,  John Shaw, CEO of Itaconix (a company built on technology licensed from UNH),  and the Shaw family.


Important Information about the Explorers Program

  • Embracing creativity and innovation over academic achievement
  • Baseline understanding of Start-Up principles/Innovation Process including Customer Discover
  • Embrace diverse student backgrounds and collaboration
  • Introduction to a wide range of types of innovation through hands-on experiences
  • Application of learnings into a team project
  • Fostering of innovation skills
  • Hands-on project work
  • Common life-long fellowship among  each Explorer cohort and ALL Explorers over time.
  • Skills builder for success in post-graduate employment/entrepreneurship

Person-to-person interactive experiences

Up to 12 sophomore students. Competitive application process.

Students to be “proven” adventurous, curious, and creative innovative students prior to college or during their freshman year. Innovation over academic achievement is the priority.

Each student receives $5,000/year “Shaw Explorer Scholarship” understanding cost of college is a potential barrier for innovative students to work and embrace the Explorer Program

Program’s required events/activities including:

  •   3-Day Start-Up Camp
  •   Innovation Explorer Speaker Series and Explorer Roundtable
  •   Weekend Team Building/Outdoor type program
  •   Innovation Field Trips (4-5)
  •   Individuals or teams will develop an innovative project in the area of their choice to present in May 2024
  •   1-2 round-table events of Explorers with David Shaw and/or appropriate family members
  •   Presentation of the Explorer Project(s) at end of year to include a short video.
  •   Bi-weekly group Explorer round table sessions, 12:45 pm - 1:45 pm at the ECenter

Information Sessions

  •  No session(s) currently scheduled.

Application Deadline

  • Applications for 2024-25 will be due April 5, 2024

Interviews (if necessary):

Explorer Acceptance Notifications

Kick-Off Meeting:

About David Shaw and Black Point Group

David has founded or co-founded numerous business and social ventures. He serves as the CEO of Black Point Group, a private investment company and family office focused on healthcare and other opportunity areas where the principals seek to create exceptional value through proactive investment management via extensive industry experience.

David abandoned other career plans and plunged into the adventurous and fulfilling world of tech entrepreneurship by founding IDEXX Laboratories in 1983 and served as CEO and Chair until 2002. IDEXX is a publicly-traded leading animal health diagnostics company with revenues of $2B. David co-founded Vets First Choice in 2010 and serves as Chair. Vets First Choice will be a publicly-traded $4B animal publicly-traded software services and specialty pharma company via a transaction scheduled to close later this year.  He is also the founding CEO and Chair of Ikaria Holdings, a human pharmaceutical company.

Inspired by entrepreneurship and the game changing science of our times, he has now helped build more than a dozen science-based organizations that generate billions of dollars of annual value to benefit their stakeholders and communities, including Maine.

David served as chair of The Jackson Laboratory (ME), Treasurer of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and Trustee of the National Parks Foundation, among others. Among his notable work is a leadership role in the US National Park Centennial and in protecting the Earth’s high seas for conservation, via the Sargasso Sea Alliance and the ongoing Aspen High Seas Initiative.  He has received numerous national and international awards for his social and business entrepreneurship.

David graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1973. He was inducted into the UNH Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame in 2018.

About John Shaw

John R. Shaw is CEO of Itaconix Corporation. Itaconix was founded to manufacture and sell polymers from itaconic acid, an organic acid fermented from renewable resources, and was developed with technology licensed through UNH. John has led successful industrial and medical technology product and company launches for over 20 years, including $2 billion in acquisitions and $30 million in venture funding. He has developed and managed research and development, marketing, sales, finance, distribution, operations, human resources and regulatory affairs to support these launches. He holds a BA from Pomona College, an MBA from Harvard University, and serves on the ECenter's Advisory Task Force.