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Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Europe


Lisbon, Cascais, Portugal

Program Description

Are you ready to take an idea from concept to tech-based start-up in FOUR weeks in the spectacular setting of coastal Portugal and Lisbon? In this one-of-a-kind summer abroad, you will combine team-based experiences in creativity, ideation, innovation, and multidisciplinary/multicultural teaming with opportunities to meet and learn from world experts in design, engineering, business and venture creation as part of a multicultural, multidisciplinary team.

Over the course of this unique summer experience, you will dive headlong into a hands-on, project-driven program focused on creativity, ideation, design, innovation, real-world business modeling, and entrepreneurship. As a collaborative partnership involving faculty from James Madison University, Thomas Jefferson University, University of California Berkeley, and the European Innovation Academy, this program is an intensive and fast-paced environment where you will learn from experts in the field from businesses such as Intel, Google, Microsoft and Samsung, and include a diverse, worldwide cast of business, engineering, IT and design mentors, serial entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. 

Joining with students from around the world you will learn what it takes to move an idea from concept to reality. The base of your Portugal innovation experience will be in Cascais, a beautiful Portuguese fishing town on the western edge of the Lisbon coastline and just 20 minutes to Lisbon.  As a city, Lisbon is home to thousands of IT, tourism, manufacturing, healthcare industry companies, innovative small and medium enterprises, and high-tech startups. In this environment, you will explore the idea of starting a business from scratch, encounter what it takes to bring a great idea into a viable business venture, and expand your experiences in creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship in a true multidisciplinary and multicultural team-based environment. If you have ever thought you might want to explore the idea of starting a business from scratch, wondered what it takes to bring a great idea into a viable business venture, or just wanted to experience the process of innovation and entrepreneurship, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you should not miss!

Come to one of two general interest information session about our 2018 summer study abroad trip to Portugal this week!

  • Thursday, February 1st at 5 PM in ISAT/CS 259 (nTelos Room)
  • Friday, February 2nd at 12 noon in ISAT/CS 259 (nTelos Room) 

“Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship in Europe”  is open to students in ALL MAJORS at ALL LEVELS (including graduate students) and offered for ISAT and/or Engineering credit. 

Location Description

The primary home of the program is in Cascais, Portugal, and while packed with activities, team-based exercises, expert lectures, and project work, there is still time to explore the areas in and around Portugal and Spain that include beautiful coastlines, amazing surf, sun and sand, quaint fishing villages and the nearby beauty and excitement of Lisbon.

CASCAIS, PORTUGAL: Cascais is a beautiful Portuguese fishing town that is situated on the western edge of the beautiful Lisbon coastline, and is the region’s most popular holiday destination. Historically the town was a favorite with the Portuguese nobility, and today the town is an elegant blend of grand 19th century architecture, traditional Portuguese charm and outstanding tourist facilities.  At the heart of Cascais is the Old Town that has retained its traditional Portuguese character and heritage and overlooks the fishing harbor. Away from the town and beaches are scenic coastal walks along the cliffs to Cabo da Rocha, or that follow the beach promenade to Estoril.  

LISBON, PORTUGAL: Lisbon is the stunning capital city of Portugal, and is one of the most charismatic and vibrant cities of Western Europe. It is a city that effortlessly blends traditional heritage, with striking modernism and progressive thinking.  As a holiday destination, Lisbon offers a rich and varied history, lively nightlife and is blessed with a glorious year-round climate.  Perfectly reflecting the Portuguese culture, Lisbon embraces modern culture while maintaining its unique heritage and traditions. Lisbon is consistently recognized as one of the greatest cities in the world, a claim confirmed by the “Lonely Planet Guides", which named Lisbon as one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit.


Jonathan H. Spindel | | Integrated Science and Technology


You will stay in accommodations near to the venue of Centro de Congressos do Estoril in Cascais, Portugal.  With ready access to trains, and busses, Lisbon, and the entire coast of Portugal is easy access.  Accommodations include single and double rooms that are fully furnished and equipped with a bed, table, chair, TV, and cabinets and individual bathroom with shower and sink.  

A meal/food allowance is included; however, each twin residence has a kitchen with dishes, cookware, and microwave. There are a wide range of restaurants and grocery stores with access to reasonable price food suitable for all dietary needs.

Additional Items to Consider

  • Non-US students will need to ensure that all appropriate visas and other travel documents are in place. Obtaining a VISA can take as long as three months. All students will need a current passport.  Students should be prepared to have a cell phone capable of functioning in EU.

  • Students are encouraged to bring a laptop computer for program related work.

  • Usual precautions for international travel should be taken with regard to securing items such as backpacks, cameras, wallets, etc. while on location and while traveling before, during, or after the program.

  • Attendance at a pre-program meeting is required upon acceptance.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.5

The program is open to students at ALL academic levels and to ALL majors.

ISAT 480 is open to students in ALL majors.
ISAT 580 is open to graduate students in ALL majors.
ENGR 480 is only open to Engineering majors.

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short Essay 
  • Resume
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

apply now

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


ISAT 480 / ISAT 580: Special Projects in ISAT: Reading and Research in ISAT (6 credits)

ENGR 480: Special Projects in Engineering (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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