The ERC Program was launched in 1985 to strengthen U.S. industrial competitiveness. Competition in research excellence and in innovation is one of the ways that ERCs prepare their students to excel in the real world of industrial practice. Students are encouraged to participate in academic competitions sponsored by engineering societies, by NSF and other Federal agencies, by independent academic organizations, and by the ERC Program itself. Two examples are given below. The Perfect Pitch competition is open only to ERC students, while iGEM is open to university and even high school student teams from around the world.