The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) announced the launch of BMEStart, an award recognizing undergraduate excellence in biomedical innovation. BMEStart stands apart from the NCIIA’s other biomedical competition (BMEidea) because of its focus on younger inventors who do not have as much experience with product development.
The BMEStart competition welcomes submissions from undergraduate students at all NCIIA member colleges and universities. Each team must include at least one engineering student, but teams are encouraged to incorporate members from diverse fields such as business, law, medicine, life sciences and physical sciences or similar disciplines, as long as the ultimate submission solves a clinical problem. In alignment with the NCIIA’s focus on helping student projects from concept to commercialization, submissions should also meet technical, economic, legal and regulatory requirements; feature novel and practical designs; and show potential for commercialization.
“This prize will allow undergraduate students the chance to shine on their own,” said Phil Weilerstein, Executive Director of the NCIIA. “But at the same time, we’ll be judging teams by standards similar to graduate students, such as how feasible and eventually marketable their ideas are.” The top team will be awarded a $10,000 grant to support further development of its product, with grants of $5,000 and $2,500 being rewarded to the second and third-place teams, respectively. Teams may register for the competition and submit their materials on-line here: http://www.nciia.org/competitions. Submissions open November 1.
BMEStart was announced at the annual BMEidea workshop, held this year in Pittsburgh. Recently home to the annual G-20 summit, Pittsburgh has seen an economic resurgence in recent years, ranking as the United States’ most livable city in The Economist. Before the BMEStart prize announcement, Renal Solutions, Inc. (RSI) founder Peter DeComo, a Pittsburgh- area native, addressed attendees—biomedical engineering faculty from around the country—about advancing the development of Life Science companies.
The BMEidea competition is sponsored by the NCIIA; the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA); the National Science Foundation; and Boston Scientific; and is endorsed by the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and the Council of Chairs of Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering Programs.