Recently, the University of Washington held its very first innovation competition on March 3 of this year. The contests purpose was meant to find solutions to existing health issues such as finding new ways for care and treatment, creative new products, and any ways that could help people live healthier lives. This may have been the first year, but their results were better than expected.
Not just business students
100 judges from the health competition had chosen between 34 groups from five different colleges that had applied. The judges chose 18 teams that were very diverse. In fact, the students came from all kinds of departments from business, design, biomedical informatics, and more.
The prizes and winners were:
- $10,000 Grand Prize: Engage
According to their website, “Engage develops medical technology for developing countries with a shortage of resources, initially though the product SafeShot to reduce the spread of blood borne diseases.”
- $5000 Second Place Prize: miPS Labs
According to their website, “miPS Labs offers consumers cell preservation and personalized stem cell generation.”
- $2500 Third place Prize: MultiModal Health
According to their website MultiModal was made to, “Help the Healthcare Industry transition from experience-based care to evidence-based care by creating innovative technologies.”
Still working out the kinks
When Emily Willard and Katherine Brandenstein, co-founders of Engage, found out they had won first place, they were in shock due to their exceptional competition. “We got feedback on how it could be used in lab research, and possibly in a military or veterinary context.” Willard said. “There’s lots of research still to be done.”
Director of the Buerk Center, Connie Bourassa-Shaw, has hosted all kinds of innovation competitions at this event center including a Business Plan Challenge and an Environmental Innovation Challenge. But she started noticing something about these contests that prompted the Health Innovation Challenge to happen. “We had noticed there were an increasing number of health teams going into the business plan competition.” Bourassa-Shaw found it only necessary to get the ball rolling after learning that information. Good thing she did! Now there are incredible ideas out there being put to use and saving lives.