The Harvard Innovation Labs today kicked off the 10th Annual President’s Innovation Challenge, a competition designed to bring together the Harvard community to work on compelling solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. For the 2021 Challenge, winning teams will receive $510,000 in prizes, made possible by a generous gift from the Bertarelli Foundation, co-founded by Ernesto Bertarelli (MBA ’93).
“As we kick off this year’s President’s Innovation Challenge, our focus first and foremost is shining a light on the incredible innovators and entrepreneurs across the global Harvard community,” said Matt Segneri, Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Executive Director of the Harvard Innovation Labs. “Over the next six months, we look forward to supporting all of the venture teams participating in the Challenge, and recognizing their many achievements both leading up to and during the PIC Awards Ceremony.”
Participants in the 2021 President’s Innovation Challenge will have access to a variety of Harvard Innovation Labs virtual resources, including advisors and industry experts from around the world, workshops on topics focused on starting and scaling a venture, and panels that are both industry- and stage-specific. Throughout the spring semester, the Harvard Innovation Labs will offer a behind-the-scenes look at what teams are working on through venture stories that showcase the broad range of experience and expertise in the i-lab community.
In May 2021, the 10th Annual President’s Innovation Challenge Awards Ceremony will celebrate the work of 25 finalists through a unique, immersive, and interactive virtual experience with focus on a “more human” future. 10 of the finalists will receive $500,000 in Bertarelli Foundation prizes across five tracks: Social or Cultural Impact; Health or Life Sciences; Open for ideas that transcend categories; Launch Lab X GEO for eligible alumni-led ventures, and Life Lab for high-potential biotech and life sciences ventures accepted into the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab. Additionally, the President’s Innovation Challenge will award $10,000 as part of the Ingenuity Awards, for ideas with the potential to be world-changing, even if they are not yet fully formed ventures.
Last year’s grand-prize winners, each receiving $75,000, were Umbulizer for building a reliable and low-cost device that can provide continuous ventilation to patients; Coding it Forward for empowering the next generation of technology leaders to create social change; Fractal for developing a solution for streaming Windows 10 desktops to macOS or Windows devices; Vincere Health for using real-time incentives and behavioral nudges to motivate people to live healthier lives; and Tectonic Therapeutic for transforming the discovery of novel drugs addressing targets in the G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) family.
To learn more about the 2021 President’s Innovation Challenge and register for the launch event on December 9, visit innovationlabs.harvard.edu/presidents-innovation-challenge.