President's Innovation Challenge


The President’s Innovation Challenge is a call to action. It’s a call to innovation and entrepreneurship. It’s a challenge to the entire Harvard community of students and postdocs to engage with pressing issues facing the world and to explore turning their ideas into impactful, real-world ventures.

The Challenge is also a competition and an opportunity to win funding for your venture. Venture proposals will be evaluated by a panel of professional judges, with more than $400,000 in seed funding awarded to the winning teams at the end of the spring semester.

$75,000 first prizes and $25,000 runner-up prizes are awarded in each of four tracks:

  • Social Impact or Cultural Enterprise
  • Health or Life Sciences
  • Open (for ideas that transcend categories)
  • Launch Lab X (selected teams in our 9-month alumni accelerator program)


General Timeline

September to December 2018:  Participants are encouraged to leverage Harvard i-lab events and resources to meet potential team members, gather feedback on idea, and test and validate their venture.

Be sure to attend our Think Like an Innovator Series, as well as the PIC Open House, Hack the PIC, and Pitch, Mix, and Match workshops to be as prepared as can be. To stay apprised of when these are happening, sign up for our newsletter.

Early November 2018: Application form goes live.

Early January 2019:  Application due.

Mid-January 2019: Approximately 100 semi-finalists are selected and enrolled into the Spring 2019 Venture Incubation Program.

March 2019: 20 Finalists (5 per track) selected

May 2019: Live Pitch Judging and Award Ceremony

Please sign up for our newsletter to get updates and timely application information.


The President’s Innovation Challenge (excluding the Launch Lab X track) is open to any team that includes a core founder who is a full-time, degree-seeking Harvard undergraduate or graduate student, postdoc, or clinical fellow. Teams may include non-Harvard members along with the Harvard founder, but the team’s founder must be a Harvard student.

Eligible participants may enter the competition either as founders pursuing their own venture ideas, or they may sign on to help as a team member. Our Pitch, Mix, and Match event is the best way to join a team.

Prize Money

Winners of the President’s Innovation Challenge will be awarded Bertarelli Foundation Prizes, made possible by a gift from the Bertarelli Foundation, Ernesto Bertarelli (MBA 1993).

$75,000 – Grand Prize (for each track)

$25,000 – Runner-up (for each track)

$10,000 – Crowd Favorite

Important Links

Apply (Coming Soon)


Rules & Eligibility