01. Application02. Selection03. Celebration

THE ROAD TO THE PRESIDENT’S INNOVATION CHALLENGE

The President’s Innovation Challenge (PIC) is an invitation to Harvard students and select alumni & affiliate-led ventures to propel their ideas forward. The PIC is also an opportunity to win a share of $510,000 in non-dilutive funding, made possible by a gift from the Bertarelli Foundation.

Throughout the six-month process, teams develop their ventures with robust support from the Harvard Innovation Labs.

01. Application
Eligible ventures prepare and apply for the President’s Innovation Challenge.
TIMELINE: November 18 - January 5
02. Selection
Accepted Semi-Finalist teams refine and drive their ventures forward.
TIMELINE: January - March
03. Celebration
Selected Finalists pitch to judges. Winners are announced live at the Awards Ceremony on May 5.
TIMELINE: April - May 5

ACT I

More Human Futures

The President’s Innovation Challenge is an opportunity to move toward a future that’s more connected, more creative, more human. It’s an invitation to develop solutions that can change the narrative. It’s also an invitation to our wider community to discover what’s possible when we lead the work of making life better for the next generation.

Apply by January 5, 2022 to join the PIC this spring!

 

Register for the PIC Launch Event!

Take Me to the Application!

How can we create space for new leaders to come to the front? How can we create space for new leaders to come to the front? How can we create space for new leaders to come to the front? How can we create space for new leaders to come to the front? How can we create space for new leaders to come to the front? How can we create space for new leaders to come to the front?
What might we discover with curiosity and compassion as our guides? What might we discover with curiosity and compassion as our guides? What might we discover with curiosity and compassion as our guides? What might we discover with curiosity and compassion as our guides? What might we discover with curiosity and compassion as our guides? What might we discover with curiosity and compassion as our guides?
How can we design products, systems, and services that reflect how we truly want to live? How can we design products, systems, and services that reflect how we truly want to live? How can we design products, systems, and services that reflect how we truly want to live? How can we design products, systems, and services that reflect how we truly want to live? How can we design products, systems, and services that reflect how we truly want to live? How can we design products, systems, and services that reflect how we truly want to live?

As possibilities expand, our futures brighten.

01. The Application

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE PIC?

Student Teams That Have Made Substantive Progress on Their Venture

When you apply to the 14-week Spring Venture Program at the Harvard Innovation Labs, you can also opt to apply to the President’s Innovation Challenge. Teams that qualify for the PIC have made progress on their venture beyond the initial ideation stages. They likely have gained market traction such as customers, users, signed partnerships, and/or funds from professional investors.

Student ventures are placed in one of three tracks:

  • Social Impact Track
  • Health & Life Sciences Track
  • Open Track, for ventures that transcend categories

 

Details for Student Applicants

Teams in Launch Lab X GEO and the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab

Venture teams currently in LLX GEO and the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab are automatically eligible to participate in the President’s Innovation Challenge. A selection of these Harvard alumni and affiliate-led ventures will be invited to apply for the PIC. For more information, please see your program administrator.


WHY JOIN THE PIC?

Experience

Teams accepted to the President’s Innovation Challenge benefit from all the resources at the i-lab, including 1:1 staff advising tailored to your industry, matched mentorship, expert office hours, and networking opportunities. Finalist teams also gain valuable experience pitching to judges.

Visibility

Throughout the spring, we will showcase many of our teams through social media and other editorial outlets. Teams chosen as Finalists will be invited to participate in the Awards Ceremony attended by the global innovation and investment communities.

Prize Money

The President’s Innovation Challenge is an opportunity to win a share of $510,000 in prize money, generously provided by the Bertarelli Foundation.

  • The grand prize award for each track is $75,000
  • The runner-up award is $25,000

Community

The conversations you have and the relationships you build are vital toward your progress as a team. Participating fully in a community of passionate entrepreneurs facing similar challenges can buoy you through successes, help you through frustrations, and support you well beyond the PIC experience.


WHAT ARE THE PIC TRACKS?

Accepted venture teams are placed into the track that is most appropriate for their venture. Each track awards $100,000 total in Bertarelli Foundation prize money.

Social Impact
The Social Impact Track is open to teams that want to make our planet safer, more equitable, sustainable, and beautiful. The critical issues they address include social equity, the depletion of finite resources, helping artists and cultural traditions thrive, and more.

Sub-categories include but are not limited to: arts, equity, education, environment, economic development, food, and sustainable agriculture.
Health & Life Sciences
The Health & Life Sciences Track is open to any team improving the efficacy of healthcare services, including therapeutics, devices, health systems, health IT, and data analytics. Projects may address a wide range of issues, from improving access to care to realizing the potential of personalized therapies.
Open
The Open Track recognizes that great ideas can transcend categories and may include commercial enterprises, including both business-to-consumer and business-to-business models. Greater economic opportunity also requires improvements in connectivity, infrastructure, and resource optimization.

Sub-categories include but are not limited to: sports, technology, security, consumer products, food and beverage, and virtual and augmented reality applications.
Launch Lab X GEO
Harvard’s Launch Lab X GEO supports alumni-led ventures across the globe that disrupt and reimagine their industries. LLX GEO participants in the President’s Innovation Challenge are automatically accepted as Semi-Finalists.
Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab
This category includes groundbreaking biotech and life sciences startups founded by Harvard students, alumni, faculty, and postdoctoral scholars. Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab participants in the President’s Innovation Challenge are automatically accepted as Semi-Finalists.

 

WHEN IS THE PIC?

January 1. You apply! PIC applications for students are due by 11:59 pm EST on January 5, 2022.
2. The PIC selection committee evaluates which stage your venture has reached.
February 3. PIC Semi-Finalist and Venture Program acceptances are sent out to teams.
4. Semi-Finalists update their applications with new milestones and traction for the Finalist selection.
April 5. Judges select 15 student Finalist teams (five in each track) to pitch for the awards.
6. Finalists pitch live in front of a judging panel who will determine the grand prize and runner-up awards for each track.
May 7. At the President’s Innovation Challenge Awards Ceremony on May 5, 2022, grand prize and runner-up awards are announced for the $75K and $25K Bertarelli Foundation prizes in each track.

Have questions about the PIC?

Join us at the PIC Launch Event from 5-6 pm on December 8 to find out how the PIC works this year and get all your questions answered! You’ll gain tips on how to create a standout application and hear from founders who applied last year.

You can also…

TAKE PART IN THE PIC!

The PIC is an opportunity to build something necessary and new, and be inspired by what’s possible. It’s also a chance to join an inspired and inspiring community of innovators who care as much about the questions as the solutions. Take the challenge to discover how more human futures are possible!
I’m ready to apply!

 

Apply by January 5 to be considered for the 2022 President’s Innovation Challenge.