May 2011

Pop Science selects Antenatal E-Team 'pen' as Invention of the Year


Since being selected to attend this year's Open Minds showcase in March, the Antenatal Screening Kit E-Team from Johns Hopkins University has earned a growing media following.

The team's invention, a suite of pens that can be used to screen expectant mothers for treatable diseases and health problems, has been featured in Popular Science's 'Invention of the Year' issue (June 2011, page 62).

The team was also featured in the JHU Gazette -- read the story here.







Support Us

Innovation and entrepreneurship are key elements of the US's continuing economic competitiveness and prosperity. Universities are the engine that drives US innovation.

Each year, NCIIA provides university student innovators and entrepreneurs the funding and training they need to create successful, socially beneficial ventures.




NCIIA provides the only source of early stage funding available to student entrepreneurs. Each year we award more than 20 E-Team grants, which are used by student teams to build prototypes and conduct market research and testing.

Once in our E-Team program, these teams then receive ongoing support from NCIIA staff and partners: business strategy training, mentoring, publicity, and investment advice.

NCIIA's goal is to increase the scale - and impact - of its university venture development activities.

To fund this work, we rely on the support of our network and of our partners - organizations that share our mission. All contributions are greatly appreciated, and help to advance our impact.


NEW! IdeaLab and TeachingLab for BME faculty and students


This summer, NCIIA and the Biomedical Engineering Society, with funding from The Coulter Foundation, will help you and your students create solutions to the world's toughest health problems.

When: June 27-30, 2011

Where: Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 

NCIIA and BMES are offering these opportunities to enhance your teaching, to help your students generate ideas for new BME innovations, and to prepare for their careers.

BMES IdeaLab -- For rising seniors: allows them to explore ideas in a highly creative environment, evaluate them and quickly iterate to come up with the best solutions.

BMES TeachingLab -- For faculty: learn how to deliver the IdeaLab program or how to embed parts of the program within your existing couses.

Spaces are filling up fast so register today!


New E-Team - Antenatal Screening Kit - wins ABC/Duke Reinventing Maternal Health Challenge!

One of NCIIA's most recent E-Teams, the Antenatal Screening Kit team from Johns Hopkins University, has won the inaugural ABC/Duke University 'Reinventing Maternal Health Challenge.' The Challenge was devised in partnership with The Lemelson Foundation.

The JHU team has developed a screening kit - delivered through a pen - to provide low-cost healthcare to women in even the remotest villages. The kit includes a variety of custom markers pre-filled with reagents for screening tests for conditions including pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, malnutrition, and anemia.

Selected from more than 65 video entries submitted by university students internationally, the JHU team will be awarded $10,000 and will be provided mentoring and support from The Lemelson Foundation.



University of Virginia, 2010 - $9,945

The current gold standard treatment for forearm fractures includes a period of full immobilization of the site of injury (typically six to eight weeks) followed by routine physical therapy to regain muscle strength and range of motion. However, each year approximately 6.8 million Americans experience immobilization-induced muscle atrophy, which increases recovery time and vulnerability to further injuries.
This team’s solution is a modular cast design dubbed the PuzzleCast. It consists of several interlocking thermoplastic components that have the ability to unlock degrees of freedom while still maintaining immobilization of the injured area. By increasing range of motion during the healing process, blood flow is increased, muscle atrophy is reduced, and overall healing time and physical therapy are shortened.

Wearable Multimodal Wayfinding Techniques for Blind and Visually Impaired People

City College of New York, 2010 - $8,000

This grant will support planning and development of a cross-department joint undergraduate senior design course in computer science, computer engineering, and electrical engineering at City College of New York. In the course, students will develop multimodal and unobtrusive techniques for helping the blind and visually impaired.

The course will be a two-semester sequence for seniors. In the first semester, students will learn the basics of sensors, actuators, visual navigation algorithms, and assistive technologies, as well as business and social issues. In the second semester, students will form into teams and study the needs of blind users, create designs of new assistive technologies, prototype them, and perform usability studies in collaboration with NYS Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped and the Computer Center for Visually Impaired people at CUNY Baruch College.

Development of a Center for Student Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the CTech Incubator @ University of Bridgeport (Planning Grant)

University of Bridgeport, 2010 - $8,000

This grant supports the development of a plan for a new center at the University of Bridgeport that connects students with the local business incubator and its companies. The program will focus on student teams developing new products focused on human health, either by working on their own ideas or by working on existing products being developed by businesses in the incubator.

The objectives of the program are to: take product ideas from the concept phase through prototype development and business plan creation; create a sustainable method for students to work with the incubator and its businesses while gaining college credit and experience; and demonstrate to area businesses the value of working with UB E-Teams.


Building a Productive Ecosystem for Tech-based Social Entrepreneurship at MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010 - $34,300

While MIT has a well-established pipeline to take traditional technology ideas from research to commercialization, no such cohesive ecosystem exists on campus for development-focused, social entrepreneurship projects. But at the same time there is a tremendous amount of student activity on campus in research and development focused on underserved communities around the world.

To help these BoP focused projects move from the lab to the market, this grant will provide funding to create several new tools, programs, and courses at MIT: developing an Expert In Residence program that provides opportunities for students to interact with visiting scholar-entrepreneurs with expertise in technology design, development, and commercialization of social enterprises; creating an easily accessible, central virtual repository for development technologies and innovations created on campus; writing social entrepreneurship case studies; mentoring via a Boston-area venture mentoring event; and a new course providing students with the practical and tangible skills and experience necessary in running successful social enterprises.

The InVenture Prize: An Undergraduate Invention Competition at Georgia Tech

Georgia Institute of Technology, 2010 - $43,000

The InVenture Prize is an undergraduate invention competition at Georgia Tech that provides incentives, resources, and a structure for student innovation in a fun, high profile, televised event. The second year of the competition (2009-10) involved 300 student inventors, 60 faculty, 1,000 audience members, 50,000 television viewers, $30,000 in prizes, sixteen provisional patents and two utility patents filed, and national media coverage by CNN, NPR and others.

This grant will help transform the competition into a business-launching platform by incorporating a preparatory technology-focused curriculum, a series of high-profile competitive rounds, and follow-on support and mentorship. The top three objectives of the grant are to: increase by 50% from 2010 the number of interdisciplinary teams participating in the competition (as well as the number of teams comprising minorities, the number of teams tackling human needs/social entrepreneurship challenges, and the number of successful teams after the competition); build and strengthen infrastructure for the televised final round of the competition; and continue to use the competition to foster a culture of innovation at Georgia Tech.

Wake Forest Innovation Fellows Program

Wake Forest University, 2010 - $29,000

This grant supports the development of an Innovation Fellows Certificate program at Wake Forest. The program will include a series of workshops to increase the innovation and commercialization skills of students, faculty and staff; a mentoring/coaching component for emerging student teams; and resources to assist students in the commercialization process.

The certificate will primarily be targeted at students enrolled in Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise courses as well as faculty and staff interested in guiding student teams through the innovation and commercialization process. Industry mentors and coaches will be recruited through Wake Forest’s existing network, developed through the NSF Partners for Innovation program.