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Innovative solutions, students are center of Utah’s premier Bench to Bedside competition

Picture of University of Utah campus at sunset with PIVOT Center and Bench to bedside logos in bottom right corner

The University of Utah’s flagship healthcare innovation program, the annual Bench to Bedside (B2B) competition brings together university students from across Utah to form teams focused on building innovative medical devices and digital applications to address real-world problems in health care. Participating students — who come from multiple disciplines ranging from architecture to the arts, engineering to law, and biology to business — learn the power which diversity of backgrounds and skillsets can bring to the innovation process.

Over the course of the academic year, students are given the opportunity to connect with health care professionals and learn about the challenges they face in their daily roles. With these challenges in mind, student teams work to define the clinical problem, evaluate the patent landscape and regulatory pathway, create a proof-of-concept prototype, and develop a go-to-market strategy for commercialization. Throughout the year, the Center for Medical Innovation provides training workshops on these topics from industry professionals and academic experts, as well as direct engineering and prototyping support for student teams.

PIVOT Center provides guidance regarding intellectual property ownership, which streamlines the IP protection process enabling the student centric teams to quickly advance and protect their technology, while allowing faculty-involved teams to be unobstructed by the IP protection process.

The program culminates at the annual Bench to Bedside Competition Night event at the Utah State Capitol Building. Student teams showcase their projects in a gala-style event, meeting with competition judges, industry professionals, mentors, investors, University leadership, community members, family, and friends. Judges submit their final scores during the showcase with award winners in each category, as well as the grand prize winners being recognized at the end of the evening in an awards ceremony. The top teams receive nearly $100,000 in awards each year as milestone funding to further support project development.

Program Principles

  • Provide an intensive experiential education through a hands-on real-world environment
  • Develop interdisciplinary teams of innovators comprised of healthcare professionals, students, investors and industry experts
  • Immerse our innovation teams into the clinical environment where they can identify and understand healthcare needs first-hand
  • Provide teams the ecosystem, resources and education to all them to accelerate new technologies from concept to commercialization

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