The Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh®) is a competition supported by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). The PInCh competition is designed to generate innovative solutions to challenging health problems by mitigating risk and providing financial and administrative support to move ideas forward. The PInCh program stimulates the translation of novel problem-focused research into the community by giving researchers a venue to be creative, develop new ideas, and work with people beyond their usual sphere of collaborators. 

Creative Solutions

The PInCh program recognizes—even celebrates—that solving challenging problems sometimes requires risky solutions. This program aims to mitigate that risk and support some of the early work necessary to move a few of those “wild ideas” forward. Each of the winning teams receive an award for direct costs and project management support to help execute a 12-month project to take the team’s solution one step farther along the path of development.

Diverse Teams

Teams that enter must include at least one University of Pittsburgh faculty member, but can otherwise be made up of individuals from other educational institutions or non-academic organizations (such as community groups or businesses). The PInCh competition hopes to bring together a diverse group of problem solvers who may not otherwise have considered working on a team.


PInCh 2018: What is your idea to improve human performance?

Up to $555,000 in total awards are available for funding for each PInCh contest. Winning projects are awarded $100,000 and select projects are invited to compete for $25,000 awards during a poster session at the final event. If a project receives an award and is eligible for a bonus award, they may receive up to an additional $25,000.

Challenge Details

The PInCh competition is a multi-round competition. Click each round for more information.

  • Teams entering Round One submit a video describing their idea.
  • Teams selected for Round Two submit a written document expand on their idea.
  • Teams selected for Round Three submit a response to reviewers and revisions to their written document and pitch their idea to a panel of judges at the final event.

Project Facilitation Phase

This phase provides semifinalists a more personalized approach to provide a clear path to move their project forward. This phase consists of several advisory meetings to discuss regulatory paths, contracting, IP, budget, data security, etc. and will facilitate the award initiation process.  



CTSI Innovation Core

Since 2014, the CTSI Innovation Core has received 569 applications and awarded $4,000,000 across 81 projects. Subsequently, this has led to $7,200,000 in post-award investments.

Where are they now?

Project updates from previous winners. Learn about the success teams have had since receiving the PInCh award to move their project forward.