The Pitt Innovation Challenge 2019

What is your bold idea to solve a health-related problem?

The PInCh application period has closed and will reopen in 2020.

The Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh®) 2019 is seeking your bold solution to an important health problem. We encourage proposals from any discipline and on any topic that impacts health. Ideas can span the spectrum of health and healthcare, including disease prevention, diagnostics, treatments, interventions, predictive solutions, patient care, and provider and patient tools, and community programs. We encourage projects that create new teams and build new connections within the academic community and among universities and community organizations to foster an ecosystem of innovation. Your solution does not need to be a product that is ready for commercialization.  

If you have questions or would like to learn more, visit the FAQ page or e-mail us at

View the Advancing Projects

Congratulations to the teams advancing to Round Three of PInCh! The final event will be held on September 25, 2019.


Up to $555,000 in total awards are available for funding.

Funding up to $100,000 is awarded to the winning projects. However, if your project qualifies for the bonus award, then your project may be awarded up to an additional $25,000 ($125,000 total). Other projects will be awarded $25,000 in funding and may be eligible for an additional $5,000 bonus award ($30,000 total). In addition to receiving funding for direct costs, each winning team will receive project management support to help execute a 12-month project that moves the team’s solution one step further along the path of development. 

Past PInCh Contests

The PInCh program has been challenging creative minds to tackle difficult health issues since the Spring of 2014. Learn more about past PInCh contests.

Bonus Award

Does your idea impact health disparities in a rural setting? If so, your project may be eligible for an additional award up to $25,000. 

Rural Americans are a population that experiences significant health disparities. Risk factors may include geographic isolation, demographics, socioeconomics, and higher rates of health risk behaviors.  Studies have also shown that rural residents are older and have more limited access to healthcare providers. PInCh is offering a bonus prize to funded teams whose solutions specifically aim to reduce one or more rural health disparities.

Examples of topics include:

  • Novel programs that promote healthier behaviors in a rural setting
  • Tools that provide increased access to healthcare services in a rural setting (e.g., telemedicine)
  • A new technology that helps ensure clean water or limits exposure to specific environmental hazards and exposures common in agricultural or mining settings

Visit the Rural Health Information Hub to learn more about rural health disparities.

Challenge Details

The Pitt Innovation Challenge consists of three distinct submission periods. Participants for Rounds Two and Three are chosen from prior rounds; it is not possible to enter PInCh at Round Two or Three. Please refer to the chart below for the start and end dates corresponding with each round.

  • Teams entering Round One must submit a video describing their idea. Teams that enter must include at least one University of Pittsburgh faculty member, but can include individuals from other educational institutions or non-academic organizations such as community groups or businesses. A panel of rural primary care physicians will review projects to confirm bonus award eligibility.    
  • Teams chosen for Round Two will be invited to submit a written document to expand on the idea. A second round of review will select teams for Round Three, which will require a response to reviewers, revisions to the written document, and an elevator pitch to a panel of judges and a live audience at the PInCh Final Event on September 25.
  • Teams selected for Round Three must submit a response to reviewers, revisions to their written document, and pitch their idea to a panel of judges at the final event.

Judging Criteria

PInCh entries will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Significance and impact of the articulated problem and corresponding solution
    • Does the project address an important problem or critical barrier in the field?
    • How will the solution, if successful, change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?
  • Innovation of the proposed solution
    • Does the project propose novel concepts, methods, instrumentation, or interventions?
    • Does the project challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms?
  • Feasibility and approach of the proposed solution
    • Is the methodology well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? 
    • If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed?

Final Event

The Pitt Innovation Challenge award winners will be chosen at the final event, where teams will pitch their solutions in front of a panel of judges. Check out #PittPInChEvent on Twitter.

The final event will take place on Sept 25, 2019. All advancing teams are required to attend.