The Pitt Innovation Challenge 2020

What is your innovative solution to a challenging health problem?

Join the Challenge!

 Applications are no longer being accepted for PInCh 2020.


The Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh®) 2020 is seeking your innovative solution to a challenging 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

How to Enter

The Pitt Innovation Challenge is a multi-round competition. To enter Round One, submit a two-minute video describing the problem you plan to solve, your idea for a bold solution, and your team. 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. 

All proposals will be reviewed. 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 30.

*Participants for Rounds Two and Three are chosen from prior rounds; it is not possible to enter PInCh at Round Two or Three.

Need help with your video submission? Email us at and we can connect with you to discuss your ideas and offer guidance on the submission.


A total of $555,000 in awards are available. Winning projects are awarded $100,000; 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 select projects will be awarded $25,000 in funding and may be eligible for an additional $5,000 bonus award ($30,000 total). Selection for PInCh awards is independent of whether a particular project is eligible for a bonus award. 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. 

Bonus Award

Does your idea impact aspects of health related to an epidemic or pandemic?  If so, your project may be eligible for an additional award of up to $25,000. 

This year we are incentivizing solutions that impact aspects of health related to an epidemic or pandemic through bonus awards. These bonus awards are intentionally broader than just COVID-19 pandemic focused research.  If you have an idea that may impact health during an epidemic or pandemic, consider highlighting that in your video and competing for this bonus award.  

If you would like to be considered for the bonus award: 

  • Use an additional 25 seconds at the end of your Round One video application describing how the project addresses epidemic or pandemic health issues (total video = 2 minutes and 25 seconds). 
  • Bonus eligibility will be determined by a review panel convened to consider the potential impact of the work on an epidemic or pandemic.  Selection for PInCh awards is independent of whether a particular project is eligible for a bonus award. Subsequent judging will be the same as other PInCh projects; eligible awards will just be larger

Challenge Details

The Pitt Innovation Challenge consists of three distinct submission periods. Please refer to the timeline for the key dates corresponding with each round.

  • Teams entering Round One must submit a video describing their idea
  • Teams selected for Round Two must submit a written document expanding on their idea
  • 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?

Join the Challenge!

Applications are no longer being accepted for PInCh 2020.

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. The final event and awards announcement will take place on September 30, 2020. Check out #PittPInChEvent on Twitter.

*Note, this year's event will be modified to ensure the health and safety of all participants. Details regarding the event format will be available in July.