The Pitt Innovation Challenge 2021

What is your bold solution to a challenging health problem?

Join the challenge!

Applications are no longer being accepted for PInCh 2021.

Congratulations to the projects advancing to Round Two of the PInCh 2021!

The following projects are invited to Round Two of the competition. Each team will submit a written document expanding on their idea along with a budget and budget justification for a $100,000 award. Finalists will be notified on August 4.

Project Title

Team Lead(s)

A "CRISP "er Pick for Hemophilia A Cure

Haodi Wu

A Decision Aid for Managing Acute Dental Pain

Deborah Polk

CAREY:  Improving the Remote Caregiving Experience

Carissa Low

CuffLink: Safe Remote Rehab in Rotator Cuff Repair

Michael McClincy


Margaret Rosenzweig

Healthy Teeth Healthy Me Family Activity Box

Jacqueline Burgette

Heny: Ensuring Ethical Biospecimen Use with NFTs

Marielle Gross


Catherine Palmer

Lifetime Antiviral Vaccination

Or Shemesh

Neonatal Tele-AR for Rural Care Disparities

Grace Lim


Garrett Coyan, Carl Snyderman

Parenting While Black: Intergenerational Innovation

Kyndra Cleveland, James Huguley

Patient Experience Navigator (PENY)

Eva Roy, Jeff Gusenoff


John Pacella


Jason Rose

Social Media Toolkit for Indigenous Teens at Risk

Denise Charron-Prochownik

The O2 Cube, solar-powered oxygen for the world

James Newton, Carl Snyderman

TRIBUTE for Bereavement in Communities of Color

Laura Dietz

Vanish Biodegradable Stimulator

Trent Emerick


The Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh®) 2021 is seeking your bold 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, provider and patient tools, and community programs.

Your solution does not need to be a product that is ready for commercialization. We welcome early-stage ideas, and projects that can achieve health and societal impact through commercial and non-commercialization pathways. We encourage projects that create new connections within the academic community, and among universities and community organizations.

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


A total of $555,000 in awards are available, with one-year awards ranging from $25,000 - $100,000.

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 solution help prevent and/or reduce health disparities? If so, your project may be eligible for an additional award of up to $25,000.

What is a health disparity? A health disparity is “a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage. Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health based on their racial or ethnic group; religion; socioeconomic status; gender; age; mental health; cognitive, sensory, or physical disability; sexual orientation or gender identity; geographic location; or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion” (Healthy People 2030, US Department of Health and Human Services).

Bonus Award eligibility will be determined during Round Two, by a review panel convened to consider the potential impact of the work on health disparities. Bonus Award qualification is separate from selection for PInCh awards; bonus-eligible projects will receive larger awards, but will not otherwise have a competitive advantage.

How to Enter

The Pitt Innovation Challenge is a multi-round competition:

  • Round One: A two-minute video describing the problem you plan to solve, your idea for a bold novel solution, and your team.
  • Round Two: Selected* teams will be invited to submit a written document expanding on their idea (Project Description, Budget, Budget Justification), and file an Invention Disclosure with the Innovation Institute.
  • Round Three: Selected* teams will be invited to submit a Response to Reviewers, and pitch their idea to a panel of judges at the PInCh final event.

*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 each Round's webpage for submission requirements. 

Need help with your submission? Email us at We’d be happy to connect with you to discuss your ideas and offer guidance on the submission. First-time PInCh applicants and those who have not received awards previously are highly encouraged to contact us.


Entries will be reviewed by a diverse panel of judges representing academia and community members.  Please refer to the Round pages for details on specific judging criteria.

In general, priority will be placed on the following criteria:

  • Problem Definition & Significance
  • Solution & Innovation
  • Team*

*Teams must include at least one University of Pittsburgh faculty member, and are encouraged to include cross-discipline (or multi-university) academic partners and community groups or businesses.

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 will take place in the fall of 2021. Updates will be posted here and on Twitter at #PittPInChEvent.

Join the challenge!

Applications are no longer being accepted for PInCh 2021.