Reimagining vision correction in humans, creating a fairer money transfer solution for African migrants, and designing new systems for coastal flood protection were three of the initiatives recognized at the Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge Awards ceremony. on May 5th.
“Bringing together people from across the university – people with different skills and perspectives – and watching them put their knowledge into practice is one of my favorite things about being president,” said Harvard University president Larry Bacow. “It makes me proud of this great institution and optimistic about its future and the future of our world.”
The President’s Innovation Challenge awards ceremony attracted attendees to the Klarman Hall and a virtual audience from around the world. During the hybrid event, initiatives founded by Harvard students, alumni and affiliates showed their solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. The winning companies received a share of $ 510,000 in prizes from the Bertarelli Foundation.
Winners of this year’s $ 75,000 prize
- Adaptilens to revolutionize vision correction by restoring the eye’s ability to focus;
- Auri to redesign the medical services and supplies that people in the disabled community use every day, starting with a safely reusable intermittent urinary catheter system;
- Tint to help people find the best beauty products for their complexion;
- Limax Biosciences for the treatment of internal and external lesions with a stretchable adhesive hydrogel; And
- My speech to enable access to high quality speech therapy through a technological platform.
During the event, President Joe Biden sent a congratulatory letter to the winners, with special recognition from Myspeech:
I send my heartfelt greetings to all the talented finalists of the Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge 2022 … I would like to especially thank this year’s social impact winners for tackling something that is deeply personal to me and millions of people in Worldwide. Growing up, I stammered. I remember the pain, terror and fear of speaking in front of a group or even another person. But I have also learned that when you persevere in the face of the struggle, you will be stronger. And Myspeech’s efforts will help so many people to persevere. You will help change people’s lives for the better.
“I am so honored and humbled. I would like to thank my fantastic team and the i-lab. It is just a true statement that every person who stutters deserves help. Thank you very much, “said Nathan Mallipeddi, founder and CEO of Myspeech, after receiving the $ 75,000 Student Social Impact Pathway award. Mallipeddi is a medical candidate at Harvard Medical School.
The five winners of the $ 25,000 prize
- CashEx for helping African migrants send money free of charge;
- Cass Vita Inc for the use of proprietary technologies to foster the prosperity of small farmers;
- Imago rehabilitation for the creation of a robot-assisted virtual clinic that restores hand function to stroke survivors;
- M13 Therapeutic to deliver any gene to any cell with a unique phage-derived particle; And
- VATARA for the design of low-cost negative pressure wound therapies.
The President’s Innovation Challenge also awarded $ 10,000 in Ingenuity Awards to teams that promote ideas with the potential to change the world, even if they are not yet fully formed businesses.
The four winners of the $ 2,500 prize
- Coastal protection solutions for the design of readily deployable systems for coastal flood protection;
- Listen to connect hearing aids with the brain to identify a speaker in the crowd;
- crazy for the creation of an early avalanche warning system; And
- spoke for cultivating fluent speakers of endangered and extinct Native American languages.
“Since we opened in November 2011, we have worked with over 3,000 initiatives,” said Matt Segneri, Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Executive Director of Harvard Innovation Labs. “We’ve seen founders from 150 countries … and they’ve raised more than $ 5 billion. Tonight is a showcase of the incredible scale of innovation across the University. We are a true One Harvard effort ”.
The President’s Innovation Challenge awards are funded by the Bertarelli Foundation, which announced the President’s Innovation Challenge Fund in October 2017. This gift extends the Bertarelli Foundation’s support for innovation and entrepreneurship at Harvard, which began in 2013 when the Foundation funded the Deans’ Health and Life Sciences Challenge.
“I am very proud to have supported the President’s Innovation Challenge since its inception and during that time I have seen it develop and nurture hundreds of young entrepreneurs,” said Ernesto Bertarelli, MBA ’93. “Each of them tries to make the world a better place and to help some of the most disadvantaged or marginalized in our societies. It is a truly inspiring program. As I watched the Challenge grow, I observed a number of common traits in the finalists. Each of them has the tenacity to learn, to create and, above all, to never give up “.
To find out more about the finalists and winners of the President’s Innovation Challenge, visit https://pic2022.innovationlabs.harvard.edu/.