Ensuring a future with the greatest possibilities in health technology
innovation begins with securing the future of Stanford Biodesign.

A Message from Josh Makower

Thanks to our community of supporters, the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign brings together the world’s most talented minds to create the future of healthcare. In our first 20 years, we launched a new generation of health technology innovators while sharing our needs-based innovation process around the globe. These amazing Stanford Biodesigners have invented hundreds of health technologies, launched dozens of companies, raised hundreds of millions of dollars, taught thousands of others our unique biodesign innovation process, and helped millions of patients.

Stanford Biodesign has achieved these results with the support of our industry, foundation, and individual donors. We rely almost completely on philanthropic gifts to run our yearly programs and are grateful to the generous donors who have invested in our vision so far.

As we look to the next 20 years, your support will be more important than ever. When I became director of Stanford Biodesign, I worked with the team to define an ambitious new purpose statement:

Advancing health outcomes and equity through innovation education, translation, and policy.

Education will remain at the heart of everything we do. So, by endowing our fellowships and core educational programs, you will enable us to continue training aspiring innovators and empowering them to deliver solutions to the world’s biggest health challenges.

In parallel, we are expanding our efforts across the rapidly changing health ecosystem through three strategic initiatives intended to bring our new purpose to life:

  • Impact Health Policy. Without effective health policies, the best innovations may never achieve their desired impact. Through a rigorous research agenda and policy-oriented educational programs, we plan to proactively inform policy makers and affect the policy debate so that more patients get timely access to life-changing technology innovations. 
  • Tackle Broader Lifesciences. New technological advances now make it possible to apply our need-driven approach beyond medical devices, device-based diagnostics, and digital health to segments of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical fields. We are exploring how to adapt our process to support effective and efficient biopharma innovation that makes a whole new solution set available to our trainees and the patients they serve. 
  • Enable Better Health for All. Not all communities have benefitted equally from technology innovation in the healthcare sector. However, technology – done right – has the potential to equalize health access and outcomes. Toward this end, we are forging targeted partnerships with a mission to improve health and healthcare for traditionally underserved populations in the US and internationally.

Your involvement will help us achieve these new initiatives while continuing to teach and share the biodesign innovation process for generations to come. Together we can ensure a future where the greatest advances in health technology are realized, leading to a healthier world for all.

Join us.

Josh Makower
Director, Stanford Biodesign


“I’m just one of the many volunteers who have worked with Stanford Biodesign. For over 15 years, I’ve had the pleasure of mentoring, coaching, and supporting fellows and the program. It has been an honor to get to know Paul Yock, Josh Makower, and the talented leadership team very well.

I’m thrilled that Stanford Biodesign has earned the designation of a formal ‘Center’ at Stanford. This program is uniquely positioned to improve human health around the world. Their fellows and medical innovations change healthcare and already have directly benefited hundreds of thousands of patients. And, they’re inspiring and empowering others by sharing best practices globally.

– Brook Byers, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Sharing the Vision

Thank You, Cottrell Foundation

The Frederick Gardner Cottrell Foundation provides financial support to educational nonprofits to help technologies developed at universities reach and benefit the public. Although many approaches have been tried, universities still struggle to effectively transfer needed academic innovations to public use. The translation of health technologies is particularly challenging given the complex landscape of stakeholders that must be satisfied in order to bring a new technology to the market.   

In 2020, Stanford Biodesign and Fogarty Innovation, both 501c(3) philanthropic nonprofits, formed a formal collaboration to address the gap between promising health technology projects and their ability to successfully launch as fundable businesses that can deliver these innovations to patients. This collaboration, temporarily titled BFx, links the expertise of the two groups to accelerate high potential projects along their journey to patient care by providing a comprehensive program of intensive education, mentorship, and support. 

We believe the continual engagement of experts with deep experience in the real world of commercialization will significantly expedite the translation of university-developed solutions to important unmet healthcare needs into public use. The Cottrell Foundation saw merit in this approach and has agreed to support this collaboration with a generous $5 million grant over the next five years. 

We are incredibly grateful for this gift. In particular, we would like to thank Christopher P. Martin, President, Medical Devices & Chief Financial Officer of RCT, and Avi Roop, Managing Director of RCT, for their vision and trust in Stanford Biodesign and Fogarty Innovation as we seek to advance Dr. Cottrell’s mission of “science in service of society.”