Biodesign Innovation Fellowship


The Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellowship trains participants in the biodesign innovation process – a repeatable, proven process for identifying, inventing, and implementing new health technologies. Check out the following video series to learn more about the process from Stanford Biodesign faculty and fellows.

  • Stage 1

    Stage 1 Needs Finding

    Understand the importance of needs finding and what you should expect as you undertake this first, essential stage of the biodesign innovation process.
  • Stage 2

    Stage 2 Needs Screening

    Learn how needs screening works and get pointers from Stanford Biodesign faculty and fellows about prioritizing and filtering unmet clinical needs.
  • Stage 3

    Stage 3 Concept Generation

    Hear about concept generation and how the fellows make the most of this high-energy stage of the process.
  • Stage 4

    Stage 4 Concept Screening

    Discover what happens during the concept screening stage and how the fellows decide which solutions to take forward toward patient care.
  • Stage 5

    Stage 5 Strategy Development

    Explore common challenges associated with the strategy development stage of the biodesign innovation process and approaches the fellows take to mitigate key risks.
  • Stage 6

    Stage 6 Business Planning

    Find out what happens during business planning, and hear advice from faculty, fellows, and advisors for pursuing opportunities in the health technology sector.

Month-By-Month View

The Biodesign Innovation Fellowship is action-packed from the first day that the program begins in August through its completion in mid-June. Review this month-by-month view of the curriculum to get a feel for the pace and timing of this unique educational experience.


Biodesign Innovation FellowshipClick the image to watch a video of the boot camp experience

August: Boot Camp

The Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellowship begins in August with an intense "boot camp" experience, during which the fellows get a crash course in the clinical focus area that has been chosen for the year and practice the biodesign innovation process through an accelerated "mini project." Boot camp also provides our fellows with a diversity of interactions with health technology experts, as well as opportunities to explore Stanford, get to know their teammates, and have some fun in the process. 

September: Needs Finding

During September, the Biodesign Innovation Fellows immerse themselves in needs finding by shadowing patients and physicians, attending rounds, and observing cases in the clinic, wards, operating rooms, procedure labs, and intensive care units. These observations are conducted at Stanford Health Care, as well as other traditional and non-traditional care settings relevant to the clinical focus area for the fellowship year. The goal is to identify hundreds of important unmet clinical needs facing healthcare providers, patients, and other stakeholders in the field.

October - November: Needs Screening

Next, the Biodesign Innovation Fellows evaluate the identified needs to determine which ones represent the most compelling opportunities. This screening and prioritizing exercise involves extensive clinical research, as well as progressively in-depth competitive and market analysis. The fellows also conduct validation interviews with a broad range of stakeholders with an interest in the need area(s). The fellows then use the resulting information to iteratively narrow the team’s focus to the most promising four needs.


December - January: Concept Generation and Screening

In this phase, the Biodesign Fellows begin brainstorming solutions to their top needs. Dozens of solution ideas are developed for each need. This is an iterative process that includes detailed research related to intellectual property, regulation, payment pathways, and business models. In parallel, the fellows get hands-on experience building prototypes to bring their ideas to life. Biodesign has a dedicated prototyping lab, and the fellows can also access Stanford’s Product Realization Laboratory and other engineering resources across campus. Ultimately, they choose one or two needs and the best accompanying solutions to take forward into implementation.


February - March: Strategy Development and Business Planning

At this stage, the fellows develop and integrate concrete intellectual property, regulatory, clinical, quality, and reimbursement strategies to take their ideas forward. At the same time, they actively work to develop and de-risk their technologies through research and development, and engineering and testing. Ultimately, they build actionable operating plans, explore funding alternatives, and develop a proposal (pitch) for launching a robust research program, licensing strategy, or the creation of a new start-up company.

April: Final Presentations

Each Biodesign Innovation Fellowship team presents its project to a group of experts representing the clinical, engineering, entrepreneurial, investment, and corporate sectors of the health technology industry. They receive feedback on their ideas and plans, and prepare to transition into their chosen leadership roles in the health tech field.

May: “Customization” Phase

For the last portion of their training experience, the fellows spend approximately four to six weeks pursuing a “custom” experience that best aligns with their career interests/goals. Some fellows might take a short-term position in a segment of the health technology industry in which they’ve never worked (incubator, start-up company, design firm, venture capital firm, major technology corporation). Others may choose to validate their project need or initiate a separate needs finding exercise in a global market. Still other may decide to continue pursuing their projects with the hope of advancing them closer to patient care. The idea is for each fellow to create a unique culminating experience for their fellowship training.

June: Graduation

Finally, the fellows celebrate their individual and collective accomplishments—and the new skills they have developed—at the Stanford Biodesign graduation ceremony.