Robert Howard Next Step Award

Robert Howard Next Step Award Recipients

The Robert Howard Next Step (RHNS) Award provides teams of aspiring health technology innovators with an opportunity to advance their projects toward patient care. The award is now sponsored by PA Consulting, an 80-year-old end-to-end innovation firm with a history of design and engineering breakthroughs. Each year, a winning team is selected to receive design and engineering consulting. This includes a design process or regulatory advising session with the consulting team and a focused two-week “design sprint” to assist with branding, product design, engineering, or other development capabilities.

Applicants selected as finalists present their projects to a panel of Stanford Biodesign faculty and PA Consulting representatives. Winners are selected each May and the award is presented at the Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellowship graduation ceremony in June.

Past Recipients

Past award recipients have developed a wide range of innovative technologies, including a fetal- and mother-monitoring device for use in developing regions and a novel approach to treating essential tremor, the most common adult movement disorder. PA Consulting will continue the tradition of developing such innovative technologies by assisting these groups in many different ways, including workflow analysis, usability studies, sketching sessions to determine form, and assistance with investor presentations. Information about the 2023 award winner (pictured above) is available online.

About Robert Howard

Robert Howard (1962-2011) served as Vice President of Engineering at LUNAR for 15 years. He was a Stanford alumnus (MSME ’86) and a lecturer in the Department of Product Design. Robert loved helping people, teaching, tinkering, making the impossible possible, designing healthcare products, and being involved in the Stanford community — in particular, the Biodesign program.  In 2011, Stanford Biodesign and LUNAR established this memorial award in Robert’s name, and this year PA Consulting has taken over its sponsorship.

What Award Recipients Are Saying…

"We are honored to have been selected for the Robert Howard Next Step Award. We look forward to benefiting from the expertise and resources that LUNAR has to offer, and are excited to collaborate and push our device design forward!"

– Katie Blevins, Co-founder of Barostitch, 2017 award recipient

"Every time we talk about our project we show the renderings that the team developed for us. The images give a great sense of our product vision even though we are are still in active development. We feel extremely fortunate to have received the Robert Howard Award.”

– Justin Huleman, Co-founder of Palmm, 2016 award recipient

"Working with the design team through the Robert Howard Next Step Award helped our team crystalize the design language of our first product. The CAD files and renderings that they provided proved to be very valuable as we spun out of Stanford and joined Start-X, and as we raise a venture round.”

– Eric Sokol, Co-founder of AVA, 2016 award recipient

“The 3D renderings that the team provided were a critical asset in our team’s ability to raise a venture capital round after spinning out of Stanford. The design work was fantastic.”

– Kate Rosenbluth, CEO of Cala Health, 2013 award recipient