The Michael G. Wells Competition is sponsored by the Michael G. Wells Entrepreneurial Scholars Fund, and is for University of Pittsburgh students who are developing innovations related to the healthcare field.

Students (individually or as a team) will be given the opportunity to present their innovations on October 20, 2022, and compete for a total of $40,000 in the Michael G. Wells Entrepreneurial Scholars Award to help move their idea towards commercialization.


  • University of Pittsburgh students undergraduate to postdocs working on a healthcare-related Pitt technology or new idea
  • Possess an idea that could change the way healthcare is practiced
  • Interested in learning about starting a business

Applications are now open.


Michael G. Wells Healthcare Competition Funds amounts awarded to department:

•       1st Place $20,000

•       2nd Place $15,000

•       3rd Place $5,000

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    1. Pitt undergrad, grad students, or postdocs from the Oakland campus may apply with a faculty sponsor.
    2. Student applicants must represent a Pitt technology originating from Pitt research.
    3. Past winners of the Michael G. Wells Competition are not eligible to compete.
    4. Applications are to be submitted using the online application by 12:00 noon EST on September 7, 2022. Please note that only responses to the required questions will be reviewed; additional materials and attachments are not permitted. For team-based ideas, the lead student (presenting student) must meet eligibility requirements indicated above. All team members’ contact information should be listed on one application form.
    5. The Innovation Institute is not responsible for technical problems resulting in submissions not being received.
    6. Entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges on the basis of innovation, feasibility, market potential, and student motivation/dedication.
    7. Finalists will be notified by the week of September 19, 2022. All finalists will be paired with a business mentor to develop an eight-minute presentation PowerPoint pitch deck and provide a one-minute video elevator pitch of their idea on October 20, 2022. Finalists will also participate in business and presentation development workshops.
    8. All judges’ decisions will be final.
    9. Winners understand the award is to be used within the University for pre-commercialization and technology validation activities. The award funds will be transferred to a University account designated by awardee and their faculty sponsor. Award funds must be expended in accordance with University policy and cannot be used for faculty salary or stipend. Line item budgets will be required and must be submitted and approved by the Innovation Institute prior to transfer of funds.
    10. The University will own and protect related Pitt intellectual property rights arising from the development activities using the Award Funds. If the University licenses or commercializes any intellectual property, the awardees considered to be inventors, creators, or developers will receive a share of proceeds consistent with the terms of the University of Pittsburgh Intellectual Property Policy, as applicable.

Second Place — Manual Wheelchair Virtual Coach, Led by S. Andrea Sundaram, the team from the Human Engineering Research Laboratory has created a device to instill good re-positioning habits for wheelchair users to prevent pressure ulcers.

Previous Michael G. Wells Competition winners have progressed within the University entrepreneurial ecosystem and have participated and received additional funding through the Center for Medical Innovation and the Coulter Translational Research Partners II Program and the Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh)  and the Chancellor’s Gap Fund.



Paul Petrovich

Assistant Director of Business Development

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