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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams (DEBUT) Challenge 2018

NIBIB is challenging teams of undergraduate students to design solutions to unmet clinical needs.

Department of Health and Human Services - National Institutes of Health

Type of Challenge: Scientific
Partner Agencies | Non-federal: VentureWell
Submission Start: 03/09/2018 12:00 AM ET
Submission End: 05/31/2018 11:59 PM ET

This challenge is externally hosted.

You can view the challenge details here:


DEBUT challenges teams of undergraduate students to identify an unmet need in healthcare and develop a working solution to it. Prizes of up to $20,000 will be awarded, with a total prize purse of $45,000 offered by NIBIB.  The applicants will also have the option of being considered for additional prizes totaling $20,000 offered by VentureWell.  Strong DEBUT submissions will demonstrate mastery of analytical and design skills and capabilities; the ability to manage the product development process; the ability to work effectively in teams; and technical communication skills.


1st, 2nd, 3rd place prizes
1st, 2nd, 3rd place prizes


(1) To be eligible to win a prize under this Challenge, an individual must be a member of a “Student Team” as described below, and each individual of a “Student Team”: a) Must be an undergraduate student enrolled full-time in an undergraduate curriculum during at least one full semester (or quarter if the institution is on a quarter system) of the 2017-2018 academic year; b) Must form or join a “Student Team” with at least two other individuals for the purpose of developing an entry for submission to this challenge. Each student on the Student Team must satisfy all the requirements for competing in this challenge. While at least one Student on the Team must be from a biomedical engineering or bioengineering department (e.g., majoring in biomedical engineering or bioengineering), interdisciplinary teams including students from other fields are welcome and encouraged; c) Shall be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. Foreign students who are studying in the United States on a visa are eligible to be part of the competing Student Teams. However, they will not receive a monetary prize if they are part of a winning Student Team. See Prize section below for the distribution of prizes. As acknowledgement of their participation, however, the names of foreign students who are part of winning Student Teams will be listed among the winning team members when results are announced and at the award ceremony. d) Must be a member of only one Student Team; e) Must be 13 years of age or older. Individuals who are younger than 18 must have their parent or legal guardian complete the Parental Consent Form;* f) Shall have agreed to be registered by the Team Captain (selected by the Student Team) to participate in the Challenge under the rules promulgated by the NIH as listed here; g) Shall have complied with all the requirements set forth here; h) May not be a Federal entity; i) May not be a Federal employee acting within the scope of the employee’s employment and further, in the case of HHS employees, may not work on their submission(s) during assigned duty hours; j) May not be an employee of the NIH, a judge of the challenge, or any other party involved with the design, production, execution, or distribution of the Challenge or the immediate family of such a party (i.e., spouse, parent, step-parent, child, or step-child); and k) Must acknowledge understanding and acceptance of the DEBUT challenge rules by signing the NIBIB DEBUT Challenge Certification Form.* Each entry must include one NIBIB DEBUT Challenge Certification Form, completed with: the printed names of Student Team members, an indication of whether the team member is either a US citizen or permanent resident (as opposed to a foreign student on a visa), and be signed and dated by each individual member of the Student Team. Entries that do not provide a complete Certification Form will be disqualified from the challenge; *Forms must contain an actual signature. Handwriting-like fonts are not acceptable substitution. Forms without actual signatures will be considered incomplete and could result in disqualification from the challenge. (2) Each entry into this challenge must have been conceived, designed, and implemented by the Student Team without any significant contribution from other individuals. (3) Federal grantees may not use Federal funds to develop their Challenge submissions unless use of such funds is consistent with the purpose of their grant award and specifically requested to do so due to the Challenge design. (4) Federal contractors may not use Federal funds from a contract to develop their Challenge submissions or to fund efforts in support of their Challenge submission. (5) Submissions must not infringe upon any copyright or any other rights of any third party. (6) By participating in this Challenge, each individual and entity agrees to assume any and all risks and waive claims against the Federal government and its related entities (as defined in the COMPETES Act), except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from participation in this Challenge, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise. (7) Based on the subject matter of the Challenge, the type of work that it will possibly require, as well as an analysis of the likelihood of any claims for death, bodily injury, property damage, or loss potentially resulting from Challenge participation, no individual participating in the Challenge is required to obtain liability insurance or demonstrate financial responsibility in order to participate in this Challenge. (8) By participating in this Challenge, each individual agrees to indemnify the Federal government against third party claims for damages arising from or related to Challenge activities. (9) An individual shall not be deemed ineligible because the individual or entity used Federal facilities or consulted with Federal employees during the Challenge if the facilities and employees are made available to all individuals and entities participating in the Challenge on an equitable basis. (10) By participating in this challenge, such individuals grant to NIBIB an irrevocable, paid-up, royalty-free, nonexclusive worldwide license to post, link to, share, and display publicly the entry on the Web, newsletters or pamphlets, and other information products. It is the responsibility of the individuals on the Student Team to obtain any rights necessary to use, disclose, or reproduce any intellectual property owned by third parties and incorporated in the entry for all anticipated uses of the entry. (11) NIH reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to (a) cancel, suspend, or modify the Challenge, and/or (b) not award any prizes if no entries are deemed worthy. (12) Each individual agrees to follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and policies. (13) Each individual participating in this Challenge must comply with all terms and conditions of these rules, and participation in this Challenge constitutes each such participant’s full and unconditional agreement to abide by these rules. Winning is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements herein. (14) Each Student Team must appoint a “Team Captain” to carry out all correspondence regarding the Student Team’s entry. The Team Captain must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.