Jobs Career Advice Signup

The Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellowship 2021-2022

Updated on Jun 17, 2020 1140 views
The Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellowship 2021-2022


Ready to take your career in health technology innovation to the next level? The Biodesign Innovation Fellowship is a 10-month experience that equips aspiring innovators with a proven, repeatable process to identify important healthcare needs, invent novel health technologies to address them, and prepare to implement those products into patient care through start-up, corporate channels, or other channels. In addition, the Innovation Fellows become part of the Stanford Biodesign community, which is a life-long, worldwide network of innovators passionate about improving healthcare.


The Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellowship is a launch pad for initiating, redirecting, or accelerating a career in health technology innovation. Stanford Biodesign graduates apply their talents to:

  • Catalyzing innovation inside major health technology companies
  • Building their own health technology start-ups
  • Teaching and/or leading translational research programs for world-class universities
  • Driving innovation initiatives within academic or private medical centers
  • Becoming specialists in design, investing, or other aspects of the health technology innovation ecosystem

They also become part of the Stanford Biodesign community, which is a life-long, worldwide network of innovators passionate about improving healthcare.


Individuals with advanced degrees and/or substantial work experience in the engineering, science, computer science, business, product design, law, medical, or nursing fields are encouraged to apply. Fellows will be selected based on their experience, passion, and drive, as well as their potential to become leading innovators in the health tech field. Applicants are welcome from any country.


Stanford Biodesign Fellows become members of the Stanford Biodesign team at the James H. Clark Center on the Stanford University campus. Clinical immersion is completed at Stanford Health Care, as well as a variety of other settings across the continuum of care.


The fellowship is a full-time, intensive experience that runs from the beginning of August through early June each year. Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellows receive a monthly stipend and health benefits during their fellowship period.


Applications for the 2021-22 fellowship year will open in mid-May 2020 and close on August 14, 2020. To learn more about the program and the application process, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page. You can also find more information there about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the Innovation Fellowship.


Discover more about the Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellowship....


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.


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, with guidance from experts at Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. 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.

Application Instructions
How to Apply

To apply for the Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellowship, please:

  • Fill out all online application forms completely.
  • Upload supporting materials (see details below).
  • Designate three people to submit recommendations on your behalf (name, title, institution, phone, email, relationship, and a personal note from you requesting a reference); ideally, one letter should be from your most recent program director or manager.
  • Pay the $95 non-refundable application fee and submit your application once all materials have been uploaded and you have verified that the information is correct.
  • Provide us with a link to your video supplement.

To get started, please go to You will first be asked to login or sign-up for a Slideroom account. Once you have completed this initial registration, you can begin your application. It is not necessary to complete your application in one sitting; you can save your work
and return at a later time. To access an in-progress application, go back to the link above and login.
Application Deadline
All materials listed above must be received on or before August 14, 2020. If your application is
incomplete for any reason after 11:59 pm on the due date, it will not be considered and the application fee will not be refunded.
Online Application Forms
The following information is required on the online application forms:
Name, address, phone number, email address, and any other information requested during registration.
Part A – Current organization/employer, gender identity, date of birth, country of citizenship, ethnicity and racial identity. We are also interested in how you heard about our program and if
you have applied for the fellowship in prior years (and, if so, when).
Part B – Your educational history, including institution names and locations, majors, degrees, and years attended (please list in reverse chronological order).
Part C – Questions on the “applicant summary” form to provide reviewers with a snapshot of your background.
Supporting Materials
Once the forms are completed, the application process requires you to upload all of the following

  • Your resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Copy of your most recent diploma.
  • Copy of your transcript from your two most recent degree programs.
  • Copy of exam scores:

National/state boards or academic entry exams taken in the past 5 years (scores from the latest exam(s) you have taken). International applicants, please submit scores of any
comparable exam you’ve taken in the past 5 years. If you do not have scores to submit or it has been greater than 5 years since you have taken national/state boards or qualifying
examinations, please upload a letter in PDF format through our online system explaining why you are not submitting exams score with your application.

English proficiency exam taken within the past two years (TOFEL, IELTS, or PTE). If you earned or expect to earn a degree from a university where English is the official and sole
language of instruction, then you do not need to submit results of an English proficiency exam.

  • Your short answer responses (details below).
  • Your application essay (details below).
  • Contact information for your recommendations.
  • Your video (details below).

Short Answer Responses
Please provide brief responses to the following two questions and upload them as directed in the
Slideroom application (250 words or less per question):
1. Diversity is a core value at Stanford Biodesign. How will your identity, actions, and/or ideas contribute to the diversity of our fellowship program?
2. By the end of the fellowship we want you to have top notch leadership, problem solving, creativity, teamwork, and communication skills. Tell us a quick story that demonstrates why
you're already strong in one of these areas and why you really want to improve in another.
Application Essay
To help us understand more about the person behind the application, please share your passions, values,
and vision for your career when answering the following questions in 750 words or less (single spaced, 11
point minimum font size):
Why do you want to be a Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellow, and what do you intend to do with your training after completing the program?
Ask three individuals who you know well, whose opinion you trust, and who wants to see you succeed to write your reference letters. These references must be able to provide specific examples, anecdotes, and evidence of your unique skills and accomplishments.
Here are a few things to consider as you choose references:

  • We care about the content of the letter, not about merely the title or status of the person who wrote it.
  • The strongest letters we receive come from individuals who have interacted with you closely, extensively, and recently. The references may be academic or professional.
  • Ideally, one letter should be from your most recent program director or manager.
  • It is inappropriate to ask a family member to provide a reference. Also, consider that a peer is different from a friend.
  • References must be provided in English. You may not write, draft, edit, translate, or submit the letter of reference.

When your references are contacted via Slideroom, they will be asked to assess your performance on the skills we’re seeking in the fellowship and to provide a reference letter that addresses the following prompts:

  • How do you know and interact with the applicant?
  • Give a specific example of how the applicant has demonstrated exemplary leadership, problem solving, creativity, teamwork, and/or communication skills in your interactions together.
  • What is the most important constructive feedback that you have given the applicant? How did the applicant respond?
  • Is there anything else that we should know about the applicant?

Other important information:
Register the references by providing their name, title, institution, phone, work email, relationship, and a personal note from you requesting the reference.
The requests for letters are automatically generated and sent by our application system, Slideroom, when you enter and submit the contact information for your references (which is
different than completing and submitting your application). In order to give your references adequate time to respond, do not wait until the last week before the deadline to enter this
information into the application system.
Be aware that the automatic requests that Slideroom sends to your references may go into your their spam folder. Please let the references know to watch for the request directly from Slideroom and to check all email folders.
Once written, your references must submit their letters through our online system. We will not accept letters of reference delivered via email or the postal service.
We must have all three letters by the application deadline or your application will not be considered and your application fee will not be refunded. Please encourage your references to submit their letter at least 1-2 days in advance of the final deadline.

Application Fee
When you’re ready to submit your application, please remit the application fee. If you are a Stanford
University affiliate and have an active SUNet ID, you are eligible for a fee waiver. Please email Emily Johnson at with your request and SUNet ID.
If you experience technical issues with processing your payment, you may have anti-virus software on your computer that is not letting the payment go through to Slideroom. If you’re using the anti-virus/security software Kaspersky, please add Slideroom as a safe website. More information is available at If you are using some other anti-virus software, please temporarily disable it in order to remit your payment.
Please note that if your application is determined to be incomplete at the time of the application deadline (e.g., missing three letters of reference), your application fee will not be refunded.

The last step in the application process is to submit your video. Your video provides us with the chance to “meet” you but will be reviewed separately from the rest of your application materials. After you submit your application materials in Slideroom, please upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo.
We suggest making the recording “unlisted” so that it can only be viewed by those with the link.

Next, provide the video link to us via the Qualtrics form at:
On your video, respond to the following prompt:
Please tells us five improbable (unlikely but true) facts about you.
When creating and submitting your video:
Do not exceed two minutes in length (it will not be viewed beyond the two-minute mark).
Record only yourself, from the shoulders up, with no graphics, special effects, or other footage included (we are interested in your response and your communication skills, not your video editing capabilities!).
If possible, use a web camera or smartphone/video camera on a tripod to ensure a steady recording.
Please test the link to ensure the video can be viewed at that URL before submitting it.
Do not discuss any specific Intellectual Property that you have developed if it has not been protected.
Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions page under on the Stanford Biodesign website for additional information, which can be found under Programs > Fellowships > Innovation Fellowship. If you do not find an answer there, questions may be directed to Emily Johnson at

Stanford Biodesign is an equal opportunity employer. We value diversity and consider all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age, or physical disability, and we strongly encourage people of historically underrepresented groups to apply.
Although we previously offered a Stanford-India Biodesign fellowship, that program has concluded.
Please contact for information about fellowship opportunities in India.

View Details about this Fellowship Here

Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

Leave a Comment

Login required
Related Post
Top Post