Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

**All information below is specific to the 2018 Challenge — updated instructions and timelines for the 2019 Challenge will be announced soon**

1. What is the application process?

Our first round begins in January 2018. ALL student teams (from undergraduate to post-doc) with sustainable, scalable, and user-centered innovations in global public health are invited to register for the competition by submitting a short application providing their team information and an overview of the project details (see details in Q8). 

In early February 2018, semi-finalist teams will be invited to participate in Second Round Applications. During this round, teams will be invited to submit their complete proposal with a short slide deck or video describing their innovation and business strategy in more detail. Teams will have three weeks to submit these materials. The submissions will be reviewed by an elite Bay Area Global Health Innovation committee made up of individuals from the Bay Area Global Health community, including leaders from nonprofits, industry, venture capital firms, and our world-class universities.

Finalist teams will be selected to participate in the final pitch event of the Bay Area Global Health Innovation Challenge, slated for early May 2018 (date TBD) in San Francisco. On the day of the event, there will also be workshops, networking events, and terrific opportunities to engage with many members of the global health innovation community in the Bay Area and beyond. Both before and after the Challenge, finalist teams will participate in team mentorship and development activities with global health, design, technology, and investment leaders and experts.

Past mentors and judges have included senior leaders from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, PATH, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bioness, Inc., Facebook, the Global Health Research Foundation, the International Aids Vaccine Initiative, and the Bay Area's world-class universities. 

2. When will the First Round go live?

We will have a link on the front page of our website in mid to late January 2018. The link will guide you to a short application to register your team. You must register your team before February 16 to be considered for the Bay Area Global Health Innovation Challenge. 

3. What information will be asked for during the First Round registration in January? 

  1. Team information: Names, contact information, university, academic standing, and resumes/CV’s of team members.

  2. Innovation information: Title and summary/abstract of your innovation. Basically, 1) what is the innovation, 2) what does it aim to achieve, 3) who will benefit, and 4) what is the expected health impact?

  3. Other information: We will ask short questions about the state of your innovation including where it is in the development pipeline, how it is transformative and new, current investors/supporters, your vision for growth, and perceived challenges and opportunities for your innovation.

4. Am I eligible for the Bay Area Global Health Innovation Challenge?

The Challenge is open to teams comprised of currently-enrolled university students at any level, including undergraduate, graduate (ANY degree), resident (i.e. medical training), and postdoctoral students. Students from all disciplines and stages of training are welcome. Individuals holding faculty or research appointments who are not students are NOT eligible for competition. The “innovation” must be student-driven and led. While we encourage students to draw on faculty and other sources of mentorship and support, the work must be original and not the research led by a faculty member or non-affiliated university member.


5. Are there any limits placed on the number of people on my team?

No, there is no limit to the number of people who can be on a team. However, if your team is selected, and it is comprised of more than three people, only three will be allowed to present on the stage during semifinal and final judging rounds in May 2018 (all team members are welcome to attend other weekend events). Note that while one-person teams are not technically excluded from participation, interdisciplinarity is one of the judging criterion. Having only one team member could also limit your ability to workshop your idea or network the weekend of the competition.


6. Do I need to be present during final presentations to be eligible for a prize?

Yes, at least one member of your team will be expected to be present during the challenge weekend, however we strongly encourage the presence of more than one team member (see above).


7. Is financial assistance available for travel and/or lodging during final presentations?

All student teams are expected to plan for their own travel and lodging should they be accepted to the challenge, and are encouraged to work with their schools to do so. In exceptional cases, funding may be available to support the travel of outstanding teams that lack the financial means to attend the event, especially those from low and middle-income countries.

8. How do I choose a category for my submission? Will choosing one track over another impact my chance to win?

Participants are asked to identify a primary track and secondary track for their submission. These tracks will aid in the  evaluation of submissions and ensure that each proposal is assigned to the appropriate reviewers. All categories will be assessed on an equal playing field for the grand prize, although other prizes could be awarded by our sponsors and partners in each category. The categories are:

  1. Humanitarian Health

  2. Planetary Health

  3. Infectious Diseases

  4. Non-Communicable Diseases

Teams will also have the option to distinguish their project through six innovation categories:

  1. Product (Hardware)

  2. Product (Software)

  3. Diagnostics

  4. Data & Informatics

  5. Human-Centered Design

  6. Service Delivery/Implementation


9. What information are you looking for in my project summary or abstract?

We would like a quick summary of your project for judges to read prior to viewing your presentation. With that in mind, be sure to address the following points: 1) what is the innovation, 2) what does it aim to achieve, 3) who will benefit, and 4) what is the expected health impact?


10. At which stage of development is my innovation? Is my idea developed enough to participate in the BAGHIC?

We are looking for ideas that are beyond the brainstorm/initial concept idea. In essence, we're looking for the "how" you plan to get this innovation to market, and what resources you already have to do so — this includes funding, pilot research, relationships with the institutions/partners/populations with which you plan to work and carry out your innovation, and more. We are also looking for specific details on how the $10,000 HealthRoots prize and other sponsorship/mentorship would support the scale-up of your innovation. Contact if you are concerned that your idea may not be developed enough, or may be too developed, for the Challenge.


11. Do I need any outside mentors? How do I describe my relationship with my mentors in the application?

While you do not necessarily need any mentors prior to submission of your idea, we encourage participants to assemble a support team who can help guide and support them during development. If you do not have any (or enough) mentors or teammates, consider addressing the gaps or holes which you need to fill to bring your project to life. If you do not already have all of the necessary mentors and support, where and from whom will you obtain this expertise or how do you plan to do so as you continue to develop your innovation?


12. I am concerned about someone stealing my idea. Are proposals kept confidential?

Your proposal will be kept confidential, if you wish, but we plan to publicize the names and innovation titles of the semi-finalist and finalist teams on our website which we believe will provide visibility and networking opportunities for new innovations. If you are concerned about protecting your idea, do not put any protected information in the First Round application.


13. Are there restrictions on how the funding can be used? Are there any conditions to winning?

There are no restrictions on how funding can be used, other than the funding must be applied toward the proposed innovation. Winners will be expected to send updates quarterly (every three months) for the first year, and annually after the first year.


14. Who is eligible to attend the finale event(s)?

All finalist teams will be expected to send at least one team member to San Francisco for final presentations. There will be opportunities for non-finalists to attend events during the workshop. Be sure to check back in mid-February for updates on which aspects of the Challenge will be open to the public or non-finalist teams.