IDea Incubator 2020

Do you have an original idea to improve ID care? Does this idea include an original invention, product, device or innovative concept for improving ID care? Consider submitting your original idea to the IDSA Foundation’s IDea Incubator for a chance to win funding!

Three finalists will present their innovations in front of an audience and judges for a cash prize during IDWeek. The Grand Prize Winner will receive $10,000 to fund their winning innovation. Designed to encourage early stage ventures, IDea Incubator provides a chance to receive feedback from judges in the business, technology, and medicine industries and gives you the opportunity to present your idea in front of the ID community.

Submissions for the 2020 IDea Incubator are now closed. We encourage you to check back in the coming months to see when the 2021 application period will open. Missed the 2020 IDea Incubator in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS? You can still watch the competition on-demand

Check out who won the 2020 competition.

COmpetition Rules
  • The IDSA Foundation and its affiliates are not responsible for any intellectual property submitted and/or presented at any time for its IDea Incubator program during IDWeek 2020. Any individual, group, organization, or company is solely responsible for securing intellectual property protection. Learn how to secure your intellectual property by reviewing our resources below.
  • IDea Incubator is open to IDWeek 2020 attendees only. This includes scientific attendees, exhibitors, invited speakers, and guests. Any group, company or organization that applies, must have at least one IDWeek 2020 attendee and this attendee must be the primary submitter.
  • Applications will be reviewed after the cut-off date of August 16, 11:59p.m. EDT. An incomplete application will be disqualified. See the Important Dates.
  •  Accepted presenters will be notified by September 28th. This information will include the presenter(s) rehearsal and presentation times. If accepted, but unable to present, then a 30-day notice is required.
  •  Presentations will be up to 5 minutes in length, followed by a 5-minute-long question and answer period be the judges.
  • A winning idea will be chosen by the judges. Cash prizes will be awarded to all finalists. 1st place will receive $10,000, 2nd place will receive $5,000, 3rd place will receive $2,500.
Judgement Criteria
  • The statement of problem/unmet need is well defined and articulated (scale of the problem, quantified number of patients, money spent on healthcare costs, societal costs).
  • The target population is clearly defined and quantified.
  • The innovation has the potential to solve the problem/meet the needs of the target population.The solution is economically viable (i.e. won’t be too expensive to be inaccessible).
  • The expected health impact is reasonably estimated.The solution to the problem is novel and innovative.
 Important Dates
February 27 Application Opens Online
August 16, 2020, 11:59PM EXTENDED: Application Submission Deadline
September 28 Finalists Notified
October 20, 2020, 5:00 – 6:00PM ET LIVE Virtual IDea Incubator in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS 
Securing Your Intellectual Property

The following articles may assist with securing intellectual property. Many other sources are available on the internet:


1st Place: Awarded the grand prize for generating and distributing antibiotic stewardship audits and feedback reports in outpatient settings were Holly Frost, M.D., assistant professor at Denver Health and Sonal Munsiff, M.D., assistant professor at University of Rochester Medical Center. The winning innovation is OASIS (Outpatient Automated Stewardship Information System). The method of OASIS uses a statistical software program to abstract data from major electronic health record data warehouses, generate easy to read graphs and reports and email individualized reports to providers at pre-defined intervals. The program can be easily customized for nearly any antibiotic stewardship intervention or target. OASIS will help health care systems implement the CDC Core Elements of Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship in a cost-effective manner that requires substantially less time than traditional methods. Dr. Frost and Dr. Munsiff were awarded the grand prize of $10,000.

2nd Place: Taylor Freeman, founder of Axon Park, and Farrukh Jafri, M.D., Assistant Director of Education & Simulation of White Plains Hospital were awarded first runner-up for their PPE VR Training Simulator, a cost-effective asynchronous virtual reality simulator teaching a structured, efficient, and safe method for donning and doffing PPE based on guidelines from the CDC and WHO. They were awarded $5,000.

3rd Place: Vidya Atluri, M.D., Ph.D., an ID Fellow at University of Washington, Paul Pottinger, M.D., DTMH, FACP, FIDSA, Physician & Director of Infectious Diseases & Tropical Medicine Clinic of University of Washington Medical Center, and Lahari Rampur, M.D., Allergist at Kaiser Permanente Washington were awarded second runners-up for their customizable mobile app PAl-ergy. This mobile app assists providers in handling beta-lactam allergies according to their institutional guidelines. They were awarded $2,500.

Honorary Mention: Steve Kalish, M.D., of North Shore University Hospital System & Swedish Hospital received an honorary mention for his Single-Handed Donning of Hygienic Gloves: Apparatus and Method innovation, which is a convenient method for rapidly, aseptically, and inexpensively donning hygienic FDA-approved gloves with a single hand. He did not receive a cash prize, but was honored due to the high quality of his innovation.

2019 Winners

1st Place: Awarded the grand prize for the OPAT monitoring device were Sai Dodda, PharmD, clinical coordinator, and Chris Sleckman, MS, engineer, both of HIVE, a student-run biotech startup at Washington University in St. Louis. 

The winning innovation is a sensor that detects when IV medication is connected to a patient’s peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line, meaning the patient is beginning therapy. The data is then sent in real time to the patient’s doctor and home health agency to help them monitor use and intervene when patients aren’t compliant. Additionally, health care providers are alerted if the medication is not administered at the correct time. Because OPAT is significantly less costly than in-hospital therapy, the researchers estimate the device would prevent $2,000 in costs for every day of hospital readmission avoided. 

2nd Place: Mark Sendak, MD, MPP, of Duke Institute for Health Innovation and Cara O’Brien, MD, of Duke University, were awarded second place for Sepsis Watch, a software model that predicts sepsis within four hours of a patient being admitted to the emergency department to ensure timely delivery of treatment. It is being used in several hospitals and preliminary research has shown a 15% improvement in 3-hour sepsis treatment bundle compliance.


3rd Place: Juan Walterspiel, MD, FAAP, a pharma, biotech and medical device consultant and inventor, was awarded third place for his passive solution to prevent CLABSI, which leads to 10,000 deaths every year. The innovation is an inexpensive sleeve that fits over the end of the valve connector of the line to prevent contamination.

Honorary Mention: Ige George, MD, MS, and Gerome Escota, MD, both of Washington University School of Medicine, were awarded fourth place for their Twitter-based platform, @WuidQ, which is the first free open-access medical education resource to provide review of infectious diseases through board-style, multiple-choice questions.

2018 winners

1st Place: Audrey R. Odom John, MD, PhD, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the winner of the the inaugural IDEA Incubator for her “malaria breathalyzer” diagnostic tool. The prize money enabled her team to build a prototype to bridge the gap and secure $500,000 in National Institutes of Health funding to move the project forward with the goal of eventually using it to improve patient care.

Learn more on Dr. Odom’s malaria breathalyzer here

2nd Place: Qassim Mian, MD, a third-year pediatrics resident at the University of Alberta won second place for a global development project that focuses on designing and implementing solar-powered oxygen systems in Uganda as a reliable and cost-effective measure to treat hypoxemic children with pneumonia. This project will be undergoing a transition-to-scale over the next few years and Qaasim is involved in developing, implementing and monitoring these systems

3rd Place: Ana Luisa Neves, MD, a Research Fellow at the Institute of Global Health & Innovation at Imperial College of London, co-developed momoby, a finger prick test aiming to bring healthcare to remote areas in low-income countries.