Ellen Roche

Photo: Tony Pulsone

Nine MIT researchers, including an HST faculty member, were selected as finalists in the inaugural MIT Future Founders Initiative Prize Competition

The MIT Future Founders Initiative Prize Competition, led by Sangeeta Bhatia, John J. and Dorothy Wilson Professor, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, and of the Institute for Medical Engineering & Science, MIT, and an HST faculty member; and MIT Professor and President Emerita Susan Hockfield, a well as MIT Amgen Professor of Biology Emerita Nancy Hopkins, was conceived to encourage women to pursue entrepreneurship in biotech. Participants gained hands-on opportunities to discover how to commercialize their ideas and explored instruction in market assessments, fundraising, and business capitalization.

The competition's grand prize winner, Ellen Roche—W.M. Keck Career Development Professor in Biomedical Engineering and an HST faculty member, as well as core faculty member at IMES—was awarded $250K in discretionary funds, and runners-up Polina Anikeeva and Canan Dagdeviren, were each awarded $100K. IMES is HST's home at MIT.

Inspired by generous funding from Northpond Labs, the research and development-focused affiliate of Northpond Ventures, and by the success of other MIT prize incentive competitions such as the Climate Tech and Energy Prize, the Future Founders Initiative Prize Competition will be structured as a learning cohort in which participants will be supported in commercializing their existing inventions with instruction in market assessments, fundraising, and business capitalization, as well as other programming.

The competition was presented in partnership by the MIT School of Engineering and the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, with support from Northpond Ventures.

Here is a video of the award event: