Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic have launched the Cleveland NeuroDesign Innovation Fellowship to foster an entrepreneurial workforce by turning neurosurgeons and biomedical engineers into innovators.
“Our goal for the program is not necessarily starting companies. It’s a rare event that we’re excited about. But we want to develop a workforce in Cleveland that can take our medtech resources and turn them into companies,” says associate director of the Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership and a member of the executive team, Andrew Corwell.
A group of four scientists recently concluded the 10-month program with a final public presentation. Three among the group were known for building a medical startup focusing on the prevention of hospital-acquired infections.
The program inserts the participants into clinical practice to identify unmet innovation needs. They are taken through a design and build process, followed by a prototype implementation and ideally followed by commercialization.
The first group started the program last September. Participants are new professionals deriving from backgrounds such as neurosurgery and biomedical engineering.
“Combining the biodesign curriculum and access our fellows have is what makes this special... We weren’t looking for special titles or backgrounds, but we did want to cover a set of skills. We picked this team to bring those skills together, and we’re happy with what they’ve accomplished,” Cornwell says.
“This program is a model for collaborative support at every level. That’s the reason for my optimism in its longer-term success. Collaboration is the key to the success for a program like this,” he added.