Campus News

UB innovators can win up to $2,000 for ideas to help the aging

By CHARLOTTE HSU

Published March 6, 2018

Most older adults say they want to stay in their own homes as they age, and UB innovators with ideas for making this happen can win up to $2,000 in a pitch contest this month.

The event on March 15 invites UB students and faculty to present ideas for developing prototypes that assist aging New Yorkers and their caregivers in completing daily activities. These include such tasks as taking a bath or shower, getting dressed, using the bathroom, getting up from a chair, walking across a room, or eating a meal.

Register online for the contest.

Participants can sign up to pitch as an “idea champion” with a great idea for solving the problem at hand. In addition, students and faculty interested in contributing their expertise to developing a prototype can register as a “free agent” who can be matched with a project at the event.

Faculty who want to take part must be part of a team that includes at least one student. Participants are welcome to enter any concepts in the competition, including those involving research that is already underway.

"Innovation Sprint" event graphic.

“The program will follow a startup weekend format, with the idea champions offering a quick pitch. Then the free agents will flock to ideas, and the teams will begin to develop them,” says Hadar Borden, program director for the Blackstone LaunchPad at UB, which introduces members of the UB community to entrepreneurship as a viable career path.

Three winners will be chosen, with a $2,000 first-place prize, $1,500 second-place prize and $1,000 third-place prize.

These top teams will represent UB in the New York State Department of Health’s Aging Innovation Challenge this fall, developing real prototypes for the chance to win prizes worth a total of $50,000 in the statewide contest.

The contest could ultimately help innovators make a difference in the lives of others, helping older adults maintain their independence as they age, or making life a little easier for caregivers who provide assistance to loved ones while juggling other duties that may include a full-time job.

The March 15 pitch competition on campus will take place from 3-8 p.m. in 403 Hayes Hall, South Campus.

It is hosted by a coalition of UB programs led by the Blackstone LaunchPad at UB and Center for Successful Aging at UB.

Interdisciplinary sponsors from across the university include the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA Center), School of Architecture and Planning, School of Social Work, Institute on Innovative Aging Policy and Practice, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, School of Management, Office of Interprofessional Education, The Graduate School, Office of the Vice President for Student Life, School of Public Health and Health Professions, Department of Rehabilitation Science, School of Nursing, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Department of Family Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, Center for Assistive Technology, and the Office of Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships.