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New Opportunities for Entrepreneurial Students

Announcing the Entrepreneurial Post-Doctoral program in BME

Graduates of doctoral programs in Biomedical Engineering are increasingly focused on entrepreneurship as a career path. While PhD programs have been successful in educating engineers focused on academic or corporate research careers, they have not typically delivered the skills needed for graduates to launch and succeed at startup companies. We are pleased to announce a new entrepreneurially focused postdoctoral program in Biomedical Engineering to address this emerging need. It focuses on imparting the skill set needed to start technology-based companies to participants.

As a condition of entry into the program, candidates will agree to engage in each of the bolded activities. Other activities are available optionally. By the end of the first year, all program participants will be required to:

  1. Prepare and deliver a company pitch deck and supporting materials. Entrepreneurship @ Duke Engineering will provide in-depth coaching to support the development of a detailed business plan and pitch deck.
  2. Participate in The Entrepreneur’s Workshop Series – Eight Saturday courses focused on key elements of entrepreneurship. Topics range from Customer Discovery to Corporate Law to Fundraising. Each short course is taught by a seasoned practitioner.
  3. Participate in The In-Depth Customer Discovery Workshop – This three-day workshop is designed to educate attendees in the fundamental processes needed to understand customer needs and frame product vision to align with those needs. This workshop will be offered by a seasoned practitioner.

Resources available:

• Salary Support: Program participants will receive the standard stipend established by the NIH for PhDs with zero years of postdoctoral experience

• The BRIDGE: Program participants will be given preferential consideration in applying for entry into the BRIDGE, the Duke BME incubator. The BRIDGE provides mentorship, lab and office space, and interns.

• Mentors In Residence: The Office of Licensing and Ventures employs part-time MIRs to support the commercialization of Duke owned IP. Participants in this program will have access to the MIRs.

• Duke Team Mentoring: This program, to be launched in 2018, will couple teams of seasoned entrepreneurs to new ventures. Participants in our program will guided through the application process to improve their odds of success in competing for mentoring teams.

• Duke Innovation Fund: Program participants may compete for $20k seed grants.

• Duke Angel Network: Program participants will be supported in applying for funding by the Duke Angel Network.


Applicants must be: (1) recent PhD graduates of Duke BME, with less than 1 year of research experience at the time they enter the program (the earliest start date is August 1, 2018), or (2) plan to graduate with a PhD in BME from Duke within the 2018-2019 academic year, and must start the program by May 1, 2019.

Instructions for submitting an application:

Please submit your application to Each application must include in a single pdf file:

• A cover letter

• A 3-page proposal that provides a compelling argument for selection of the candidate. In an introductory section, not to exceed a page, describe your motivation in applying for this fellowship, what you plan to do during the fellowship to take your startup idea from concept to reality (for example, carry out additional experiments to answer key questions that will help in fundraising, focus on business development and/or fundraising), and your anticipated outcomes after one year of funding. In separate sections that follow the introduction, describe: (i) product or service description to be provided by proposed Newco; (ii) summary of data in support of the proposed Newco; (iii) status of the underlying technology — ideally in terms of Technology Readiness Level; (iv) estimate of market size; (v) indication of who the customers are; (vi) IP status: provisional, pending, or issued patents.

• The applicant’s academic transcript

• The applicant’s resume or CV

Key dates:

• Application submission deadline 11:59 pm on May 15, 2018

• Announcement of awardees: June 1, 2018

• Earliest commencement of program: August 1, 2018

• Final date for commencement of program for this funding cycle: May 1, 2019

Award information: Initial program support will be for one year, with the opportunity to compete for a second year.