what is biodesign?

The concept of biodesign first appeared in 2000 in the United States, at Standford University, where it spread to over 100 universities. In Europe, it was first piloted in 2010 and was seen as a good opportunity to stimulate innovation in medical technology, now taking place in countries such as England, Sweden, Spain. Another peculiarity is that the programs which use the concept of “biodesign” set up multidisciplinary teams of four people with different backgrounds and training in life sciences, engineering, design and business to work together to find an innovative solution for a particular need of a clinic.

How does it work?

Teams must have full autonomy to find their needs. During the clinical immersion, the clinical context will have an impact but the decision to pursue a specific health need belongs to the team. This is an integral part of the Biodesign process. Each team will be assigned to a specific clinic (for the purpose for which it will operate) where they can observe and be allowed to return during the program to validate needs or make additional observations, if necessary.

During the process, the team focuses on a specific clinical area and receives ongoing mentoring from physicians, venture capitalists, academics and industry experts.


The program begins with an intensive two-week bootcamp, in which participants are introduced to the observation process and finding needs, meet a network of mentors and experts, receive in-depth training and begin team building.

This process involves observing patients and healthcare professionals while interacting with each other in a range of clinical contexts, including: diagnosis, surgical and interventional procedures, post-operative care and rehabilitation. This is a unique opportunity for teams to observe and document daily challenges and health needs that the hospital could have.

During the clinical immersion phase, teams identify over 100 needs, so in this phase, the most urgent health need of the clinic will be chosen.

Once clinical needs are filtered and potential solutions developed in the previous phase, teams should consider and agree on implementation strategy and options involving prototyping, financial and business planning, and reimbursement strategies.

What deliverables are the teams expected to produce?

One of the deliverables is a pitch to possible investors and a business plan. In addition, some programs require a report with possible improvements and suggestions for the host clinic.