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3) FAQ


1. What is the definition of primary care?

Primary care is the “frontline medicine,” and is typically delivered by internists, pediatricians, family practitioners and nurse practitioners. It is usually found in a clinic- based or ambulatory-care setting. A multi-disciplinary team-based approach to primary care can also include physicians, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, physical therapists and other professionals, collaborating in managing patient-care issues. Note that primary care is increasingly delivered via outreach to the home, workplace, satellite clinics and/or community settings – not just in the traditional “physician’s office” setting. Increased access and convenience are sought in the evolution of primary care modalities, and innovative technology can play a significant role in accelerating desired changes in practice patterns and/or improving outcomes in the evolution of practice patterns. 

2. Are international students enrolled in accredited engineering programs outside of the United States eligible to participate?

Unfortunately, the Student Prize for Primary Healthcare is currently only available for accredited programs in the United States. 

3. Can one university or program submit multiple applications?

There is no limit on the number of applications which can be submitted from a given university or program.

4. Can a student submit more than one application?

A specific student and his/her team can only lead and submit one application per year. A specific student can, however, be a secondary member or collaborator of more than one team.

5. Can a team of students apply, or just individual students?

Teams of students are strongly encouraged. The team’s application must have a specific student identified as the responsible project leader, and that student can lead and submit only one application per year.

6. Can a student team include students from multiple universities and/or disciplines?

Students can be drawn from multiple universities and disciplines (e.g., medical students), however, the project leader must be an engineering graduate or undergraduate student enrolled in good standing at the responsible institution.

7. Can the team include industry partners?
Only students can be on the team receiving the prize and using the prize money. However advice and/or technical help from industry professionals is acceptable as long as it is consistent with the student team’s institutional policies regarding industry relations.

8. Can the team include faculty members?

The initiative should come from the student project leader and the work should come from the student members. Only students can be on the team receiving the prize and using the prize money. However, mentorship by faculty members is certainly
appropriate. And it is understood that the students may have been guided in the direction of this project by a faculty member.  Clinical advisors and/or collaborators should be sought to help focus the entry on primary-care issues of relevance, utility and impact.

9. Can students participate who will graduate during the competition?

The student project leader submitting an entry must be enrolled and in good standing at a qualifying institution for the duration of the competition, through to the submission deadline, but the timing variations of student status of other members of the team is not a concern.

10. What is meant by “the responsible institutional official”?

Institutional Official means an individual at your engineering school with authority to accept responsibility for the stewardship of the funds in accordance with their institutional policies and under the auspices of the institution.  A signed letter from this individual, on letterhead, must be uploaded according to the Instructions for 2017 Pre-Proposal.

11. What information must the institutional letter of support convey?

The Letter of Support simply needs to be on institutional letterhead for verification of authenticity, and needs to affirm three things:

a) that the entrant is a student in good standing in the school,
b) that the institution will accept the responsibilities for oversight of any matters of compliance with regulations and policies,
c) that the institution will disburse the Prize funds, as transferred from the MGH/Partners HealthCare System, for use by the student winner for purposes related to the advancement of the project or for direct support of the student or the benefit of the student's career, and that the institution will not deduct any indirect-cost amounts, tuition charges, or other fees of any sort.

12. Who retains the rights to any intellectual property generated by a proposal?

Management of intellectual property will be determined by the policies of the student’s institution. No rights to intellectual property are retained by the entities providing or funding the award.

13. Should I disclose any unprotected proprietary information in the letter of intent?

Protecting proprietary information is the responsibility of the applicant and the applicant institution. Any intellectual property needing protection should be protected before submission (within the applicant's own institution's processes and policies) or should not be disclosed in the short pre-proposal, leaving time to protect it later before any public
disclosure. A variety of reviewers will be used to select the finalists. They will not be asked to commit formally to non-disclosure agreements because of the volume of material they will be asked to review. Reviewers will be asked to treat conceptual material with the discretion normally asked of peer reviewers of manuscripts or proposals.

14. Can individuals who are not graduate or undergraduate students in engineering programs apply?

Individual applicants, or team leaders in the case of applicant teams, must be graduate or undergraduate students in engineering or technology-related programs. Clinicians may be collaborators. Business-school students or medical students may be team members, but the project leader(s) must be engineering student(s).


1. What expenses are allowable from the $5,000 initial award?

Any expense that advances the project towards a more advanced and compelling final submission is allowable. For example, these include any expenses for supplies, machine-shop charges, partial stipend support for a student-member of the team, project-related travel, and the like. Expenses must be reimbursed via your institution's check-payment procedures with the assistance of your institutional official who will act as steward of the $5,000 fund the MGH/Partners HealthCare System is providing to them.
Even if the funds are not expended by the time of the Finalist’s full submission, the unexpended funds can be used beyond that date, up until the first anniversary. Unexpended funds must be returned after that, unless permission is granted by us for an extension.

2. Should expense receipts be submitted to MGH with the full proposal?

Receipts should be saved as documentation and review according to your own institution's requirements, but need not be submitted to MGH/Partners.

3. How should proprietary information be managed?

While the submitted materials will be treated with discretion, MGH, Partners HealthCare System, the APF and CIMIT cannot provide any assurance of confidentiality in accepting them. The administrators use reviewers, for example, in judging merit of the submissions, and while they will also be expected to use discretion they are not bound by any confidential-disclosure agreements. That would be impractical and unrealistic to seek. In fact your submission should be written with the potential of winning a final Prize in mind, and therefore with the understanding that publicity will be appropriate and of value to you in advancing the cause of your project. Even projects that do not win one of the two large prizes may be suitable for wider dissemination and publicity as part of our communication to media about the worthiness of all the entries. Thus information considered proprietary by you and not yet protected by copyright or patent-application processes should not be included in the submission. Functional performance can be described without all the underlying detail of any inventions or proprietary techniques, if those are sensitive material. We will endeavor to consult with all Finalists about any communications it releases in its publicity, but given the tight time-frame between final submission and announcement of the winners, it may not be possible to arrange your review or approval of the text in our announcements. In addition to general publicity, we may see specific opportunities to help you advance your project by connecting you with companies interested in commercializing portions of your work. In that case we will broker your direct contacts with such company(s) if you so desire. As stated in the original announcement of this Prize, any intellectual property remains under ownership of your institution, if so assigned, or of the inventors. The Prize's sponsors will not assert any rights related to the funding we provide.

4. Should the final submission include a budget?

A budget is not required. However, a statement as to the value of the prize to the recipient (either to advance the project or their career) would be a helpful addition.

5. Is there a particular format/layout that is preferred for the submission?

There is no specific format/layout that is preferred, except that all text must be in a readable font (at least Arial 11 point) and margins must be at least 0.7 inches. The design of the submission is at the discretion of the finalist.

6. Is there a specific order that the sections must be addressed or is it open for the applicants to provide all of the information in the most compelling way? 

The sequencing and approach is at the discretion of the finalist.

7. Should the final submission be more like a scientific write-up or a business write-up to pitch the idea?

The report should provide a compelling justification for the innovation with clear advocacy of the pathway to clinical impact. References can be used to support the scientific assertions, if helpful. Alternative or competitive approaches should be
acknowledged in some succinct fashion.

8. Can additional sections be added to those listed in the website instructions for the final proposal?

Sections may be added at the discretion of the finalist.

9. Do business financials need to be included in the application?

Business financials do not need to be included in the application. However, any thoughts on the practicality of commercialization are welcome.

10. As we are writing the final proposal, should we address the project as if we are receiving $100,000, or $50,000?

Since there is a factor of 2 difference between first and second place, certain facets of the project could be accomplished given the larger of the prize monies but not necessarily with the smaller. Your final entry will be judged based on the work to date (of submission at the end of July), and on its promise for the future within a reasonable time frame, with realistically achievable resources. Don't think specifically about whether it can reach full impact with one particular level of prize money from this competition alone. The judges won't consider that.

11. How do I include video attachments in the final submission?

Any videos you may have of your final projects can be posted to YouTube (or any other video hosting site) and the link included in your final submission. Please opt for the "private" posting option rather than the "public" posting.