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Design Challenge Submission Process

If you are interested in harnessing the collective skill, energy and talent of our design teams submit your design challenge for our next round of projects.  If selected, a team of 5-8 undergraduate biomedical engineering students plus faculty will work with you and a group of medtech design and commercialization experts over the course of a year to develop solutions to your design challenge!

2019 Important Deadlines

  • February 13th     Submissions Due
  • March 8-15th     Selected Needs Deep Discussion Events on selected design challenges
  • May 7th                Selections Announced
  • 12 months           Design team works with you addressing your design challenge


BME Undergraduate Design Team Program

Over the past nine years, Design Teams Students have completed over 250 design projects, mainly solutions to clinical challenges, with sponsors. This teamwork has been the basis for many patents, licensing agreements, and start-up companies. Teams have access to the BME Department’s state-of-the-art Design Studios on both campuses and resources to build and test early-stage ideas.


The Design Teams Course and Timeline

Each year, approximately 15 teams of Biomedical Engineering undergraduate students work with clinical sponsors, faculty mentors, as well as professional designers, engineers, and scientists to define and implement an impactful project addressing a clinical or research need. Teams identify projects in the Spring semester, before the Design Team academic year, and work on their projects for approximately 12 months. Team Leaders will begin their project search in February, and will start working with their teams in May.

Design Teams Project Submission Timeline


If your project is selected, you will have:

  • the option of becoming a Project Sponsor and/or joining a Project Advisory Committee,
  • access to technology assessments and business plans written by the student Design Team,
  • eligibility for funds from the CBID Technology Accelerator Fund,
  • modest departmental funding for prototyping, and
  • access to CBID innovation, design, and business networking events.

Project Team

Design Team projects are driven by students but benefit from a wide range of mentors and resources. Success of a project depends on close collaboration between the Design Team, CBID Team, and the Clinical Sponsor.


Successful projects typically:

  • involve accessible sponsors that can devote an average of 1 hour of time per week to working with the student team,
  • benefit from resources like experimental equipment, IRB support, and animal models,
  • give student teams access to clinical staff, colleagues, residents, and nurses,
  • fit within an appropriate scope for one year of undergraduate work,
  • involve a technical solution and a design component,
  • and treat design team students as collaborative partners with some degree of independence.

Intellectual Property

If the Intellectual Property (IP) is created by the students, the students own the IP as long as they are not employed by Johns Hopkins University and/or use substantial resources as defined under the Johns Hopkins IP Policy. If the IP is created by the Johns Hopkins clinician, then Johns Hopkins owns the IP because the clinician is an employee and is subjected to the Johns Hopkins IP Policy. As a clinician inventor, you will share royalties upon IP commercialization in accordance with Johns Hopkins IP Financial Distribution Policy.

The Department of Biomedical Engineering’s business development director, Chuck Montague, acts as the liaison in support of students and sponsors seeking patenting, licensing and marketing of Design Team-driven technologies and products.

Example of a Project Submission

Courtesy of Dr. James Gilman, Antonio Spina, Michael Good, Qiuyin Ren, Ryan Walter, and Travis Wallace

Emergency Cricothyrotomy

10-15% of preventable deaths in the U.S. army occur due to airway obstruction from maxillofacial trauma. The key lifesaving procedure in these severe trauma cases is a cricothyrotomy, where an emergency surgical airway (ESA) is opened in the cricothyroid membrane (CTM) of the neck. 68W combat medics are trained on cricothyrotomy, but previous data has shown a failure rate of 33%. The key failure points are:

  • Lack of anatomical knowledge and recent training; failure to locate CTM
  • Failure to “cut to air”; cannulation of the subcutaneous space instead of trachea
  • Delay or avoidance of the procedure due to its perceived undesirability or lack of confidence
  • Inability of a 68W to reach the patient

Additionally, only 1 in 40 soldiers is a 68W, and some units may enter combat without a 68W. These problems could be solved if a simplified, intuitive, dependable cricothyrotomy device were available to more personnel.

Submission Instructions

Please complete the following form to submit a project. Typically, the most successful project submissions focus on the clinical problem and opportunity.


Click here to submit your design challenge

The Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design