Got questions? We've got answers...
The Interuniversity FemTechnology Challenge is designed to engage and spark the interest of a multidisciplinary range of students at top universities about understudied issues in women’s health. Its aim is to shine a spotlight on areas of women’s health that have been historically underfunded and under-researched in order to introduce students to the many ways one might tackle these issues and the tremendous opportunities that solving these issues presents.
The winners of each category will present their solutions at the summit.
The FemTechnology Interuniversity Challenge will center around the four themes of the 2022 FemTechnology summit:
- Fertility x Endometriosis x PCOS :
PCOS is estimated to affect between 4-20% of women of reproductive age worldwide. The variability in symptoms and how they present in different people means that up to 75% of women with PCOS do not receive a diagnosis for their condition. This is significant because PCOS is linked to other serious health conditions, such as metabolic and cardiovascular comorbidities, infertility, pregnancy complications, psychological disorders, and cancer. Endometriosis affects as many people as Diabetes- and yet Diabetes research has 200 times more funding. Endometriosis is a chronic pain condition with massive health implications down the line if not managed properly. Both PCOS and Endometriosis are the leading causes of infertility in women – we will be exploring the link between these two diseases and fertility and the implications for women’s health in all aspects of their lives, reaching well beyond notions of fertility.
- The Gender Data Gap In Women’s Health :
The Gender Data Gap persists at every echelon of healthcare from trials to treatment. Some examples? 70% of the people affected by chronic pain conditions are women – but 80% of research into pain is conducted on male humans or rodents. Despite being the leading cause of mortality in women, diagnosis of heart disease and models of clinical care draw heavily on previous research conducted only with men. The vaginal microbiome is another example. It is associated with STIs, Pelvic inflammatory disease, Fertility issues, failed IVF cycles and Pregnancy complications such as miscarriage, preterm birth, neonatal problems and preeclampsia. And yet, though resources have been invested in understanding other human microbiomes like that of the gut or skin, when it comes to the vagina, the microbiome has been overlooked.
- The Link Between Gender + Effective Therapy in Medicine:
There are sex differences in every single cell in the human body. This Roundtable will explore how those differences influence the way diseases manifest between the genders and how it should influence the way we can diagnose and deliver treatment effectively. Emphasis will be placed on the differences in pain, the immune system between men and women and the implications that has.
- The Future of Care:
How can we revolutionize care to make it more inclusive, allow women to access it better and incorporate sex and gender-based differences in clinical presentation, physical examination, laboratory results, treatment regimens and communication differences between men and women to assist clinicians in their conversations with patients?
Teams participating in the Challenge will formulate a solution that takes one of the following forms:
- A Research Initiative:
The team will outline a research initiative tackling an understudied area in women’s health (ideally utilizing a type of data that is already collected by FemTech Startup) – and why that use of underutilized data would be uniquely suited to investigating a neglected area of women’s health.
Teams will be evaluated on the originality of the question they are asking/aspect of women’s health they are targeting as well as the means of collecting the data they have chosen.
Eg could the symptom tracking feature of Clue (The Period Tracking App) help us study how PPD manifests in women?
- A Product concept:
The team will put forward the concept for a digital or physical product tackling an area of women’s health that has been traditionally neglected – and outline how their solution is different from what is currently on the market and why it solves a unique need.
Eg a birth control case that reminds you to take your birth control pills and allows you to track your symptoms whilst on the pill (this product already exists: ‘Emme’).
- A Protocol :
The team will put forward measures that could improve the patient experience – and present evidence for the need and how the approach would improve this patient experience.
Eg women with endometriosis and PCOS often report feeling dismissed by their physicians – should there be an app/protocol women are given for a handful of months to track symptoms/answer questions so that when they return to see the physician they return with a body of evidence?
Each team should be composed of 2-6 people.
Participants in the Challenge must be enrolled at a university in their Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD Studies. Professor Supervision is thoroughly encouraged. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with other challenge-takers as well as start-ups, researchers and community members. Students can and should be from multiple disciplines but it would be ideal if at least one medical student is on board the team.
Because Women’s health has historically been ignored in terms of research conducted and practices implemented in a clinical setting. Most research and academic discoveries do not make their way to the patient bedside where they could be used to radically and positively transform the patient experience.
This is a chance to take part in shaping the future of women’s health with other students and interact with top Start-Ups and Researchers in the field interested in addressing and solving these important issues.
The InterUniversity FemTechnology Challenge is designed to inspire students before their workforce years to search for innovations at the intersection of gender and effective therapy in medicine.
At its heart The InterUniversity FemTechnology Challenge presents the opportunity to create and cement synergies between universities currently at the forefront of FemTech. With an eye towards increased collaboration and dialogue in the field.
The winners of each category will present their solutions at the summit.
Timeline and Important Dates:
March 25th 2022: Kick-Off with all participating teams.
The Cambridge FemTech Society Panels will serve as monthly introductions and inspirations to the FemTech Space.
May 19th: Pre-Presentations of all Team Solutions
June 1st: Final Presentations of Solutions at the FemTechnology Summit.
That’s terrific to hear ! Unfortunately, you cannot enter to solve the Challenges directly but you can still be a part of the process in one of several ways:
- As a community Member
- As a Startup
- As a Researcher or Professor
- As a Sponsor
- Deep Dives:
https://femtechnology.org/deep-dives/ Interviews with researchers and startups in the space of women’s health
- Short Takes:
short thought pieces designed to spark interest in various topics in women’s health
- Cambridge FemTech Society Panels