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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. 

The InterUniversity FemTechnology Challenge will take place virtually to enable the widest range of diverse geographically located groups to participate. 

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:

  1. As a community Member
  2. As a Startup
  3. As a Researcher or Professor
  4. As a Sponsor

Next Steps

Step #1: Register Your Interest

Interested in Participating in the Challenges? Sign Up Now to stay Up to Date with the latest Developments

Step #2: Form A Team

Start looking around for Team Members. Teams can contain a maximum of six individuals, and a minimum of two people. Tell your friends, your classmates - you never know who might want to participate.

Step #3: Get Started

"How do I win?"

aka Selection Criteria

#1 Scientifically Plausible

Your solution needs to be scientifically plausible and incorporate clinicians and/or researchers in its approach. Ideally, it will solve a need for them.

#2 Solves A Need

As mentioned above, ideally your solution will at the very least solve a physician or researcher need, but hopefully it will solve an issue faced by patients as well

#3 Design

You are completely free as to the form your solution will take. It can be the design of a clinical trial, a wearable, an app etc. but points will be awarded in function of how usable the approach is

Bonus Points

Bonus points are awarded if: - the solution is based upon research and evidence that was conducted at the university of the team members - team members are from different disciplines within the university and the solution incorporates their different expertise - the solution comes with an ask: eg partnering with a FemTech Startup in the coming months to conduct the research, or you would like those viewing the summit to be your beta testers.

Media coverage

A workshop is embedded into a conference; it doesn’t take place on its own, but it takes place during the main conference.

New topics

The summit is an excellent opportunity to socialize and build lasting relationships with other members of the field

Coffee breaks

Completely synergize resource taxing relationships via premier niche markets. Professionally cultivate customer service.

Experience

Meet the experts from the tech and design world you follow online.

Networking

Connect with and exchange ideas with designers from all over the world.

Afterparty

Celebrate in a unique location & create great memories with our international community.