The Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge (HHIC) is an annual entrepreneurship competition hosted by the UW Foster School of Business’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. Teams of students compete to pitch an innovative product, service or process designed to address a major healthcare challenge in the world. The proposals are then judged by a panel of investors, entrepreneurs and healthcare providers, who provide constructive feedback to help the teams progress their projects.

This year, six BioE teams competed in the HHIC finals, with two teams taking home top prizes awarded by the judges.


Piezo-Pulse is a team of Master of Applied Bioengineering (MAB) students working to create an implantable device that uses the energy generated by heartbeats to recharge leadless pacemakers, extending device longevity and reducing the need for battery replacement. They were awarded the $5,000 Acclara Third Place Prize as well as the $2,500 Fenwick & West Best Idea for a Medical Device Award.


ACT-NIRS is developing a probe to detect brain tissue oxygenation to prevent severe neurological issues in critically ill pre-term infants. They were awarded the $1,000 Connie Bourassa-Shaw Spark Award, which recognizes “teams that, in the eyes of the judges, just missed out on one of the top three awards.”

Looking Ahead

While only the judge-selected winners received cash prizes at the HHIC, all of the finalists received detailed feedback and advice on their innovations from experienced industry professionals. Many of the teams will continue on to compete in the multi-phase Dempsey Start-Up Competition, which begins in April and continues through May. Teams are also eligible to participate in the HHIC again next year.