Citizen scientist challenge open, chance to win $10k for health innovation ideas

The Extension and Public Engagement Connection Center at University of Illinois Extension supports efforts to deliver positive impacts through innovation and applied research to Illinois residents through Carle Illinois College of Medicine's third annual Health-Make-a-Thon.

Starting November 15, 2020, Illinois residents are invited to submit ideas for improving human health to the Health Make-a-Thon competition. The 10 best ideas will each be supported by $10,000 in Health Maker Lab resources to create a real prototype of their idea.

Carle Illinois College of Medicine in Urbana-Champaign created the competition with the goal of democratizing health innovation. Dr. Marty Burke, associate dean of research, said that the people with the best ideas are often not trained scientists, but citizens who live with health issues day after day.

“We’re empowering people to get involved in the quality of their own care by saying we believe that everyone has good ideas and we want to hear them,” said Professor Burke, who refers to such people as ‘citizen scientists’. “Literally anyone with an idea for improving human health has a chance to access our maker lab resources where our experts will guide them through concepting, designing, making, failing, and trying again.”

All Illinois residents are to submit ideas. Past participants have included community members, students, healthcare professionals, and entrepreneurs. Idea submissions will be accepted between November 15 and January 22, 2021. Finalists will be notified by the week of March 8, 2021, and ten winners will be chosen at the virtual Health Make-a-Thon event on April 17, 2021.

To learn more about the Health Make-a-Thon and to submit an idea, visit the Health Maker Lab website.

SOURCE/WRITER: Charlie Simpson, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, Carle Illinois College of Medicine