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The HealthLab

Accelerating solutions for public and planetary health

A joint initiative from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard College’s Lemann Program on Creativity and Entrepreneurship.

HealthLab, an accelerator for student solutions in public and planetary health, will open in the fall of 2022 to all students across Harvard University.

HealthLab Accelerator

HealthLab aims to nurture a culture of entrepreneurship by helping students turn academic insights and personal passions into startups with the potential for real-world impact. ​At the start of each academic year, students with ideas for building a healthier world can form teams and apply to join the cohort. HealthLab seeks to promote collaboration between graduate students and Harvard undergraduates and encourages multidisciplinary teams drawing on expertise from across the university.

Selected teams will earn startup cash, receive personal mentoring, and attend specialized workshops designed to nurture skills in entrepreneurship as they work on their project. After a pitch competition in the spring, a panel of distinguished judges will award the top three teams honors — and funding to continue their enterprise. For our inaugural year, the total purse will be $100,000. 

Teams can apply with any idea that advances public or planetary health, on a local or global level. HealthLab will also offer a yearly challenge prompt of an emerging problem. Our inaugural HealthLab challenge is:​

HealthLab Connect

HealthLab Connect is the outreach component of the HealthLab. Join LPCE and HSPH in adventures to exciting new learning environments where we collaborate with teachers and students to co-create a curricular offerings that addresses both the relevant topics of their community, but also compelling exercises in social impact ideation and application.

Currently, HealthLab Connect is building partnerships with The Dana Farber Cancer Institute CURE Program, The Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester, and the Universidad Dominca Centrado, Brazil.

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HealthLab FAQs

  • When does HealthLab open?

    • HealthLab will kick off in September 2022

  • Who is eligible?

    • The HealthLab accelerator program is open to teams of current students and postdocs from across the University (no faculty or staff). Teams may include individuals from outside the University as well, but priority will be given to multi-disciplinary teams that draw heavily on the expertise of students enrolled in Harvard College or Harvard graduate schools.

    •  Applicants must be early-stage ventures without employees and with less than $10,000 in funding.

  • What ventures may apply?​

    • We’ll gladly look at any idea or venture that offers a sustainable and empathetic solution to a intractable societal problem​

    • Need inspiration? If your venture addresses any of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, you’ll be eligible.

  • ​​What is an intractable global problem?​

    • Intractable global problems include hunger, oppression, pollution, conflict, climate change, inequities in education, human rights violations…. just to name a few.

  • How do you apply to HealthLab?

    • To apply to HealthLab's cohort, you will need to present the following components:​

      • A global health problem

      • A sustainable and empathetic solution

      • Your venture’s unique differentiating value A positive theory of change

      • A targeted and diverse team 

      • A rough budget 

    • We will post more detailed guidelines and an application form on our website this summer.

  • Can I apply solo, or do I need a team?

    • You will need at least two members on your founding team. The team leader must be an enrolled, degree-seeking Harvard student. Our judging rubric for admission to the cohort awards more points for blended teams across schools and concentrations, consisting of undergraduate and graduate members with diverse backgrounds and multi-disciplinary areas of expertise.​

  • Will there be mentoring and networking opportunities?

    • Yes. Each team will be assigned a generalist mentor to guide them through the year. In addition, each team will get mentoring from experts based on the need of the team and the venture.​

    • We will also host several networking events for our cohort, the LPCE community, the larger Harvard community, and social entrepreneurs outside Harvard's walls.

  • How much commitment will HealthLab require?

    • Advancing in HealthLab after acceptance into the cohort will require four hours monthly at the very least. The expectation is that the members of the cohort are motivated to be there, self-selecting, and eager to take advantage of the opportunities HealthLab offers.​

  • What else can I expect if my team makes the cut and joins the cohort??

    • Good question. Thank you for asking. If you are accepted into our cohort, your team will receive additional opportunities to engage with other creative entrepreneurial communities on campus and beyond.

    • You will have the opportunity to present at follow-up events.​

    • You will be asked to prepare a final report and apply to our HealthLab Pitch Competition in April for the chance to win one of three grand prizes of $20,000 each to continue to take your idea forward.

    • You will have the opportunity to engage with our HealthLab summer outreach program, which aims to bring creative entrepreneurial and public health strategies to under-resourced high schools locally and globally.

  • Are funds I receive from HealthLab taxable?

    • Yes, please know all funds from HealthLab are taxable. Harvard shall not be responsible for any applicable taxes or for increasing the funds to cover any applicable tax required to be withheld.


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