Dream it. Make it.

The Health Make-a-Thon at Illinois is your chance to really improve human health. Find out which ideas will be turned into real prototypes through the Health Maker Lab.

The Health Make-a-Thon is a competition for makers, citizen scientists, and anyone in the state of Illinois with ideas for improving human health. A panel of experts from the University of Illinois and beyond will review submissions and choose the best. Finalists will pitch their ideas for a chance to win $10,000 in Health Maker Lab resources to create a real prototype of their idea.

How Great Ideas Get Made

  • Step 1

    Dream it.

    Send us your big idea. You know the one.

    How do I submit?

    Send us your idea through the form on our Submission page.

    Is my idea good enough?

    As long as your submitted idea has potential for broad societal impact within the health domain, and you can defend it, it will be considered.

    Is the idea I submit protected?

    All individuals and team members retain copyright and any equivalent rights to their idea; however, if your idea is chosen as a winning idea, any use of University of Illinois resources including the Health Maker Lab to pursue your idea and solution further may be owned by the University of Illinois as a stakeholder.

    What about intellectual property?

    Research conducted at the University of Illinois is made possible through significant public investment in personnel, infrastructure and equipment. As the steward of these resources, the University seeks to maximize the public benefit that results from this investment. This is reflected in the University’s General Rules, which state that the University owns intellectual property developed using its facilities, equipment or funds. Anyone accessing facilities affiliated with the Health Maker Lab will need to agree to be subject to the General Rules prior to receiving a Health Maker Lab coin.

    What are the competition rules?

    The official competition rules can be found here.

  • Step 2

    Pitch it.

    Our reviewers will take a look. You may be invited to present your idea to our panel of friendly judges.

    Who are these reviewers?

    Your qualified submission will be reviewed by accomplished entrepreneurs, innovators, scholars, healthcare providers, and citizen scientists from Illinois and beyond.

    This sounds scary! Will it be like Shark Tank?

    Not at all. As a finalist, you will give a brief presentation to our panel of judges and a live audience in a “dolphin tank” style event. Be prepared for friendly Q&A from panelists and audience members.

    I'm not a finalist. Can I attend the event?

    Of course! All are invited to attend the Health Make-a-thon event on April 17, 2021. You can see a list of last year’s winning entriesĀ here.

  • Step 3

    Make it.

    A handful of winners will be selected from the presenting group.
    If you’re a winner, you’ll receive access to the Health Maker Lab network, $10,000 in idea support, and mentorship by experts throughout the University of Illinois. Your idea will become a reality through prototyping. Will it sink or swim?

    There’s only one way to find out.

    What will $10,000 get me?

    Make-a-Thon winners will receive $10,000 that can be used at any of the Health Maker Lab nodes to transform their winning idea into a new prototype. This amount is expected to cover all expenses related to ideating, designing, mentoring, and prototype manufacturing.

    What if I don't know how to make a prototype?

    You don’t have to. In accessing the Health Maker Lab, you will either train to use certain equipment and do some making yourself, or you will partner with highly-trained experts to create your prototype.

Questions about the competition? Need help forming a team?