In Abbott's University Challenge, 150 students from five countries apply their knowledge and look for innovative solutions to existing healthcare challenges.

To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science."
- Albert Einstein

Students across China, Singapore, India, the UK and the U.S. imagined new healthcare solutions as they competed in Abbott’s Innovation University Challenge.

In the second edition of this global competition, aimed at information technology, medicine and science and engineering students, Abbott invited participants from around the world to develop, design and propose new ways of meeting the needs of patients and healthcare providers. The competition’s innovation topics aligned with Abbott’s diversified healthcare expertise and activities, with students addressing challenges in the areas of diabetes care, women’s health, children’s healthcare or solutions for elderly care. Participants could also propose novel ways to meet the healthcare needs in emerging markets.

For the students, the University Challenge provided them with an opportunity to go beyond their class curriculum, learn about the global healthcare industry and apply classroom theory to real-world challenges.

“We were thrilled with the number and the quality of the responses we received to this year’s University Challenge,” said Arnd Annweiler, Divisional Vice President Development for Abbott’s Established Pharmaceuticals business. “We felt that students really put themselves in the shoes of the patients or healthcare providers for whom they were developing their idea, and came up with some really interesting concepts to improve these people’s lives. This is exactly what innovation in our industry should be about–how can we make the lives of our patients or doctors easier, whether that’s through new devices, new services, new medicines or a combination of all.”

The Challenge once again garnered a good turnout. Out of all submissions, five semifinalists were selected by a jury composed of Abbott leaders and independent scientists to receive coaching sessions with an Abbott leader to further fine-tune their proposal. After a final presentation, three winners were selected based on innovativeness, feasibility, impact on intended patient audience and overall quality of the proposal.

All three of this year’s winning teams came from Singapore: two from the National University of Singapore and one from Nanyang Technological University.

The competition provided participating teams with a valuable “real-life” business experience, as mentioned by Yi Xiang Tan, first-place winner, Team Anthrolutions. “Taking part in this challenge made us realize that presenting our idea to professors in school and trying to ‘sell’ our idea in a real world company is pretty different,” said Tan. In school, the device technicalities are more important, but in the real world, a strong medical need and marketability are also huge factors. So this challenge is a good experience for us to realize what is needed in the real world, and how to translate what we have learnt in school for industrial application.”

 “We want to congratulate all participants and look forward to further exploring these ideas to better meet the needs of patients and healthcare providers around the world,” said Annweiler in final remarks on the competition.