Challenge Details

The Grand Challenge (TGC) is a two-day competition (October 1-2, 2020) to be held in conjunction with the 2020 Starzl Network Annual Meeting. All applicants must be present for the entire competition in order to be eligible for prizes. There will be no virtual pitching permitted. The pitches will be judged by a panel of experts the day of TGC, and winners will be announced at the Starzl Network Annual Meeting. The 2020 Annual Meeting will be held at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, PA (510 Market Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222).

The application cycle will open in March 2020 and will close July 31, 2020. A Selection Committee (appointed by TGC leadership) will review the applicants on a rolling basis, assess their fit with the objectives of TGC, select and invite Round 2 applications, and make final candidate selections. All selection decisions are final. Selected candidates will be notified no later than August 10, 2020.

Teams will submit their application to a tech startup company track or a hospital track.

Tech Startup Track

This is for technology-based startups with solutions that are focused on improving solid organ transplant. These companies (formal legal entities) deliver new technology products/services or deliver existing technology products/services in new ways.

Hospital Track

This is for new or early innovations led by hospital teams. Multidisciplinary teams are preferred. Teams should consist of at least one-member active in transplantation. Both innovative clinical and translational solutions will be considered.

Project Examples:

TGC is intentionally casting a wide net; applicants can address all aspects of the solid organ transplant journey—pre-transplant, peri-transplant, or post-transplant. TGC will consider all applicants that are focused on improving organ transplant including (but not limited to):

  • Supporting patient’s health and wellness while they wait for transplant
  • Providing technology-based solutions for patient and personal-caregiver engagement, empowerment, and education across the transplant journey
  • Providing technology-based decision support for providers across all phases of transplant
  • Reducing complications of the transplant surgery, such as bleeding, pain, and infection
  • Improving solid organ procurement, allocation, donor-recipient matching, and organ preservation with technology-based solutions
  • Technology solutions focused on improving transplant patient adherence and outcomes
  • Establishing increased value and cost effectiveness in transplant care
  • Preventing rejection episodes in the long-term
  • Optimizing lifelong patient and graft outcomes
  • Supporting patient and personal-caregiver mental health, before, during, and after transplant
  • Facilitating communication and information-sharing between patients/personal-caregivers and health care providers

Award Details

The Starzl Network will award the following prizes for both tracks of TGC. All awardees must provide project updates at six and twelve months and will have the opportunity to provide updates on their work at the 2021 Starzl Network Annual Meeting. First place winners in each track will have the opportunity to participate in a collaboration. For the collaboration prize at least one of the Starzl Network transplant member centers will commit to engaging in a pilot, beta test, and/or peer review based on the proposed solution.


  • Projects will be evaluated on the following components of their ideas: Impact, Reach, Outcome Feasibility & Economic Sustainability, and Economic Viability.
  • Evaluations will be completed by a committee of multidisciplinary advisors including researchers, clinicians, patient advocates, and transplant families.
  • Final awards will be announced during the Starzl Network Annual Meeting.

Application Information

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