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Why are there so few female-led STEM businesses? Hint: It's not a pipeline problem

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JLABS @ M2D2 QuickFire Challenge

JLABS @ M2D2 QuickFire Challenge
Challenge ended

Residency at JLABS @ M2D2

Vision care
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Third Pole is producing next generation cardio-pulmonary therapies that expand patient access. Our first product creates inhaled nitric oxide on-demand, on-site from air. Powered by this innovative portable technology licensed from Massachusetts General Hospital we eliminate the need for cumbersome compressed gas cylinders and enable the worldwide use of inhaled NO in settings outside of acute care.

The Challenge

We are looking for game-changing early-stage medical device innovations and therapeutic platforms across Johnson & Johnson’s strategic areas of interest:

  • Cardiovascular
  • Diabetes
  • Neurovascular
  • Orthopedics
  • Surgery
  • Vision Care

Entrants must be committed to conducting their project at the M2D2 space in Lowell, MA.

Rewards and benefits

Space at JLABS @ M2D2

Why this challenge matters to us

At Johnson & Johnson Innovation, we believe the next great idea can come from anywhere – and that it’s just as likely to come from outside of our walls as from inside our research labs. That’s why Johnson & Johnson Innovation is excited to announce JLABS @ M2D2, our accelerator initiative in partnership with the northeast region’s premier medtech incubator, University of Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) in Lowell, Massachusetts. JLABS @ M2D2 is our seventh JLABS facility and the first specifically focused on the early-stage medical device ecosystem.


Deadline to apply
Announcement of winners

Check out the blog post on the J&J website!

WiSTEM2D Scholars

WiSTEM2D Scholars
Challenge ended

$150,000 scholarship award*

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The Johnson & Johnson Scholars Program aims to fuel the development of female STEM2D leaders and feed the STEM2D talent pipeline by awarding and sponsoring women at critical points in their research careers, in each of the STEM2D disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing and Design.

The awards will fund one woman per discipline who has completed her advanced degree, who is working as an assistant professor and who is not yet tenured at an accredited university or design institution. The goal is to fuel the research passion of the awarded women and inspire career paths in their respective STEM2D fields.

By offering these scholarships, Johnson & Johnson hopes to play an influential role in STEM2D breakthroughs in the future.

The Scholarship Award is a 3-year scholarship in the gross amount of $150,000, which will be paid to the University (the “Recipient”) for the benefit of the J&J Scholar and her research, with the understanding that the Recipient will administer the funds. The Scholarship Award will be paid in three (3) installments of US $50,000 per year of the 3-year scholarship period, payable in September, subject to compliance with the terms and conditions of the program’s Agreement.

Rewards and benefits

  • 3-year scholarship
  • Paid to the University (the “Recipient”) for the benefit of the J&J Scholar
  • Will be paid in three (3) installments of US $50,000 per year


Applications Open
Submission Deadline

The following award criteria applies:

You must be a woman working in the field(s) of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing and Design (STEM2D).

You must be a non-tenured assistant female professor or global equivalent faculty position at the time of application at a tenure granting accredited academic university, institution or design school.

The female scholar should have a minimum degree for the appropriate field:

  • Science; PhD
  • Technology; PhD
  • Engineering; PhD
  • Math; MS, PhD
  • Manufacturing; PhD
  • Design; MA, MS, MDes, MArch, MLA, PhD

Application Phase 1

In addition to general contact details and demographics, the scholar applicant is responsible for the provision of documents into the Fluid Review system, including non-confidential letters of recommendation.

  • Submit a department head letter of recommendation (One applicant per university per letter of STEM2D) .
  • Write 1,000 words (plus one page of images) detailing your proposed area of research.
  • Create and submit a one-minute digital video describing, as simply as possible, the impact of the research on your area of STEM2D and your own personal impact as a potential future leader in STEM2D.
  • Submit PDF files of three selected publications or pieces of portfolio that represent your most important contributions with a focus on the most recent five years.
  • Submit your resume (three pages, font size 11), including a list of publications, presentations, abstracts, current financial support already obtained, other folio work and two references.
  • Brief outline of budget for proposed research

Application Phase 2

  • Present a five-minute summary of the proposed research and societal impact in a digital video.

Victorian QuickFire Challenge: Driving Device Innovation

Victorian QuickFire Challenge: Driving Device Innovation
Challenge ended

Up to AUD 300,000*



  • Atmo Biosciences: Australia-based Atmo Biosciences has developed a patented, low-cost, non-invasive medical device in the form of an ingestible electronic capsule. The device gathers digital health data from gas concentrations as it passes through the gut, for the screening and diagnosis of gastrointestinal disorders and for assessing effects of dietary treatments on the gut.
  • RMIT University: An Australia-based RMIT University team led by Madhu Bhaskaran has developed electronics that stretch and flex, driving the development of ultra-light, stretchable, wearable sensors. The team’s transparent, unbreakable patch has been demonstrated for ultra-violet (UV) sensing and can be potentially integrated with clothing or worn on skin. The patch can quantitatively track the amount of UV radiation and exposure (both UVA and UVB).
  • Spect Inc.

The Challenge

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Medical Device Innovators are invited to bring their ideas to the growing hub for scientific innovation in the state of Victoria, Australia through the Victorian QuickFire Challenge: Driving Device Innovation. Victoria has one of the world's largest life science clusters composed of medtech, biotech and pharmaceutical industries. The sector employs more than 23,000 people and is made up of more than 650 firms ranging in size from small start-ups to large Victorian exporters and global manufacturers. Revenue in the sector has quadrupled since 2003 to $12.7 billion and exports have doubled since 2011 to $1.3 billion.

This device-focused QuickFire Challenge, announced by the Victorian Government in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation, is aimed at game-changing early-stage medical device innovations across strategic areas of interest for Johnson & Johnson Medical Device Companies

The Victorian Government will award up to AUD 300,000 to the top solutions including access to the device prototyping lab and mentorship and coaching from Johnson & Johnson Medical Device experts.

Specific areas of focus include:

  • 3D Printing: Using new technologies to deliver 3-D printing solutions that can have transformative applications
  • Biomaterials
  • Cardiovascular: Durable, effective interventions to improve outcomes in AFIB and structural heart conditions (e.g. CHF)
  • Digital Surgery: Emerging technologies in surgical robotics
  • Neurovascular: Innovative therapies for stroke patients
  • Oncology:  Solutions designed to assist with the monitoring, physiotherapy and invasive care of oncology patients
  • Obesity: More durable interventions across the continuum, Prevent or reduce morbidities of obesity
  • Orthopedics: Joint Reconstruction, Trauma, Spine and Sports Medicine. Collectively, these businesses are focused on helping patients along the care continuum — from early intervention to surgical replacement, with the goal of helping people return to living active and fulfilling lives.
  • Osteoarthritis:  Early interventions to prevent progression, Better surgical outcomes in advanced disease
  • Osteoporosis: Minimize OP fracture rate, improve healing and address fragile bone
  • Sensor Technologies: Implantable and wearable sensors: Innovative approaches to healthcare monitoring.
  • Surgery: Advancing technologies, products and services to enhance patient care and bring greater precision to every aspect of surgery.
  • Vision Care: Creating life-long solutions to vision care needs

Why this challenge matters to us:

The Johnson & Johnson Medical Device Companies have a successful history in creating new markets, delivering breakthrough innovation and establishing strong partnerships built on a shared vision. We believe a good idea can come from anywhere, and it's our goal to break through the noise of the crowded device landscape and to accelerate the development of novel technologies to provide solutions to patients.

Application process:

Solutions will be evaluated by a panel of industry and government reviewers on their ability to meet the following criteria:

  • Potential to impact healthcare outcomes in a strategic area of interest
  • Uniqueness of solution & level of competition in current market
  • Quality & feasibility of technology
  • Team credibility & capabilities
  • Clarity of plan: Milestones & defined go/no go decisions

Rewards and benefits

Up to a total of AUD 300,000 in funding to help advance their research*
  • Access to a network of Johnson & Johnson Innovation experts
  • *Up to AUD 300,000 will be shared between up to three (3) winners for projects in the field of medical devices in the form of a grant agreement with the Victorian Government for payment for goods and services obtained within Victoria.


Launch at the 6th Annual Devices & Diagnostics Lab
Application Deadline
Review Start
Review End
Review Call
Finalist Presentations
Fall 2018
Winner Announcement

Apply Now

Submit your idea today!

Don’t miss the deadline

About Victoria

The Victorian Government is working to sustainably develop the economy by growing employment and improving the lives and prosperity of all Victorians.

Since the release of our Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Sector Strategy, we have provided key support to the industry and manufacturing through the $200 million Future Industries Fund.

Global health care spending is projected to grow by over four per cent per year, so there is an urgent need for new technologies and diagnostic tools that will improve patient care.

Through start-up initiatives such as MedTech's Got Talent, the new MedTech Actuator and BioCurate we are working to capitalise upon this enormous opportunity for Victoria's booming medtech and pharmaceutical sector, which currently employs more than 23,000 and brings in $12.7 billion in annual revenue.

Last year we opened a new Victorian Government Trade and Investment office in Boston, to help Victorian businesses connect with the investors that can take promising products and business ideas to the next level.

Continuing to grow the sector by attracting talent, supporting start-ups, and strengthening relationships between researchers and global industry will create rewarding, secure jobs for Victorians and help us to play a key role in improving health and wellbeing worldwide.

About Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS

Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS (JLABS) is a global network of open innovation ecosystems, enabling and empowering innovators to create and accelerate the delivery of life-saving, life-enhancing health and wellness solutions to patients around the world. JLABS achieves this by providing the optimal environment for emerging companies to catalyze growth and optimize their research and development by opening them to vital industry connections, delivering entrepreneurial programs and providing a capital-efficient, flexible platform where they can transform the scientific discoveries of today into the breakthrough healthcare solutions of tomorrow.  At JLABS we value great ideas and are passionate about removing obstacles to success to help innovators unleash the potential of their early scientific discoveries.  JLABS is a no-strings-attached model, which means entrepreneurs are free to develop their science while holding on to their intellectual property.  JLABS is open to entrepreneurs across a broad healthcare spectrum including pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer and digital health sectors.

JLABS currently has locations in innovation hot spots across the world and produces entrepreneurial programs and campaigns to seek out the best science, like the QuickFire Challenges around the globe. The JLABS flagship opened in 2012 in San Diego at Janssen's West Coast Research Center, and since then, has established two locations in San Francisco - one through a collaboration with the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) and a second standalone facility in South San Francisco.  JLABS is also located in Boston through a collaboration with LabCentral, in Lowell, Massachusetts through a collaboration with UMass, in Houston through a collaboration with the Texas Medical Center (TMC), in Toronto through a collaboration with the Ontario Government and the University of Toronto. New JLABS in NYC and Shanghai have been announced, and in February 2018, the Belgium-based JLINX incubator began transitioning into a JLABS, making this the first JLABS in Europe.  For more information about JLABS, please visit www.jlabs.jnjinnovation.com.

About Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC focuses on accelerating all stages of innovation worldwide and forming collaborations between entrepreneurs and Johnson & Johnson's global healthcare businesses. Johnson & Johnson Innovation provides scientists, entrepreneurs and emerging companies with one-stop access to science and technology experts who can facilitate collaborations across the pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer companies of Johnson & Johnson. Under the Johnson & Johnson Innovation umbrella of businesses, we connect with innovators through our regional Innovation Centers, Johnson & Johnson Innovation | JLABS, Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JJDC, Inc. and our Business Development teams to create customized deals and novel collaborations that speed development of innovations to solve unmet needs in patients. For more information, visit www.jnjinnovation.com or follow @JNJInnovation.

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