The Coulter Program has two award programs – Enlighten Award and Evolve Award. 

Up to 12 project proposal teams will be selected to pitch for Enlighten Awards at the Coulter Triage meeting in mid-March (exact date TBD) and teams selected for Enlighten Awards will be invited to pitch for Evolve Awards in mid-June (date TBD).  A max of 6 project teams will receive Enlighten Awards.  We anticipate 3 of these teams will go on to receive Evolve Awards at the selection meeting in September.

The Coulter Program employs a process of:

 Examine to explore fit for program -> Enlighten Award -> Evolve Award -> Exit .  The process from Enlighten to Exit is depicted in the schematic below.  This process requires a team effort between faculty, Coulter and Innovation Partnerships licensing reps to reach the licensing exit stage.


It is requested that applicants discuss their projects with the Coulter team prior to proposal submission to explore the commercial potential for the envisioned product and fit for Coulter support and funding. Please email Thomas Marten, Managing Director, Coulter Program ( to set up a meeting.

Enlighten Award:

Market Assessments, Regulatory roadmaps, IP landscape assessments,  industry mentor feedback, Coulter team and Coulter Oversight Committee guidance, introductions to industry business development teams to confirm interest, and new product strategic planning.  Program deliverables culminate with product development plans and business development milestones, budgets and resource requirements to achieve milestones.  Teams with Enlighten Awards will be invited to pitch for Evolve Awards to execute on strategic plans.

Teams participating in Enlighten Awards receive direct mentoring from business development directors at medical device companies, regulatory strategy experts, medical device entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.  Many members of the Coulter Oversight Committee(OC) also participate as mentors.  OC mentors include medical device industry executives, regulatory experts, investors and entrepreneurs.  Mentors are matched to teams based on experience and backgrounds relevant to team technology.  Mentor guidance provides significant value by optimizing new product planning approaches and improving prospects for future funding.

The Coulter Program will fund up to $20,000 for all external project expenses related to Enlighten award activity.  Coulter will establish the Enlighten plan and manage the budget for Enlighten expenses.  These expenses will include assessments conducted by strategic partner organizations.   Salary coverage is not available during Enlighten.  Additionally, industrial design drawings of envisioned devices and low levels of funding for prototyping efforts to support market research concept testing will be funded on an as needed basis to support Enlighten program efforts. 

Evolve Award:

Split into two sections and may be awarded separately or together by Oversight Committee:

  • Uncover – New product design planning and design confirmation.  Design control development, early prototyping and preliminary verification studies.
  • Emerge – Performance confirmation (Advanced prototype development, Clinical and regulatory affairs, validation studies (bench, animal, human)).
  • Both Uncover and Emerge will involve industry engagement with simultaneous product development and business development processes.

Evolve awardees will be well positioned for licensing exits at the culmination of funding and support.

Evolve funding will be based on milestones and budget requirements to meet milestones.  This is NOT a traditional grant, and funding will only be allocated to the level required to achieve milestones and reach the licensing exit stage.  Much of this work will need to be outsourced to Coulter strategic partner consulting and medical device engineering and manufacturing firms.