Stanford Biodesign

Fall-Winter 2005
Project Type
Full team
Project Focus
Cost Analysis
Organization Type


The Biodesign Program at Stanford University (Biodesign) is a broad collaboration between University faculty and students who share a vision for technology innovation in biomedical engineering through invention and discovery, education, ethics and policy, technology transfer, and career services. The mission of the program is to develop leaders in biomedical technology innovation through collaborative educational programs and resources. Biodesign uses a variety of education methods to serve the biomedical engineering (BME) community, including academic courses, fellowships, seminars, and workshops.

Project Objectives

Biodesign asked an ACT team to:

  • Recommend strategies and tactics to achieve long-term financial stability of the Biodesign program
  • Provide market research that will assist Biodesign in clarifying its mission, so that it outlines corporate funding process and haracterizes Biodesign’s position within the University

Project Overview

The ACT team interviewed alumni, staff, corporations, and venture capital firms to determine Biodesign’s strengths, challenges, and opportunities. The team also examined three different structural options and reviewed potential funding sources.

Key Recommendations

Biodesign mission, goals, and leadership

  • Clarify mission and goals and implement three-year growth plan

  • Develop leadership succession plan and communicate to stakeholders

  • Develop process for identifying and prioritizing new areas for innovation

  • Clarify differences between Bioengineering, BioX, and Biodesign

Funding strategies

  • Optimize current processes by improving internal and external communications

  • Redesign Biodesign’s programs and mission to create multiple opportunities for funding


  • Take formal, proactive approach to communicating value to key constituencies

Biodesign within the University

  • Consider a change in the program’s relationship to Stanford

  • Matrix: Pros and Cons of Structural Changes

Next Step

  • Consider contacting ACT once Biodesign has redefined its mission and position within the university to revisit sustainable funding strategies