Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Better Ideas

  • If you want to invent a device or procedure to solve unmet medical needs,
  • If you envision bringing better methods of patient care to life,
  • If you want to learn to navigate the health care business ecosystem,
  • If you enjoy the rewards of participating on a multidisciplinary team,
  • If you are ready to innovate,

... then this path is for you.

A group of people smiling for the camera
Welcoming M1s to the I&E Path

The Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E) Path of Excellence gives medical students a unique insight into the rapidly expanding culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in biomedical research and medicine.

The I&E path offers firsthand experience on the innovation process leading to new biomedical devices, diagnostics, therapeutics, health IT, service line improvements, or policy advances. Other collaborators include U-M College of Engineering, U-M Medical School, Zell Lurie Institute, U-M Office of Tech Transfer, and U-M Ross School of Business.

For students who are passionate about improving health care through innovation, this path provides the resources, perspective and exposure to explore all aspects of this career choice.

Med students are encouraged to join this Path in their M1 year, however you can choose to apply during any year of med school. Students who sign up for I&E take the Foundation of Innovation seminar series during their M1 year.

Watch Stephen's story


To achieve recognition from the Medical School Dean, the I&E Path trains students to gain the fundamentals of both innovation and entrepreneurship through a hands-on learning program. During your M1 year, you will have dedicated time to participate in our “Foundations of Innovation” curriculum where you will learn various components that are critical to life science innovations, building a business case, and Design Thinking. The I&E leadership team will also help coach you on developing your very own innovative idea and creating various styles of pitches to communicate your idea to others.


Before starting your M3 year, you will work with the I&E leadership team to plan out when it would be best to do your Branch-elective experience. The I&E path has many different opportunities for this requirement and will work with you in creating your own unique experience. Branch electives can be completed over a period of several weeks or in as little as four weeks.

Venture Capitalist Elective – assess the commercial viability of a biomedical startup, learn how to invest, and learn how to create a business plan.

Business Development Elective – work with a Business Development team on various industry/company interactions, jump into idea consultations, and learn about managing strategic idea development.

Student-Led Innovation or Entrepreneurship Elective – design and participate in your own I&E internship/externship, and develop a project with a researcher, faculty, resident, another project team, etc.


Put your experiences together! You must complete at least two types of impact-related requirements. The last requirement for all I&E students is to present your capstone or Branch elective at an I&E Final Capstone Presentation Event.

  • Expert advisor – participate as a clinical expert advisor to biomedical engineers developing biomedical prototypes
  • Present at a poster or pitch competition on your project
  • Launch a startup
  • Submit a patent application
  • Submit a white paper
  • Give a summary report on critical analysis for launching a program or idea, or developing a new prototype

As physicians, we can care for the patient and family in front of us, but with Innovation thoughtful solutions can achieve much broader impact. Being a part of a team that is cultivating groups of amazing physician innovators coming up with highly stimulating, creative solutions is incredibly exciting. In our program, we emphasize the critical value of a strong Innovation Team and help provide the foundation for Innovative success. It's all about ‘The Team, The Team, The Team'!

Sonal Owens, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics; Michigan Medicine Pediatrics-Cardiology & David A. Zopf, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Pediatric Division; Affiliate Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Applying Extended Reality Technologies to Rounds

Check out this I&E Path student-produced video!

A fast-tracked collaboration leads to an innovative modality for bringing learners into patient rooms, and sharing best practices and findings with far-flung colleagues. Learn more. 

  • The I&E path created a platform that could connect me with the right resources and opportunities to develop my interest into a major passion. It was the catalyst for many of my multidisciplinary experiences in medical school.

  • Faculty are eager to provide opportunities for I&E path students to learn and get involved on a project or research team. If something you wish to pursue is not offered, do not be afraid to reach out to faculty to try to make it happen. Get involved early and use the resources offered to you to get hands on experience in a unique aspect of the health care world.

  • I like being able to work on creative and innovative projects outside of the standard medical school coursework and having the support to do so. It’s a great way to exercise a different part of your brain.

  • Before med school, I worked in healthcare consulting and learned about medical device R&D. I wanted to apply my skills and experience to further innovative solutions for medicine. Today, my research is looking into novel imaging techniques for the retina, a project I found through the I&E path.

  • I have learned so much from the I&E path and have met amazing people. It gave me the resources to create impactful projects. I&E helped me network and find funding for my projects. The path helped me see medicine in a different way, to see challenges as opportunities to innovate.