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IDea Incubator from Infectious Diseases Society of America, Perspective from a funder, Amy Shapley-Farrell, Program Manager

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IDea Incubator from Infectious Diseases Society of America, Funder Perspective Interview with Amy Shapley-Farrell, Program Manager

Preface: For researchers working on innovative solutions for infectious disease research, the IDea Incubator program is a great way to get your innovation to impact. The 2024 IDea Incubator call is open until June 30, 2024! Read more from Amy Shapley-Farrell, Program Manager at the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) who oversees this program.

Tell us more about the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA):

Founded in 1963, the Infectious Diseases Society of America is a community of over 13,000 physicians, scientists and public health experts who specialize in infectious diseases. Our mission is to improve the health of individuals, communities and society by promoting excellence in patient care, education, research, public health and prevention relating to infectious diseases.

IDSA members work across the United States and in nearly 100 other countries on six different continents around the world.

What are your primary responsibilities in your role at IDSA?

My work within the Workforce and Professional Development Department focuses on IDea Incubator program and the Microbial Pathogenesis in Alzheimer’s grant.  My major responsibilities include recruitment, the review and grantee selection process, and serving as the main point of contact with review panels.

Tell us more about the IDea Incubator funding from IDSA.

IDea Incubator is a “Shark Tank”-style competition designed to encourage early-stage ventures of original inventions, products or concepts for improving ID care in three categories: Innovation in Patient Care and Practice, Innovation in Technology and Telehealth, and Diagnostic Technologies for Unknown Pathogen Identification. Each individual category winner is determined by the IDea Incubator review panel [JH1] and will receive a cash prize of $10,000. The Innovator of the Year award winner will receive a cash prize of $5,000 as well as an accelerator package with access to startup coaching that will provide guidance for launching or scaling the innovation, setting up legal protections, budgeting and marketing. This award will be determined by the judging panel at the live IDea Incubator award event at IDWeek 2024, Oct. 16-19, in Los Angeles.

How would you describe a promising candidate?

Historically, winners of IDea Incubator awards are able to showcase innovations that have the potential to impact patient outcomes, health care delivery and overall public health tangibly and positively.  Reviewers and judges consider clinical impact, scientific rigor, practical applicability and potential for collaboration and interdisciplinary partnerships when selecting winners for categories and the innovator of the year award.

What makes the IDea Incubator funding program unique?

This funding program focuses on innovations that have the potential to positively impact ID care. In addition to seed funding for their innovation, category winners have the opportunity to share their concepts with the ID community and judges in the fields of business, medicine, technology and the pharmaceutical industry each year during IDWeek, the joint annual meeting of IDSA, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the HIV Medicine Association, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists.

I understand that beyond the funding, the IDea Incubator program also works to support and mentor researchers. Tell us more about how the awardees benefit from being a part of this community.

IDSA connects winners with resources to help them develop and scale their innovation. This includes access to training, mentorship, and product promotion. 

Are there recent awardees that you are particularly proud to have funded?

Edsel Salvana, MD, DTM&H, FPCP, FIDSA was awarded Innovator of the Year and the People’s Choice award in 2023 for his Portable HIV drug resistance testing in resource-limited settings. This PCR test allows testing to take place in the field with limited resources.

Click here to view his pitch video

Does IDSA offer any other funding or awards?

IDSA offers several other funding and award opportunities. Additional information about these awards can be found on our website.

What makes a stellar application – one that stands out among all others?

Applications that stand out are for innovations that are truly unique and meet a clearly stated need within the ID community. These applications also show a strong research base and the potential for real and actionable impact for physicians and patients that can be scaled to global application.

What advice do you have for researchers interested to apply?

The reviewers and judges want to know how your idea will impact ID in both the short term and long term and how the award through IDea Incubator will take your innovation to the next level. Having a solid business plan for implementation and expansion is very helpful to show how you will accomplish this.

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