Biomedical Entrepreneur Startup Scholarship and Residency

Biomedical Entrepreneur Startup Scholarship and Residency

Congratulations to the winners

FORGE Biomedical Entrepreneur Startup Scholarship and Residency
FORGE is proud to announce the three winners of its Biomedical Entrepreneur Startup Scholarship and Residency opportunity for Summer 2023.  All three students submitted outstanding proposals for startup concepts to improve patient health outcomes.
  • Sydney Arriaga, from San Luis, AZ, was awarded a scholarship based on her proposal for RevoLens. Arriaga is Neuroscience & Cognitive Science major in the College of Science with an expected graduation date of May ’24.
  • Abhiman Gupta, from Madhya Pradesh, India was awarded a scholarship based on his proposal for Un-afflict.  Gupta is a Biomedical Engineering major in the College of Engineering with an expected graduation date of May ’24.
  • Isaac Kailat, of Tucson, AZ, was awarded a scholarship based on his proposal for  Kailat is double majoring in Bioinformatics and Biochemistry, in the College of Science with an expected graduation date of May ’26.
“It was incredibly exciting to see the breadth and depth of the student proposals.  We received a large pool of applicants that demonstrated innovative, solution-focused thinking,” commented John Achoukian.  Achoukian serves as a FORGE biomedical Mentor in Residence (MiR) and has over 15 years’ experience in healthcare, including technology, health plan, inpatient, and outpatient provider spaces.
FORGE biomedical Mentor in Residence, Ben Maurey, a strategy consultant in biotechnology who has worked with many top pharma companies advising them on clinical trials, M&A purchases, and launch strategies, assisted Achoukian and other members of the team to review the applications. 
This new scholarship and residency program for undergraduate students in any academic program, with an interest in creating a startup concept that improves health outcomes, applies toward University of Arizona tuition for Fall 2023 and Spring 2024. Under the program, the three scholarship recipients will take part in a specialized 13-week FORGE summer program and a 15-week paid residency in the Fall semester with opportunities to continue into the Spring.
Students will have access to FORGE resources and will meet regularly with industry experts, investors, MiRs and advisors to create custom development plans and develop guided pathways to accelerate scale-up and launch for their biomedical startup. As part of the program, the students will gain access to FORGE meeting spaces, board rooms, community resources, and entire mentor network.
The scholarship and residency program are possible thanks to the generosity of a long-time supporter and alum of the University of Arizona, Harry Wilcox. Wilcox is a Special Partner at Flagship Pioneering and has an extensive history of working in venture capital, life sciences, and sustainability.
“This gift enables FORGE to move forward student-led entrepreneurship in a completely new way,” commented FORGE Founding Executive Director Brian Ellerman.  “We are thrilled to be able to support these student ventures.”
The scholarship covers University of Arizona tuition for a full year.  Under the program, scholarship recipients take part in a 13-week FORGE summer program and a 15-week paid employment opportunity.  The program is part of FORGE’s commitment to apply proven entrepreneurial support, innovation, and commercialization services while catalyzing and stewarding the growth of biomedical companies at the University of Arizona Phoenix Biosciences Core (PBC) in Phoenix and at FORGE at Roy Place in Tucson.
Applications are now closed for 2022. To be notified when applications re-open, please sign up for our newsletter here.

Scholarship Criteria

  • Any currently registered full-time undergraduate students with an interest in creating a biomedical startup concept are qualified for this scholarship.
  • Must be enrolled full-time for the following fall semester
  • Must be available to participate during summer and fall program dates.
  • Must meet U of A’s academic achievement standards and be in good standing.
  • Must meet U of A’s enrollment requirements.
  • Completion of application, see Submission Criteria and Apply.

Scholarship Information

The ‘Biomedical Entrepreneur Startup Scholarship and Residency’ program will be facilitated by the FORGE Biomedical Mentors in Residence (MiRs). The MiRs will provide guidance and assistance to the scholarship recipients (student entrepreneurs) combining the development of startup concepts and acceleration alongside experiential student and community education. The student scholarship programs will provide entrepreneurial education, mentoring, coaching, exposure to the venturing process, and readiness assessment tools. FORGE maintains entrepreneurial resource hubs in Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma, while FORGE programs provide mentorship, business development, and feedback for early-stage ventures. Students meet regularly with experienced mentors to create custom development plans and develop guided pathways to accelerate scale-up and launch.

Upon award of scholarship, Biomedical MiRs will work with each student entrepreneur to create a custom development plan. The student entrepreneurs will meet regularly with the MiRs to help guide the venture's maturity path.  Student entrepreneurs are also provided access to office and meeting spaces, board rooms, mentorship, and programming in Phoenix at the University of Arizona Phoenix Biosciences Core (PBC) in Phoenix and in Tucson at FORGE at Roy Place.

FORGE Summer Biomedical Entrepreneur Startup in Residence Award

       Part 1: Summer Biomedical Entrepreneur Startup Program Award

  • Students will develop the concepts for startups during the summer
  • Students receive full-time mentoring in Tucson or Phoenix, or virtually as required
  • Students report milestones to committee at mid-point and end of summer
  • Upon successful completion of milestones, students receive the first and second half of tuition assistance up to $9,600
  • Eligible students will be compensated as Student Entrepreneurs in Residence with up to $2,700 compensation.
  • Compensation is subject to the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determination of need, financial aid adjustment, and student acceptance/continued enrollment.

       Part 2: Fall Employment (if eligibility requirements are met)

  • Student EIRs will continue to work on their startups as well as mentor the next generation of student entrepreneurs.
  • Students receive full-time mentoring in Tucson or Phoenix, or virtually as required
  • Employment may continue in the Spring if the student desires

Submission Criteria

The Biomedical scholarship application responses are the key determinant for the competitive scholarship award process. The responses will be used to help differentiate applications and allow applicants to showcase entrepreneurial skills and vision. Please contact with any questions about the program. 

Explanation of the Scoring Rubric

A rubric will be used to score your application. Category explanations and expectations for each are provided.

Below are a few requirements and helpful tips before you complete and submit your application.

  • If you use any acronyms, be sure to explain what they stand for.
  • Check your spelling carefully.
  • Include brief explanations and showcase your strategic vision and founder skillsets.
  • Include length of time spent in any organizations and/or leadership roles.
  • Applicants are not required to have developed or experienced the rubric criteria fully, but are encouraged to consider them as they relate to your process and ideas.


  Strategic Vision Venture Founder
Background/Skills Applicant has personally experienced the problem. Applicant has skills to address the problem or is collaborating with those with applicable and differentiated skill sets.
Problem/Vision Applicant has a vision for how to solve the problem and can execute on it. Applicant has identified a specific, important, and large problem.
Value Proposition Applicant has or can have potential customers validate that the solution will solve a key point. Applicant has a hypothesis for how to solve this problem.
Product Applicant has or can build a solution or low-fidelity prototype. Applicant can develop a solution or low-fidelity prototype.
Market Applicant understands or has a plan to understand applicable regulations and has a strategy for compliance and identifying total addressable market size Applicant knows total addressable market size and target market share.
Business Model Applicant has identified existing pricing, and business models support revenue models. Applicant has an outline of a revenue model.
Scale Applicant has evidence that multiple markets experience this problem. Applicant has identified multiple possible markets or customer segments.
Exit Strategy Applicant has a vision of how to ultimately deliver liquidity to investors. Applicant knows what an exit is and understands its importance to investors.



Your submission and presentation are reviewed by a group of FORGE community professionals who act as judges.



We encourage you to apply. We do not expect you to have a fully developed idea or an established venture. Successful applicants will exhibit big-picture thinking, problem identification, and value-creation.

Yes, if all Scholarship Criteria is met. Much of the program can be completed virtually, but to gain the most value from the program, participants will want to attend some events in person.

his includes any startups that focus on technologies or processes to advance services and health in clinical or consumer settings to ultimately improve patient outcomes. Some examples would include medical devices, consumer digital devices and apps, healthcare software or data systems, innovative treatments and laboratory solutions.

Mentors will be flexible with students, especially if you are taking classes. While it is up to the mentors to create a schedule with the scholarship recipients, you can expect 10-15 hours of work each week in the summer and fall.

No. Biomedical is broadly defined, and eligibility is not limited to specific areas of study or degree programs.

No, however students who complete the program will gain valuable professional development, networking opportunities and experience.

  • You will learn about the venturing process using the Lean Canvas framework.
  • You will apply learnings towards the following:
  • Identifying strengths, talents, and skills.
  • Defining the problem your idea will solve.
  • Analyzing your target market.
  • Identifying your competition.
  • Identifying potential funding opportunities.
  • Outlining a sell strategy.
  • Generating a business model.
  • Creating a prototype.
  • Defining success metrics.
  • You will complete a combination of self-paced training and both in-person and virtual mentoring to teach you how to mature an idea and create a pitch deck.
  • You will network and work closely with experienced mentors, angel investors, and entrepreneurs, and strengthen analytical and interpersonal skills.