IDEA² provides mentoring and connections to biomedical innovators around the world to develop their project ideas and to provide the expertise to realize them. It is especially valuable for trainees, early-stage professionals and those who have few opportunities in their normal work to participate in innovation projects.

Each 6-month edition of IDEA² recruits new project teams of one or more individuals, and provides innovation training, presentation skill building, and team-specific mentorship and guidance by internationally-recognized experts.

Teams who complete IDEA² have technology projects more clearly focused on unmet medical needs, a broader network of connections, and improved ability to compete for collaborators and funding.

What's the IDEA² process? How do the mentors help the teams? Program chair Dr Mercedes Balcells-Camps and mentor Dr Norberto Malpica give an overview.

2024 edition key dates

August 21, 2023: Call for Applications opens
October 23, 2023, 13:00 Eastern: Applications due
Week of November 6, 2023: Announcement of IDEA² Class of 2024
November 8, 2023: IDEA² orientation (online)
January 18–19, 2024: Kickoff workshop (in person at MIT)
January – April: Mentor assignments (ongoing)
April 1, 2024: Review Workshop (online)
June 20–21, 2024: Commencement Workshop (in person at MIT)

IDEA² stages


  • Project teams are recruited internationally through a call from universities, medical centers, and entrepreneur sector
  • Focus on people and teams that can benefit most from mentorship and international expertise
  • Partners can participate in recruiting and selection through many means, such as custom calls for applications, special events like competitions, sponsorships, and prizes.

Project mentoring

  • Teams are matched with mentors for specific expertise
  • Teams typically interact 1:1 with mentors 2–4 times, but there is no limit
  • Impact proposition workshops help teams refine their project definition, strategy, and story
  • Additional pitch skills workshops help teams prepare to make the case for support or collaboration
  • Partners can participate as mentors, resource connections, and/or workshop faculty

After IDEA²

  • Awardee teams connected to additional resources and support
  • Teams compete for further funding and investment from other sources
  • Teams enjoy expanded network access
  • In some cases, teams start new companies