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The Department of Radiology is committed to innovation as a long-term strategic priority. We encourage creativity and entrepreneurship, and we actively support commercialization efforts as a means of enhancing our impact by propelling our discoveries into real-world application. Innovation thus directly supports our departmental mission to design and apply technology that benefits patients and to cultivate leaders.


Rick Abramson, M.D.
Associate Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences
Vice Chair of Innovation


VUMC Leadership Assembly


Radx is a novel healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship incubator within the Department of Radiology. Our mission is to foster and support the development and commercialization of creative healthcare technology solutions.

Radx’s inaugural activity is a four-month Innovation Challenge, currently ongoing and described in detail below. 


Radx Innovation Challenge


The Radx Innovation Challenge is sponsored RadX Innovation Challenge Kick-off Eventby the Vanderbilt Radiology Radx program in collaboration with the Wond’ry and the Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization (CTTC), with generous funding support from the Evelyn Selby Stead Fund for Innovation.


The programmatic objectives of the Radx Innovation Challenge are:

a. To help foster a growing culture of entrepreneurship across Vanderbilt
b. To stimulate multidisciplinary collaboration around innovation
c. To pilot the use of a design challenge format to engage the community in generating viable business ideas
d. To promote awareness of campus innovation resources including Radx, the Wond’ry, and the CTTC
e. To identity additional resource needs for Vanderbilt innovators

Competition Goal 

Teams compete to create a commercially-viable solution to an unmet need in healthcare.


Teams are competing in two parallel tracks:

  • Challenge-Directed Track: Teams may respond to one of three specific directives established by the Program Committee. The specific directives for this Challenge are:
  1. Create a consumer-facing imaging technology that empowers patients to improve their health or healthcare [examples: hand-held portable imaging device; consumer-facing 3-D medical printing]
  2. Create a product or process that uses radiology information at scale to promote an aspect of public health or population health [examples: solution for reducing smoking-related morbidity; artificial intelligence technology; data analytics for health systems]
  3. Create a solution to improve radiology workflow [examples: smart radiologist or technologist workflow engine; mobile digital technology solution for improving communication with patients and/or referring clinicians]
  • Open Track: Teams may respond to any unmet need in healthcare.

Kick-off Event 

A Kick-Off Event was held at the Wond'ry on Thursday, February 16, 2017. Attendance at the Kick-Off Event is not required for participation in the Challenge. It was really fun, though.


Contestants are encouraged to form multi-disciplinary teams from different Vanderbilt schools and to include members from outside the Vanderbilt community. All teams must include at least one member from the Department of Radiology. Teams may be of any size.


To participate in the Challenge, teams were required to submit a statement of intent and a team roster by March 17 (i.e., one month after Kick-off). The Challenge is now closed to additional entries.


During the Challenge, teams receive active mentoring and networking support facilitated by the Program Committee.

a. The Wond’ry has a network of mentors available. Consult the website for a list of mentors and their office hours.
b. The CTTC has dedicated office hours at the Wond’ry, Tuesdays and Fridays 1-3 pm.
c. Ken Holroyd, M.D., M.B.A., Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research and Medical Director for the CTTC, has also volunteered his availability for consultation. He can be reached at ken.holroyd@vanderbilt.edu.
d. The Program Committee has made coaching sessions available by appointment at the Department of Radiology RAD Studio.

Development vouchers 

At any time after submitting their application, teams may apply for a one-time development voucher of up to $1,000, to be used to support articulation of concept. An overall total of $10,000 will be made available for these vouchers, with vouchers awarded at the discretion of the Program Committee. To apply for a development voucher, teams are requested to prepare a Word document of no more than ½ page containing the name and email of the team lead, the requested voucher amount, and a brief description of how the voucher funds will be spent. Please note that voucher funds are intended to be used before the culmination of the Challenge. Email voucher requests to Dr. Abramson at richard.abramson@vanderbilt.edu.


Teams are encouraged to use the Wond’ry or the Department of Radiology RAD Studio for workspace/makerspace during the Challenge.

RAD Studio map


The Challenge will culminate in a final Pitch Event where teams will present their business concepts to a panel of judges in front of a live audience. The Pitch Event is currently scheduled for Thursday, May 25, from 5-8pm, in the basement classrooms underneath the Wond'ry (Engineering & Science Building 044/048). The judges will be announced shortly before the Pitch Event.

Judging criteria  

Teams will be judged on the following criteria:

a. Quality and clarity of the presentation
b. Disruptive potential of the concept
c. Market potential of the concept
d. Cost and timeline of next step in concept development
e. Use of Vanderbilt technology, resources, or domain expertise


One winner from each of the two tracks will be selected. Each winning team will receive a $10,000 award to be used as proof-of-concept funding for continuing their project. The Program Committee reserves the right to place restrictions on award usage, including specifying milestones and a timeline for spending award funds.


The Program Committee will take reasonable steps to protect the intellectual property rights of participants while respecting VU/VUMC technology transfer policies. Radhas a policy of non-disclosure of information submitted as part of its programming. Challenge participants and attendees of the Pitch Event may be asked to certify that they will keep confidential any non-public information to which they are exposed during the Challenge.


Important dates are as follows:

  • February 16, 2017: Kick-off Event
  • March 17, 2017: Team rosters due
  • May 25, 2017: Pitch Event with presentations, two winners announced

Pitch Event: 

5:15-5:30 -- Introduction
5:30-6:15 -- Pitches, Round 1
6:15-6:30 -- Intermission
6:30-7:15 -- Pitches, Round 2
7:15-7:45 -- Judges' Deliberation
7:45-8:00 -- Presentation of Awards and Closing Remarks


**This website will be updated throughout the Challenge.