The Entrepreneurial Post-Doctoral Program in BME

Graduates of doctoral programs in Biomedical Engineering are increasingly interested in entrepreneurship as a career path.

The Entrepreneurial Postdoctoral Program in Biomedical Engineering addresses the emerging need to equip participants with the skills needed to start technology-based companies based on their research, and supports their salary through the first year of their new venture.

As a condition of entry into the program, candidates will agree to engage in each of the bolded activities. By the end of the year, all participants will be required to:

  1. Prepare and deliver a company pitch deck and supporting materials. Duke Engineering Entrepreneurship (EngEn) will provide in-depth coaching to help build a detailed business plan and pitch deck.
  2. Participate in relevant entrepreneurship and founders education available through EngEn: namely, Startup Fundamentals & Strategy and Needs Finding courses. These courses are ideal training to support the transition from academic research to building a commercial product.

Resources Available

  • Salary Support: Program participants will receive the standard stipend established by the NIH for PhDs with zero years of post-doctoral experience
  • Initial funding: to support expenses up to $5,000
  • Mentor In Residence (MIR): The Duke Office of Licensing and Ventures employs MIRs to support the commercialization of Duke-owned IP. Participants in this program will have support from an MIR
  • BRiDGE Startup Incubator: Program participants will be given preferential consideration in applying for entry into the BRiDGE, which provides mentorship, and lab and office space
  • Access to Funding: Program participants will be supported in seeking funding and investment from relevant Duke, regional and national funding and investment groups, such as the Duke Incubation Fund, NCBC grants and the Duke Angel Network


Applicants must be:

  1. Recent PhD graduates of Duke BME, with less than 1 year of research experience at the time they enter the program, or
  2. Plan to graduate with a PhD in BME from Duke within the current academic year, and must start the program by Sept. 30

Application Instructions

Each application must include in a single PDF file:

  • A cover letter
  • A two- to three-page proposal that provides a compelling argument for selection. In an introductory section, not to exceed a page, describe your motivation in applying for the program, what you plan to do to take your startup idea from concept to reality (e.g., perform additional experiments to answer key questions that will help in fundraising, focus on business development and/or fundraising), and your anticipated outcomes after one year. In separate sections that follow the introduction, describe: (i) product or service to be provided by proposed Newco; (ii) summary of data in support of the proposed Newco; (iii) status of the underlying technology - ideally in terms of Technology Readiness Level; (iv) estimate of market size; (v) indication of who the customers are; (vi) IP status: provisional, pending, or issued patents.
  • The applicant’s academic transcript
  • The applicant’s resume or CV

Key dates

  • Application submission deadline: March
  • Announcement of awardees: April
  • Earliest commencement of program: May
  • Final date for commencement of program: Sept. 30

Award information

Initial support will be for one year, with the opportunity to compete for a second year.