The UBORA Design Competition 2018 has been launched. It seeks innovative biomedical engineering solutions from students (individuals or teams) addressing healthcare problems faced by the ageing society.

According to WHO, the pace of population ageing today is faster than ever before. Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population older than 60 years will nearly double from 12% to 22% (from 900 million to 2 billion). In 2050, 80% of older people will be living in low- and middle-income countries.

Numerous underlying physiological changes occur with increasing age and for older people the risks of developing chronic disease and care dependency increase. By the age of 60 years, the major burden of disability and death arises from age-related losses in hearing, seeing and moving, and conditions such as dementia, heart disease, stroke, chronic respiratory disorder, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and musculo-skeletal impairments (e.g. osteoarthritis and back pain).

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Therefore, this year’s UBORA design challenge will focus on creating effective and affordable bio-engineering solutions which can promote Healthy Ageing, enabling individuals to live both longer and healthier lives, or can be used in treatments of age-related diseases, syndromes, and disabilities.

Evaluation procedure

Projects should be prepared according to the template downloadable at

The evaluation process will be based on the following criteria:

  1. Health Impact (5 Points)
    1. Relevance to ageing population (3 Points)
    2. Illustrates how the innovation will address the health need (1Point)
    3. Demonstrates potential for widespread health impact (1 Point)
  1. Technology/Process/Systems Innovation (5 Points)
    1. Offers a new and creative solution (‘better/faster/cheaper/reliable/affordable’) (3 Points)
    2. Provides convincing rationale for why this unique approach has the potential to work (1 Point)
    3. Multi-disciplinary team composition (1 Point)


For the best-ranked projects travel from the university town to Pisa and back and full-board will be provided for one team member to attend the UBORA Design School 2018 to be held at University of Pisa (Pisa – Italy) from 3rd to 7th September 2018. These provisions will be provided according to the following list:

  • 8 open to students from any university;
  • 5 reserved for students of UBORA consortium (University of Pisa is not included);
  • 11 reserved for students ABEC Universities;
  • 4 reserved for students of University of Pisa (access to School facilities and benefits only).

In case of additional sponsors, additional provisions will be available, up to a maximum of 40 participants.

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Eligibility criteria

Participants should be enrolled as students at any University. Students who have already obtained a Master’s degree (in any discipline) will not be admitted.

Submission procedure

The project brief must be one PDF document saved as Project_Brief_Title_Last_name_of_Applicant. Send the file to [email protected].

Important Dates

Timeline for UBORA Design Competition 2018:

  1. Project brief submission as per template – due on 1st March, 2018 (23:59 CET)
  2. Notification to applicants accepted for full proposal submission – 10th March, 2018
  3. Submission of full proposals as per template – due on 13th May, 2018 (23:59 CET)
  4. Announcement of finalists –20th May, 2018