Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Aspiring doctors from Oxford University Medical School competed yesterday in the grand finals of the 2023 Challenge – an innovation challenge for junior doctors with ideas to improve healthcare. Against stiff competition, undergraduate Samuel Folkard scooped third place and Abbie Taylor was also selected as a finalist for her idea.

Having been shortlisted from 57 entries, six finalists were invited to make one final, face-to-face pitch during which they were quizzed on the finer detail of their cutting-edge ideas. They also stood in the spotlight for 90 seconds, pitching to an audience of around 100 of their peers and mentors during a prestigious ceremony at the Said Business School, Oxford earlier this week (12 November 2013).

 During the final stage of the process, a day of Dragons’ Den-style pitches to a panel of top judges, Samuel Folkard was awarded third runner-up with his idea for a novel surgical device to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions. Abbie Taylor was praised for her pitch for a new improvement to education and careers to help develop doctors, narrowly missing out on a top-three place.

Their ideas will now undergo a final assessment and funding may be allocated from a Health Education Thames Valley innovation fund, alongside a funded support package for the junior doctors leading the implementation, for the benefit of patients across the Thames Valley.

Judge Prof. Richard Bohmer, Visiting International Fellow, The King’s Fund and Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School, said:  “We chose the winners due to the strength of their ideas and the scope for implementation. The ideas presented were all rooted in day-to-day experience of delivering care in the NHS. Furthermore, we were impressed by the combination of confidence, passion and yet also humility displayed. These are the core traits needed to make a great entrepreneur and to take an idea forward into an implemented innovation.”

Judge Dr. Tony Berendt, Deputy Medical Director, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I’d like to congratulate the finalists for bringing such a superb set of ideas. Not only have they proved their talent, they have laid down a challenge for us, the older guys in the business. It’s for us to manage the day-to-day challenges of the NHS while simultaneously making the space to safely develop these sorts of innovations, to make a real difference to patient care.”

Samuel Folkard, runner-up, said: “I’m very pleased with the results. It’s been a fantastic journey. I’ve learnt a lot, from looking at different aspects of the implementation of ideas, be it understanding intellectual property rights, working with other companies or overcoming problems. We’ve received incredible support throughout and it’s a great opportunity to get the ideas from junior doctors and to get those ideas into development.

Abbie Taylor, who was one of the six finalists chosen to pitch to the judges, said: “I work with a charity called 80,000 Hours which helps people choose the right career so that they can make the biggest impact and positive change. Through this, I recognised that many colleagues working towards or involved in healthcare professions do so for altruistic reasons; they want to help people and make a difference. But often they don’t feel empowered. I saw a real gap and want to expand the advice and research in this area so that we can make real positive change. I was surprised to get this far in the competition and it has been a hugely useful experience, developing my idea and bringing it closer to realisation with real crossover with my charity work too. The support I’ve received will enable me to continue to help others.”

Dr. Michael Bannon, Postgraduate Dean, Health Education Thames Valley, said: “I am just so immensely proud of what has been achieved through this competition.  We’ve harnessed a tidal wave of energy and creativity to make a real difference to the quality of education, training and ultimately patient care.”

 Source: Health Education Thames Valley

Similar stories

Peter Horby receives prestigious award for outstanding service to public health

The Faculty of Public Health (FPH) has awarded its prestigious Alwyn Smith Prize to Professor Sir Peter Horby (Nuffield Department of Medicine) for 2020/2021 in recognition of his outstanding service to public health as a global leader in epidemic science.

Six new Fellowships announced as part of Oxford-Bristol Myers Squibb Fellowships Programme

The Oxford - Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) Fellowships Programme continued to demonstrate significant progress over the last year, despite the challenges associated with the global pandemic, including restricted lab access and work from home guidance. Today, we are pleased to announce six new Oxford-BMS Fellowships for 2021.

Professor Trish Greenhalgh Highly Commended in the O²RB Excellence in Impact Awards 2021

Congratulations to Professor Trish Greenhalgh (Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences) who has been Highly Commended in the O²RB Excellence in Impact Awards 2021.

Turing Fellowships for over 30 Oxford academics

Thirty-three University of Oxford researchers have been named Turing Fellows for the 2021/22 academic year, including eight from the Medical Sciences Division.

RECOVERY Trial paper wins BMJ’s 2021 UK Research Paper of the Year Award

For the second year in a row, The British Medical Journal have selected a publication co-authored by Oxford University researchers for their prestigious UK Research Paper of the Year Award. This award recognises original UK research that has the potential to contribute significantly to improving health and healthcare.

Researchers awarded Wellcome Innovator Grant to investigate role of brainstem nucleus in human consciousness

Researchers at Oxford University have received a prestigious Wellcome Innovator Grant for investigating the role of the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) – a brainstem nucleus – in human consciousness.