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Innovative Minds Partnering to Advance Curative Therapies (IMPACT) Program

Discovering the future of medicine

The IMPACT Program (Innovative Minds Partnering to Advance Curative Therapies) challenges undergraduate students and faculty collaborators to discover creative solutions to critical health questions. This unique competition brings together students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds and provides them the opportunity to help solve real-world health problems alongside Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Health System scientists and physicians. Undergraduates from Minnesota, Wisconsin and across the country are invited to engage in the program, which was launched in 2014.

The IMPACT program has been looking for a home base for many years and we're super excited that we have now a home base in Eau Claire, Wisconsin with a collaboration of Mayo Clinic Health System and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. This home base is going to allow us to create a nationwide program that drives undergraduate research students and faculty and staff to come here and be part of this really unique opportunity.

Dr. Tim Nelson, Director of Research and Innovation, Mayo Clinic Health System Northwest Wisconsin

Program objective

The IMPACT Program encourages creative solutions to critical health questions through collaboration between undergraduate students and Mayo Clinic Health System. In the program, undergraduates engage in novel hypothesis generation to solve real-world health questions alongside Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Health System scientists and physicians. By involving students from traditional science majors and non-science backgrounds, the IMPACT Program forges multidisciplinary partnerships toward the common goal of meeting patient needs.

Eligibility requirements

Teams of two to four undergraduate students are invited to participate in the IMPACT competition. Students from all years of undergraduate education and all academic majors are encouraged to submit hypotheses, and multidisciplinary teams are encouraged. There is no limit to the number of teams from a single institution.

2020 IMPACT Research Question

Teams are required to develop innovative hypotheses that address the following question for this year's competition:

What is the mechanistic link between binge alcohol drinking, addiction, and the function of the neuroimmune system?

     Article Suggestion to Get Started on Your Research

Participants are encouraged to review primary literature to develop a well-supported and novel hypothesis. While collaborative investigation is allowed between IMPACT teams, each submission must be unique. Novelty will be a primary evaluation criterion in the selection of the winning IMPACT submissions. In addition, students are encouraged to work with their team’s faculty mentor to the extent that they require guidance accessing and interpreting primary literature.

IMPACT Symposium - March 7, 2020

Each team participating in the IMPACT competition will be invited to Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire to present its ideas at the IMPACT Symposium on March 7, 2020 (inclement weather back-up date of March 14, 2020). The symposium will include poster presentations from every IMPACT team and oral presentations from ten teams selected from the written submissions.

The IMPACT symposium provides a chance for undergraduate students and their faculty sponsors to network with other students and faculty members from a diverse group of universities. Participants also learn about graduate and medical education programs within the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

Award information

The IMPACT Program celebrates high-quality student participation with financial awards. A prize of $1,000 per student is awarded to the winning team, as well as an invitation for a paid summer internship with Mayo Clinic.

Application and selection information

Teams are invited to register for the 2020 IMPACT Competition by completing this form by Friday, November 22, 2019. Registered teams should collaborate on their research to develop a written submission, poster submission, and--if selected by the panel of judges for the written submission--an oral presentation for the IMPACT Symposium.

Additional Resources
2020 IMPACT Student Handbook
2020 IMPACT Cover Page
IMPACT Poster Template
March 7, 2020 Symposium Schedule
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