Surgical Innovation Development Accelerator Course

Our mission is to foster and accelerate the development of novel technologies that will improve surgical diseases or the care of surgical patients.

SIDAC How It Works

Surgical Innovation Development Accelerator Courses

Our goal is to identify novel surgical innovations and technologies at the University of Michigan, and partner with those investigators to help accelerate their technologies so they can move forward and create impactful change for patients.

The Surgical Innovation Development Accelerator Course (SIDAC) is a six-month program for surgical faculty designed to teach the essentials of innovation and entrepreneurship while developing their ideas toward clinical impact. The course and competition starts with an innovation proposal and culminates in a symposium where the top surgical innovation teams compete for additional award funding and resources. From the initial round of submissions, the oversight committee selects the top proposals  to move forward and participate in the Surgical Innovation Development Accelerator Course (SIDAC) to help de-risk and develop their ideas with the end goal to give a formal pitch in a “Shark Tank” format at the symposium to the oversight committee, judges and investors.

In alternate years when the larger Surgical Innovation Prize is not offered, and in order to better cultivate and develop earlier stage projects into winning team projects for the next SIDAC, we offer the Michigan Surgical Innovation Accelerator (MSIA) program. This is an opportunity for surgical innovation teams who are early in their technology development the chance to accelerate and de-risk their ideas through expert mentorship and customer discovery. MSIA is an accelerator course intended to fund 4-5 promising surgical technologies to move through a custom commercialization program over 6 months to advance these technologies to a point where they will be highly competitive for follow up funding.

“I think the biggest challenge for innovators is making the conversion from a singular focus on technology to a broader focus on how the technology is going to fit into the larger world and how it can be commercialized.”

David Olson, Lead Instructor, SIDAC


Courses offered as part of the SIDAC and MSIA courses provide a unique opportunity among departments of surgery in which novel surgical innovations and technologies at any stage are identified and moved forward to create change and impact for patients. 

Teams participating in our courses receive expert instruction, guided expert mentorship and coaching, as well as peer mentorship and coaching from others in each course, and resources for patent filing, prototyping, and customer discovery provided through the fund and supported by the office of technology transfer and the fast forward medical innovation group.

Each course intends to accelerate the process of bringing new technology to patients by identifying and addressing problems early in the development process.

Concepts developed throughout the SIDAC and MSIA courses include:

  • Idea generation
  • Value proposition
  • Intellectual property and patent submission
  • Regulatory pathways
  • Customer discovery
  • Marketing and adoption
  • Reimbursement and funding models
  • Prototyping and pitching

“Our physicians are in a unique space where they get to see a problem happening live. Every day. If we give them training to commercialize technology, it's also a way to look for problems and build solutions that really have an impact. This course allows you the space the time and the mentorship to really understand how to fail, pick yourself back up, and continue to pivot to grow and be able to make that impactful change in the future.”

Margarita Hernandez, Fast Forward Medical Innovation

Collaboration & Partnerships

The SIDAC and MSIA courses foster collaboration throughout the Department of Surgery and throughout the University of Michigan. We work with faculty members who specialize in different areas such as Engineering, School of Information, and departments across Michigan Medicine. Their unique perspectives encourage creativity and new ideas, leading to better technology for our patients. 

Courses emphasize collaboration between academia and industry. Teams benefit from expertise of industry partners who have experience navigating the process of new technologies moving into the clinic and understand how to navigate the regulatory adoption issues that occur. The collaboration and connections help teams develop the technology effectively and provide resources beyond the course including opportunities for licensing and expansion.

  • Fast Forward Medical Innovation provides resources for teams to conduct consumer research to better prepare their product for the market and distribution to patients.
  • The Office of Tech Transfer assists teams in navigating the regulatory process and preparing to file patents.
  • The Michigan Surgical Innovation PrizeThe oversight committee provides expert resources for each team, including expertise outside the university from industry and venture capital. Content experts are able to give each team meaningful guidance and oversight on the development and implementation of their technologies.
  • Method Sense, Inc, a regulatory company from Raleigh NC with over 50 combined years of expertise moving technologies successfully through the FDA, provided each team expert regulatory oversight and regulatory roadmaps.
  • The Expert Oversight Committee with members from Venture Capital firms, Industry leadership from Cook Medical, Stryker Inc, Medtronic, and J&J as well as IP expertise and local expert leaders outside of surgery at the University.

“Our team brought together experts from General Surgery, Urology, and the School of Information. So you have this compliment between the clinical context which was important and thinking about innovations in healthcare as well as technologic expertise to actually implement things which was something that was really unique about this opportunity.”

John Hollingsworth, Urology, 2018 Course Participant

Funding & Investors

The awards are determined by the oversight committee based on the quality of the innovation and its commercial/development potential.

The oversight committee reviews applications as well as award winners and monitors their progress, deliverables, and exits/ROIs. The committee is comprised of Department of Surgery faculty and external members from industry, venture capital, legal experts, and partnering Michigan Medicine units such as Fast Forward Medical Innovations. The committee is charged with prize contract execution and fiduciary overview of each awardee.

Interested Partners & Investors

The program seeks new collaborative opportunities with industry partners, investors, and philanthropic initiatives to grow the program and provide more resources and opportunities for great surgical innovations to be successful and move outside the university for real patient impact.

Interested groups or individuals who would like to partner with the Department of Surgery and SIDAC to help us advance surgical innovations at Michigan to the next level should contact Dr. Mark Cohen at 734-615-4741.

Contact Us

Give us a call at 734-615-4741 or email Dr. Mark Cohen for questions about our innovation courses or to join our email list to receive course updates.