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Design Thinking Research Award


Established in 2005, the CCTST is a collaborative effort among the University of Cincinnati (UC), Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), UC Health and the Cincinnati Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC). The CCTST is a research resource and “academic home” for clinical and translational scientists and programs, which in collaboration with the Live Well Collaborative (LWC) is sponsoring this grant opportunity. The LWC is a non-profit founded in 2007 by UC and Procter and Gamble (P&G). Its purpose is to specialize in research and development of products and services for Living Well across the lifespan, with an emphasis on America’s aging population. It is built around the open innovation model for moving translational research into the market place.

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  • Design thinking is a problem-solving methodology grounded in a deep understanding of the needs and challenges, as well as the goals and aspirations, of the person or group that solutions are being designed for.  On-going iteration and co-creation of solutions to ensure they are meeting intended objectives is a key part of the process.

    Herbert Simon, Carnegie Mellon Professor and one of the most influential social scientists of the 20th century, defines design thinking as, “Devising courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.”

  • Studios are a semester (14-16 weeks) in duration and the purpose is to develop a new product or service prototype. All intellectual property developed during the project becomes the property of the project sponsor (CCHMC team).

  • Prototypes are initial samples/models of a product or service built to test a concept or a process.


​Applications will be accepted from faculty/staff of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC). Faculty/staff based at UC and VAMC can collaborate with CCHMC investigators and this is encouraged; however, the PI must be from CCHMC.  Multidisciplinary teams are strongly encouraged. Applicants must be CCTST members.  To join free of charge, click here.

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Applicants may only receive one award per calendar year.


Studios for services/product development: Grants provide an academic
semester (14-16 weeks)of support. The maximum allowable grant is $10,000
for the 14-16 weeks. Studios range in cost from $35,000 to $80,000 depending
on staffing levels of faculty, graduate, and co-op students and supplies needed to
complete deliverables (i.e. costs will be driven by project complexity and scope).
The final cost for the applicant’s studio will be mutually agreed upon by your team and LWC depending on the specific nature of the challenge. The applicant’s Division must agree to cost-share the remainder of the studio costs or the applicant can use grant funds for the remaining costs. The number of awardees will be determined by the quality of the proposals and available funds. Approximately 1 award will be available each semester.


The initial application for research proposals will consist of a 2 page Letter of Intent (LOI). The LOI will be screened for eligibility and to examine if the proposed research/quality improvement project supports the goals of CCTST Design Thinking Research Awards. The LOIs will be screened by an advisory committee consisting of LWC, CCTST and CCHMC members. Following the initial screening, selected investigators will be invited to submit a full application. There will be 3 opportunities annually for LOIs that will coincide with the semester schedule.


Click here for a PDF of past projects, design challenges, studio outcomes, CCHMC staff, and contact information.


Click here for the application and LOI details

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