Innovative Minds Partnering to Advance Curative Therapies (IMPACT) Program

Innovative Minds Partnering to Advance Curative Therapies (IMPACT) is an exciting undergraduate program that has engaged more than 500 students from 30 Minnesota colleges and universities since its launch in 2014.

Program objective

The IMPACT Program encourages creative solutions to critical health questions through collaboration between undergraduate students and Mayo Clinic. In the program, Minnesota undergraduates engage in novel hypothesis generation to solve real-world health questions alongside Mayo scientists and physicians.

By involving students from traditional science majors, as well as nonscience backgrounds, this program forges multidisciplinary partnerships toward the common goal of meeting patient needs.

Additional program information, including the IMPACT 2018 challenge question, can be found in the IMPACT Student Handbook.

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.

IMPACT Symposium — March 10, 2018

Each team participating in the IMPACT competition is invited to Mayo Clinic to present its ideas at the IMPACT Symposium on Saturday, March 10, 2018. The symposium includes poster presentations from every IMPACT team and oral presentations from the top teams.

In addition, the symposium provides a chance for undergraduate students and their faculty sponsors to network with other students and faculty members across the state of Minnesota. 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.

Application and selection information

For additional information, including important deadlines, submission requirements and selection criteria, refer to the IMPACT Student Handbook.

Each team must register for the IMPACT challenge question by Nov. 24, 2017.


  • Jagneet Kaur
  • Rupinder Kaur
  • Brian V. Nguyen
  • Kurt L. Schwieters

Associate Directors, IMPACT Program


Previous students on the IMPACT Program

"The whole idea is great! It was really interesting to research the HLHS topic. Keeping the topic similar or the same would be interesting to see how many more different ideas are created. The layout of what was expected was also very thorough and helped a lot in guiding my team through the process."
— 2016 participant

"I think this program is unique in rewarding students for thinking outside the box. This is important in the sense that risky research is rarely well funded, which discourages biomedical researchers from pursuing funding for theory projects. With a program design that inspires and supports innovative thinking, IMPACT is grooming students for critical thinking skills that will advance biomedical theory."
— 2016 participant

"Undeniably the IMPACT Program has improved my ability to interpret and understand complex medical literature. I recommend this program to anyone pursuing a profession in health care."
— 2015 participant

"It was amazing how all of the professionals working in the lab were so positive toward us and really believed that our ideas could make a difference even though we are just undergraduates. It was an empowering experience, and something I will always remember."
— 2015 participant

"This program directly affected my personal and intellectual growth by helping me to manage working with teammates and incorporate research into my own personal schedule. This was an amazing program that allowed me to have an opportunity to research a real-world issue, especially since I am an international student and usually do not get too many of those. Thank you again for this wonderful program."
— 2015 participant

"It was an inspirational experience for me because it opened up my eyes for the first time in my undergraduate academic path to how scientific ideas are actually developed. There aren't many research examples at our two-year college that we can look up to, so this was an essential experience to have going into the sciences, in particular medicine."
— 2015 participant

"IMPACT was an amazing experience! Presenting the posters and seeing the labs were my favorite part. The IMPACT Program changed my life. I will forever keep it with me and be grateful to the organizers."
— 2015 participant

"This project has strengthened my interest in biology and medicine. As a practical application of my knowledge, it has a much greater impact than any class could have. Additionally, the free-form, self-directed learning made the project something fun and exciting."
— 2014 participant

"This experience challenged me and my team. We never would have guessed that we were capable of producing what we did. It pushed us and we had a blast doing it. … I felt so accomplished after completing our hypothesis, and I wanted to do it again. It gave me a sneak peek of what I want to do with my future. Thank you very much for doing this!"
— 2014 participant

"I was way more interested in the IMPACT research I was doing than my classes. Given how fascinated I was by this material, I know now that this is something I want to pursue — medicine definitely, possibly medical research too. It was one of the highlights of my semester!"
— 2014 participant

"Seeing the real-life applications of many concepts I have enjoyed learning in the classroom has definitely made me more interested. Also, I enjoyed how we were making an impact on the big picture. Being reminded that the issue was bigger than us, and informed that we are indeed making a difference was immensely motivating."
— 2014 participant

"The emphasis on uninhibited creativity and collaboration to solve medical problems inspired me to continue to pursue medical research. The opportunity to develop real solutions to a medical problem, and to have them taken seriously by Mayo faculty, was exciting and rewarding."
— 2014 participant