Certificate Programs

Rice Certificate in Commercialization of Medical Innovation

Many physicians, clinical scientists, and medical students have a deep interest in learning the ins and outs of medical innovation commercialization. The goal of the Rice Business certificate program in Commercialization of Medical Innovation is to create a vehicle for participants from medical institutions to obtain a certificate in Commercialization of Medical Innovations drawing on the faculty and course strength at Rice Business and Rice Global Medical Innovation.

Our interdisciplinary, team-based design projects pair Rice bioengineering students with MBA students from Rice Business School and clinical trainees from Texas Medical Center institutions. Through ongoing clinical immersion in diverse clinical settings from top research hospitals to community clinics and county hospitals, students work with physician partners to identify areas for innovation. After selecting a project based on diligence and stakeholder feedback, the students turn to business plan development and by the end of the fall semester, compete in a pitch competition. In the spring, students continue to develop their prototypes and business plan, competing in formal business plan competitions for funding and an opportunity to spin out their company or join accelerators such as OwlSpark, VentureWell and TMCx.

Lectures and workshops focus on clinical needs identification, business plan development, pitch development, market analysis, competitive analysis, IP diligence, regulatory and reimbursement strategy, clinical strategy, financial modeling, company formation, and go-to-market strategy. Participants learn through real-world medical innovation projects, practical engineering training, and commercialization opportunities.


The curriculum for the Certificate program is led by:

  • Yael Hochberg, PhD; Head, Rice Entrepreneurship and Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Ralph S. O’Connor Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance
  • Matthew Wettergreen, PhD; Director, Rice Global Medical Innovation; Associate Teaching Professor, Rice Bioengineering
  • Hesam Panahi, PhD; Lecturer, Jones Graduate School of Business; Faculty, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Farzad Solemani, MD, MBA; Assistant Professor, Emergency Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine; Lecturer, Jones Graduate School of Business


Each participating student will receive a Certificate in Commercialization of Medical Innovation issued by Rice Business.


The cost for full certificate program is $15,000 per participant. Discounts are available for bulk institutional purchases.


The certificate program application has now closed. The certificate program starts August 27, 2019 and concludes April 30, 2020.

International applicants may be eligible for a student visa. Contact entrepreneurship@rice.edu to inquire.

Certificate Courses

Enrollees participate in courses over a nine-month period (August-April).

Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship (BIOE 527/MGMT 799; Fall 3 credits)

This course is designed for healthcare entrepreneurs who want to build innovative medical technologies. During the course, students will learn how to identify customers, key stakeholders, and the market opportunity for a clinical need; apply design thinking, including low-fidelity prototyping, to quickly test and iterate on a concept; assess regulatory, reimbursement, and clinical trial requirements; identify key assumptions and develop a business model; create a financial model based on business model assumptions; determine capital requirements and funding sources for their venture; understand and evaluate term sheets; create a pitch presentation for investors.

Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab (BIOE 529/MGMT 766; Spring 3 credits)

In this follow-on experiential Lab course, students work on refining and completing the plan for the venture they created in Health Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Teams receive guidance and mentoring from faculty and mentors to develop the next steps of their business. The lab takes place in the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a purpose built state-of-the-art incubator and co-working space on the Rice campus.

Entrepreneurship in Biotech (MGMT 623; Fall 0.75 credits)

Pharmaceuticals continue to grow as a share of healthcare spending with sales projected to reach nearly $1.2 trillion globally by 2016. This course will cover key aspects of drug development including sharing of real-world challenges and decisions during the development process. The course is focused on therapeutics with a shorter discussion on medical devices, diagnostics and digital health.

Medical Engineering & Design Lab (BIOE 528/530; Fall & Spring 6 credits)

In this studio-based lab, students apply technical engineering and prototyping skills to medical design projects. Participants are taught and apply a range of topics including engineering design processes, medical materials, biocompatibility, design for manufacturing, rapid prototyping, medical equipment, sterility, manufacturing techniques, and quality system implementation. The lab takes place at the Center for Medical Innovation, a collaborative, medical maker space located at the Bioscience Research Collaborative building.

Medical Innovation Industry Seminar (BIOE 527; Fall 1.5 credits)

This course exposes participants to the wide variety of career paths in the medical technology industry including large to mid sized companies, consulting, biotech, pharma, diagnostics, hospital administration and more through guest lectures, case studies, and informational interviews. Additional topics include: Resume and LinkedIn refinement, Job Application Process, Interview Skills, and Delivering Oral Presentations.

Life Science Entrepreneurship Seminar (BIOE/MGMT 633; Spring 1.5 credits)

This course provides an overview of entrepreneurship and innovation in the life sciences. The roles of physicians, scientists, engineers and MBAs in biotech, medical device, and other life science companies are described and characterized, and the major trends and innovations driving the creation of new products in large, established companies and venture-capital-backed startup companies are discussed. The course describes the venture capital process, the formation and capitalization of high-tech companies, sources of technologies, the role of tech transfer at universities and medical schools, startup operational issues, the role of VCs and board members, execution time frames, the liquidity process, IPOs and mergers, and payout prospects for founders and investors. Discussions are framed around guest entrepreneur lectures from the biotech, medical device and healthcare informatics space.