Innovation Partners Program

The Innovation Partners Program (IPP) offers an Interim opportunity for selected undergraduate students (along with an MBA graduate student from another institution) to work on a team to evaluate projects at the intersection of science, business, medicine, and entrepreneurship at early-stage medical companies in Minnesota. Junior and senior undergraduate students from across disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply. Four students will be selected for this project. The team of four will include a minimum of one Economics major and one STEM major. Innovation Partners is run by the team behind the Mayo Innovation Scholars and Norway Innovation Scholars programs. Innovation Partners is designed to engage student teams from Minnesota’s private colleges and universities in project work for early-stage medical technology companies in Minnesota. The Interim experience is offered through the Biology 395 course, which is taught by Dr. Kevin Crisp in the St. Olaf Biology Department.  Program content, requirements, time frames, etc. are subject to change.

Project Description

  • Time: Interim (January) 2023
  • Stipend of $1000 at completion of program
  • Represent St. Olaf in teams of four at the selected start-up company; the team will also include an MBA student
  • Gain valuable skills related to business, healthcare, ethics, scientific innovation, technology transfer, design thinking, intellectual property, market analysis, and/or regulatory affairs
  • Information Sessions: TBD in Fall 2022
  • Application Deadline for Interim 2023: TBD in Fall 2022


Students selected for the Innovation Partners Program cohort will be expected to enroll in the BIO 395 course during Interim, with the program running from late October prior to Interim through March (exact dates to be confirmed), with the bulk of the work being completed during Interim (students will work full time over J-term).  Program content will be facilitated by Dr. Kevin Crisp in collaboration with the Innovation Partners team. Pre-program meetings and training may be required. Students will participate in research, reflective activities, and team collaboration throughout the experience. They will gain valuable skills related to business, healthcare, ethics, scientific innovation, technology transfer, design thinking, intellectual property, market analysis, and/or regulatory affairs. The student team will present their findings to the company founder team at the end of the program.

Learning to work as a member of a multidisciplinary team, where each individual has something to bring and something to learn, is an essential skill facilitated by programs like Innovation Partners. These interdisciplinary experiences cast students as both experts and learners within and outside their major fields of study, complementing college classroom and laboratory experiences with the opportunities and limitations of real discovery. Additionally, the program fosters new interactions and collaborations across disciplinary boundaries.


Interim participants receive a $1000 stipend upon completion of the project for the January term. 

How to Apply


  • Sophomore, Junior or Senior (J-term)
  • Major or concentration in any of the natural sciences, nursing, economics, management or media studies, mathematics, or with other relevant academic background/experience
  • Strong academic record
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to extend one’s knowledge base to the topic at hand and to conceptualize and frame relevant questions
  • Previous experience in research preferred but not required
  • Evidence of effectiveness as part of a team
  • Understanding and respect for confidentiality
  • Willingness to commit time and energy to the project

Application Materials

  • Resume
  • Unofficial transcript – Log in to the SIS go to grades -> select all years/terms -> export as a PDF file (one way to do this is by going to a print screen and clicking on “view as PDF”, or “view in preview”)
  • Letter explaining interest in this initiative, describing background and specific experiences related to the project, and providing an example of a team on which the student has been an effective member
  • Name of one faculty member to be used as a reference, indicated in the letter

Application Process

  1. Login to Handshake via the directions next to the login fields Search for “Innovation Partners Program” or “IPP” under the job and internship postings tab.
  2. Save your resume, unofficial transcript & cover letter to a common location
  3. Upload your resume under “resume”, your transcript under “unofficial transcript”, and your letter explaining interest under “writing sample” (all under the “Documents” tab on the blue menu bar).
  4. On the right-hand panel, select your resume, transcript & personal statement – click “Submit”.