At the St. Louis Regional Chamber’s 2016 Arcus Awards on Feb. 25, Washington University student group and nonprofit IDEA Labs took home the Spirit of St. Louis Award for advancing the city’s rich history and global reputation as a hub of innovation and forward-looking vision.
The student-run bioengineering design and entrepreneurship incubator brings together Washington University medical, engineering and business students to brainstorm solutions to real-world clinical problems.
Teams of students develop understanding of one or more clinical problems, brainstorm and vet designs, test prototypes and take steps toward commercialization under the guidance of a clinician mentor and technical advisers. IDEA Labs’ success has garnered attention from other top universities, leading to the formation of chapters at Harvard-MIT, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Minnesota.
The Arcus Awards recognize the region’s top leaders and companies that make St. Louis a more attractive place to live, work and invest. Last year, the Spirit of St. Louis Award went to LaunchCode, founded by Washington University engineering alumnus Jim McKelvey.
McKelvey received another Arcus Award this year, for achievement in financial services, for Square Inc., which he cofounded with Twitter founder and St. Louis native Jack Dorsey.