Columbia University DICE Program


Geoffrey W. Smith
Orin Herskowitz

It is regrettably all too clear that certain populations remain underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis. Underrepresentation of these groups in the field overall trickles down to their underrepresentation in the life sciences commercialization and entrepreneurship community and ultimately in the amount of money that companies led by members of these underrepresented groups receive from venture capitalists.

In December of 2020, Columbia Technology Ventures, with support and sponsorship from Digitalis Commons, launched Columbia’s Program for Diversity & Inclusion in Commercialization & Entrepreneurship (DICE). The program supports early-career individuals who identify as being from traditionally underrepresented groups in life science entrepreneurship and commercialization as defined by the NIH. DICE provides eligible Columbia graduate students and postdocs with educational programming, mentorship, networking, and funding opportunities to prepare participants for careers in bringing life science innovation to market, with a focus on therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices, and enabling technologies.

In its highly successful inaugural cycle, 17 students across 12 departments participated in DICE. Students completed a Life Science Accelerator Bootcamp, were mentored by experienced life science entrepreneurs, industry executives, and venture capitalists from traditionally underrepresented populations, and were provided stipends for professional development. As the program moves into its second cycle it looks to expand its reach in myriad ways.

The Columbia DICE Report for Spring 2021 can be read here.

The Columbia DICE Report for 2022 can be read here.

A summary of the last two cycles of the DICE program can be read here.

To learn more about the program, including details of the program structure, eligibility, awards & grants, and timelines, please visit For additional questions about the program, please contact