Massachusetts Institute of Technology

How to Enter the IDEAS Global Challenge

Welcome to the 2016 MIT IDEAS Global Challenge! To enter, please create a team here:

(Note: You must be a full-time MIT student to create a team. Not a student? Define a problem and invite students to work with you on a team here:

The MIT IDEAS Global Challenge is open to everyone. To be eligible, teams must:

  • Be led by full-­time MIT students; teams are encouraged to collaborate with people around the world to realize their idea.
  • Be able to demonstrate that an MIT student made a significant contribution to the development of the project's innovative design, process, technology, etc.
  • Work with a community partner to identify the problem and develop the solution

To enter:

  1. Submit at least one Scope Statement (required). Teams may also request Development Grants (optional) along with these Scope Statements.
    * You are welcome to submit more than once for additional feedback or grant opportunities.
    ** Note: We recognize teams are at different stages of development; your Scope Statement doesn't need to be a full Proposal. Just give us a sense of the context of your work, the idea you're proposing, questions you're looking to answer, and help you may need. 
    1st chance to submit: Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 6:00pm, EDT
    2nd chance to submit: Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 6:00pm, EST
    3rd chance to submit: Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 6:00pm, EST
  2. Submit a Final Proposal by Friday, March 18, 2016 at 6:00pm, EDT.
    You will be invited to submit a final proposal if your project meets the competition requirements and our basic criteria (projects are 1) led by a full-time MIT student, 2) ethical and service-oriented, and 3) in a country that is not considered high risk according to MIT travel policy). 
    * The IDEAS Global Challenge team will confirm your eligibility by email. *
  3. Participate in the Innovation Showcase + Awards.
    The judging process entails evaluation of written proposals and in-person meetings with teams. Judges receive entrants' final proposals in late March and submit their evaluations. Then judges meet teams in-person at the Innovation Showcase to complete the other half of the evaluation process. At the Innovation Showcase, judges submit their final recommendations for awards, and the winners are announced.

What you can win:

  • One top award of $15,000 in honor of our 15th Anniversary. Additional grants of $5,000, $7,500, and $10,000 for teams, as determined by our panel of judges. Amount we can award this year totals $80,000. Usually around 7-10 teams are awarded.
  • Awards are granted for a 15-month period. All unused funds revert to the Public Service Center. There are some basic guidelines on what awards cannot cover - such as employment, legal fees, dangerous materials, and some other products and services. If questions, ask

Questions? Email

For complete rules and restrictions, download

For an overview of initial and final proposal guidelines and development grant process, please refer to the sidebar for more information.

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If your team is awarded a grant, you are expected to attend the WINNERS' RETREAT - This year's retreat will take place the evening of Thursday, April 28; the late afternoon/evening of Friday, April 29; and the morning/afternoon of Saturday, April 30.