MIT Global Challenge opens for worldwide participation
Competition to identify innovations with greatest potential for positive impact in communities around the world.CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — What can a team of graduate architecture students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) do to tackle the environmental crisis playing out in the Niger River delta? Can mobile phones transform how teachers engage with their classroom students? Is there a way to capture and store enough rainfall to help arid Indian communities avert acute water shortages?
Come find answers to these and dozens of other community development challenges at the MIT Global Challenge (http://globalchallenge.mit.edu) — a new initiative of the MIT Public Service Center that seeks to spark an unprecedented level of collaboration among students at MIT, the worldwide MIT alumni network, and communities around the world. While visiting this year’s teams, cast up to five votes for the teams you think demonstrate the greatest innovation, feasibility, and potential for positive impact.
This year — a special year as the Institute celebrates 150 years of service to the world — more than 80 teams have entered ideas that address barriers to well-being in communities in 24 countries. Organizers anticipate that more than 50 of these teams will enter Final Proposals in this year’s competition that will make them eligible for a share of $150,000 in implementation awards — up to $25,000 per team.
The launch of the MIT Global Challenge this year cracks open what has traditionally been a campus-based competition process, translating the MIT community’s latent curiosity and problem-solving prowess into a vibrant network of support — “a platform for bringing the global MIT alumni community into [student] innovations” in the words of Burton (’84) and Michele (’87) Kaliski, early supporters of the initiative.
Through the Global Challenge, teams can create public profiles that they use to garner interest and support from MIT alumni and collaborators around the world. Users can post “Help Offered” or “Help Wanted” ads, comment on projects, and connect directly with teams. During the period April 6 to April 25, all users will have up to five votes they can cast for the teams that they think demonstrate the greatest innovation, feasibility, and potential for impact. Teams with the most votes will be eligible for $5000 Community Choice Awards.
The Global Challenge is inspired by the MIT IDEAS Competition, an annual invention and entrepreneurship competition that invites graduate and undergraduate students at MIT to apply their problem-solving skills to barriers to human well-being in partnership with community-based organizations. Since 2001, IDEAS has awarded more than $250,000 to 64 teams working in 26 countries across a range of issues — from water and sanitation to medical devices to energy and the environment. Teams have used their implementation awards to leverage more than $3.4 million in follow-on funding, going on to create new ventures and technology transfer initiatives.
“Technology,” reflected Burt and Michele, “offers so much promise, and the global MIT alumni community — together with a new generation of students — can do great good by applying innovation to pressing problems together. We look forward to the successes of the new MIT Global Challenge in bringing inspiring new ideas to the world.”
Winners of this year’s competition will be announced at a May 2 awards ceremony in MIT’s Kresge auditorium. Guests can register at: http://globalchallenge.mit.edu/about/awards-rsvp. MIT150, the MIT Public Service Center, and the MIT Alumni Association are pleased to invite friends of public service innovation to join with us in this exciting endeavor. Visit http://globalchallenge.mit.edu to be a part of it.
About the presenters
MIT Public Service Center
At the heart of the MIT mission statement is a call to serve the nation and the world—and this charge is embodied by the MIT Public Service Center (PSC). Since its founding in 1988, the PSC’s system of support has helped students learn how to meet challenges and manage projects with innovation and creativity. From teaching a child to read in a Cambridge public school to traveling to Ecuador to continue work on a rainwater filtration tank project, the experiences are meaningful and far-reaching. Learn more at: http://mitpsc.mit.edu
MIT150: Inventional Wisdom
In 2011, MIT will celebrate 150 years of excellence in teaching and research with a spectrum of academic and service programs, performances, and exhibits. Key components of the program include the series of six MIT150 Symposia, for which registration is open to all; the 150 Exhibition at the MIT Museum,; an Open House on April 30, when MIT will welcome all visitors to campus for a day of tours and activities; and the Global Challenge, a vehicle for the MIT community worldwide to engage in innovative entrepreneurship for the public good. Among these signature programs are others that celebrate the arts at MIT, the advancement of knowledge through research, and the service to nation and world that has been central to MIT’s mission since 1861. Learn more at: http://mit150.mit.edu
MIT Alumni Association
The world-wide MIT community — more than 123,000 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, five territories, and in 159 other countries — is uniquely positioned to inform, support, and invest in today’s young problem solvers.
It is estimated that 25,800 companies founded by MIT alumni employ about 3.3 million people and generate annual world revenues of $2 trillion, producing the equivalent of the eleventh-largest economy in the world. Imagine if we applied that kind of entrepreneurial talent to today’s urgent humanitarian challenges.
MIT alumni are members of one of the most diverse, talented, and invigorating communities in the world. The Alumni Association is a gateway to this community. The Association provides services and resources that strengthen alumni's ties to MIT across every stage of life and around the globe. Learn more at: http://alum.mit.edu