Student Innovation Challenge 2020

Student Innovation Challenge 2020 title graphic

Become a University of Arizona inventor!
Up to $50,000 in project funding will be awarded.

The application deadline is February 28, 2020.

Do you have a great idea for an invention but don’t know where to start? Puzzled by the challenges and costs of taking an idea from a concept to a patent to a finished product?

Tech Launch Arizona (TLA) announces a new “Student Innovation Challenge” designed to engage students in the 4th Industrial Revolution, designing solutions to challenges they encounter in their daily lives.

The TLA Student Innovation Challenge is an idea-stage competitive challenge designed to encourage UArizona students – both undergraduate and graduate – to propose and develop solutions to real-world problems. The program is an opportunity partner with the university to take novel ideas to the next level where they can create real-world impact.

Get Started Now!

Working individually or in teams, students identify a problem and suggest solutions from hardware prototypes to software or mobile applications. Students will then propose both the perceived challenge and the potential solution to address the unmet needs in a variety of sectors including global health, mechanical and electrical engineering, optical sciences, water, energy, agriculture and more.

TLA will partner with selected teams, awarding a total of up to $50,000 to be divided up between projects with the most promising ideas. Awards per project will be based on the funding requests and the discretion of TLA to maximize the number of ideas or projects funded.  

Following completion of the project, all stakeholders meet to discuss outcomes, ensure a thorough understanding of the commercialization factors and, if appropriate, identify next steps, including additional resources to prepare the technology for commercialization.

Share The Opportunity

Download and share this flier with your colleagues. The more project entries, the more problems we address, the more impact we have. 




All the Benefits of Being a UArizona Inventor

If your invention is selected for funding, once you assign your rights in the project outcomes to the university, you’ll enjoy the same benefits as any UArizona inventor, including access to the full range of Tech Launch Arizona services, including:

  • Professional patent and market landscape assessments
  • Intellectual property protection, including patents and copyright
  • Access to further funding for technology development (see Asset Development)
  • Services to market the invention to potential licensees and/or startups
  • Support for forming and educating startup teams (also see I-Corps)
  • Support for license negotiations
  • Royalty sharing per the UArizona Royalty Distribution policy (See "How are royalties distributed?" on the TLA Intellectual Property Policy FAQ.)

How To Enter

To enter the Challenge, complete the proposal document. Considerations include:

  • A description of the project and desired outcomes.
  • Potential markets and projected customers.
  • Explicit differentiation from existing solutions.
  • Approximate cost and timeline to achieve solution. 


How Projects Are Evaluated

  • Project teams must include a UArizona undergraduate or graduate student.
  • Must meet all eligibility, terms and conditions.
  • Results should be achievable within six (6) months.
  • Project must address a clear challenge.
  • Solution should result in a minimal viable product.
  • Funds may be used for customer discovery, prototype design, and outsourcing of services. Other uses will be considered.

Eligibility, Terms & Conditions

  • Application must be submitted by FEBRUARY 28, 2020 at 5:00 PM MST.
  • Full-time, part-time, or online UArizona undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply.
  • Individual(s) or team(s) may apply. Team submissions are encouraged. There is no limit on team size. Along with students, teams may include UArizona staff, researchers, faculty and staff.
  • Application should propose an innovative solution to a social, environmental, health or other challenge facing society.
  • Proposal idea/invention is not yet licensed or otherwise obligated to a third party.
  • Award may be divided into milestones with incremental funding awarded as milestones are met or otherwise adjusted based on reviewing feedback and at TLA discretion.
  • Assessing projects for awards involves bringing technologies to TLA's team of professionals and domain experts (both internal and community), identifying the opportunities as well as pitfalls.
  • Following assessment of projects, some project teams may receive feedback to help formulate the scope of work and may require revisions at TLA’s discretion.
  • As a condition of receiving an award, all members of teams receiving an award will be required to assign (and hereby do assign) to the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) all rights, title, and interest in any intellectual property (IP) arising from awarded projects.
  • Projects must be completed within six (6) months.
  • Awardees will be invited to present their results and final outcomes to TLA and select group of partners.
  • Eligibility, Terms & Conditions are subject to change.
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