Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the latest in a series of infectious disease emergencies, including cholera, Ebola, SARS, Chikungunya, HIV/AIDS, and influenza. While scientists and drug developers, with support from governments and multilateral organizations, have been rushing to produce, test, and deliver vaccines and treatments, tech innovators also have a crucial role to play, both in the near term and to prevent and mitigate future disease outbreaks.
In the near term, we need improved solutions for prevention, accurate detection, and rapid response. MIT Solve is seeking tech innovations that can slow and track the spread of an emerging outbreak, for example by improving individual hygiene, developing low-cost rapid diagnostics, analyzing data that informs decision making, and providing tools that protect health workers.
At the same time, we cannot solely treat disease outbreaks reactively. Climate change and globalization leave us ever more vulnerable to future epidemics and pandemics, and it’s critical to be prepared. Solve is also seeking solutions that focus on preventative and mitigation measures that strengthen access to affordable primary healthcare systems, enhance disease surveillance systems, and improve healthcare supply chains.
We need your help:
Finalists in our Challenges will pitch their solutions to a live audience of 400+ leaders and expert judges at Solve Challenge Finals in September during UN General Assembly Week in New York City. Those that are ultimately selected as a Solver will:
In the last three years, thanks to our partners, Solve has brokered commitments of over $14 million in funding for Solver teams and entrepreneurs, in addition to in-kind support such as mentorship, technical expertise, media and conference exposure, and business and entrepreneurship training.
Anyone, anywhere around the world can submit a solution to Solve's Challenges. You can be an individual, a team, or an organization. You can be an applicant from previous years or already part of our community. If you have a solution, we hope you'll apply.
For full participation details, please see our Terms of Service.
Solve seeks innovative, human-centered, tech-based solutions to our Global Challenges. Our definition of "tech-based" is broad: in addition to AI, blockchain, and virtual reality, Solver teams have leveraged a plant-based fiber that absorbs oil spills, biodegradable sanitary pads, and user-friendly mobile apps. Learn about all our Solver teams' diverse technologies.
Through open innovation, Solve is looking for a diverse portfolio of solutions across geography, development stage, and team members’ gender and background. We encourage people of all backgrounds to submit applications.
Solution applications must be written in English. We will consider solutions at all stages of development:
Solve’s award-winning open innovation platform was designed based on 10 years of research conducted by the Climate CoLab, a project of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, which studies how people and computers can be connected so that collectively they act more intelligently than any one person, group, or computer has ever before.
Innovators and entrepreneurs, wherever they are in the world, can submit their solution to Challenges hosted on Solve’s platform using a user-friendly interface that encourages user participation beyond solution submission in the form of community commenting, voting, and editing solutions. In addition, all judging is completed inside the platform, where solutions are assigned to specific judges to evaluate those solutions.
Our judges are experts and leaders from across industries and sectors. Solve's staff and community (including our Members, MIT faculty, and Solver teams from previous cycles) will conduct an initial review to select semi-finalists, then Challenge Leadership Groups will review semi-finalist solutions and select finalists. Judges will score solutions along the following criteria:
*This criterion will not be considered during the initial review to select semi-finalists.
Finalists will pitch before the Challenge Leadership Group and a live audience at Solve Challenge Finals. If you are invited to pitch at Solve Challenge Finals, travel to New York will be reimbursed and accommodations will be provided.
The most promising solutions will form the new Solver class and build partnerships with the Solve community.
All solutions selected for Solve’s five current Global Challenges will receive a $10,000 grant funded by Solve. Solver teams will be selected by a panel of cross-sector judges at Solve Challenge Finals during UN General Assembly week in New York City on September 20, 2020.
In addition to Solve funding, the following prizes are available to Solver teams selected for the Health Security & Pandemics Challenge. To be considered for a prize, complete the prize-specific question within the application. You do not need to meet these requirements to apply to the Health Security & Pandemics Challenge:
The Elevate Prize for Health Security
The Elevate Prize for Health Security will be awarded to one Solver team from the Health Security & Pandemics Challenge. This prize is supported by The Elevate Prize Foundation, which recognizes that there are heroes all over the world who are putting their health and safety at risk to treat those who are infected and to save lives. Now more than ever, it is critical to recognize and uplift those who are elevating humanity. The Solver team that is selected will be named an Elevate Prize Global Hero and will participate in both the MIT Solver program and the Elevate Prize Global Heroes program, receiving a minimum of $300,000 over two years and ongoing support from The Elevate Prize Foundation and MIT Solve. Eligibility requirements for this prize are here ("Who can apply to The Elevate Prize?”).
The AI for Humanity Prize
The AI for Humanity Prize is open to solutions that are already using strong data science, artificial intelligence, or machine learning to benefit humanity, and to solutions that are not yet using these technologies but plan to do so to amplify their impact in the future. This prize is made possible by The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and our global community through neuroscience research and information technology. Up to $200,000 will be granted across several Solver teams from any of Solve’s current Global Challenges.
Innovation for Women Prize
Solutions that use innovative technology to improve quality of life for women and girls are eligible for the Innovation for Women Prize. This prize is funded by the Vodafone Americas Foundation, which supports technology-focused projects that advance the needs of women and girls, and that promote a world where women’s voices can be celebrated. Up to $75,000 will be granted across up to three Solver teams from any of Solve’s current Global Challenges.
The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion
The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion is open to solutions that advance the economic, financial, and political inclusion of refugees. The prize is funded by Andan Foundation, a Swiss non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting solutions that promote refugee resilience, self-reliance and integration. Up to $100,000 will be granted to up to four eligible Solver teams from across any of Solve’s current Global Challenges.