How can communities around the world prepare for, detect, and respond to emerging pandemics and health security threats?
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 support and 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.
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.
Do you have a solution to the world's most pressing challenges? We encourage you to apply to Solve's Global Challenges, which are open for solutions until June 18, 2020 at 12pm ET.
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:
- Join a supportive community of peers, funders, and experts to help advance their innovative work through Solve's nine-month program;
- Receive mentorship and strategic advice from Solve and MIT networks;
- Attend Solve at MIT, our annual flagship event in May; and
- Receive access to more than $1million in prize funding for the 2020 Challenges.
In the last three years, thanks to our partners, Solve has brokered commitments of over $14 million in fundingfor Solver teams and entrepreneurs, in addition to in-kind support such as mentorship, technical expertise, media and conference exposure, and business and entrepreneurship training.
Who can apply to Solve's Challenges?
Anyone, anywhere around the worldcan 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.
What type of solutions will Solve accept?
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:
- Concept:An idea being explored for its feasibility to build a product, service, or business model based on that idea.
- Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model. If for-profit, a new company getting off the ground that has raised little or no institutional capital (less than $500,000) in pre-seed fundraising.
- Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community. If for-profit, a young company that is working to gain traction and that has raised less than $2 million in institutional capital in seed funding.
- Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth in multiple communities or countries. If for-profit, an early-stage company that has established a track record and is seeking to raise a round of roughly $2 million to $15 million in institutional capital in a Series A or potentially B round.
- Scale: A sustainable enterprise working in several communities or countries that is looking to scale significantly, focusing on increased efficiency. If for-profit, a successful company that is scaling its operations and seeks to raise a round of more than $15 million in institutional capital.
How will my solution be evaluated?
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:
- Alignment: The solution uses technology to address one of Solve's Global Challenges.
- Potential for Impact: The planned solution implementation has the potential to impact lives.
- Feasibility: Solution implementation is feasible, and the team has a plan for financial sustainability.
- Innovative Approach:The solution includes a new technology, a new application of technology, a new business model, or a new process for solving the Challenge.
- Scalability*: The solution can be scaled to affect the lives of more people.
- Partnership Potential*:The applicant clearly explains how the solution would benefit from the broad range of resources that the Solve community is positioned to provide.
*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.
What will I get if my solution is selected?
There's more than $1 million of funding available for the 2020 Solver Class. If you are selected as a Solver, you’ll receive a $10,000 grant from Solve, as well as access to significant additional prize funding. Visit each Challenge page to learn more about prizes.