I use my project for the IDEAS and the $100K competitions?
I use a project from a class?
I supposed to come up with a business plan, a design or a product?
many people can be on a team?
much money can I get for a materials grant?
are the benefits of entering the competition?
do I know if my project is eligible?
if I'm not an MIT student?
submitting the list of team members, how to differentiate between
community partners, advisors, and actual team members?
1. Can I use
my project for the IDEAS and the $50K competitions?
Just make sure that your project meets the requirements for each
competition. For example, the IDEAS competition requires that you
develop something that meets community needs, and the $100K requires
that you develop a business plan--so if you develop a business plan
for a community non-profit organization or for a new volunteer placement
web tool, you'll satisfy both. (As a matter of fact, the team that
developed Volunteer Solutions, a terrific volunteer placement tool,
did win the $100K a few years ago, and it's now being used
in several states across the US.) Also, check the rules to make
sure that the right material gets submitted to each competition.
The same project can be used, but the type and amount of material
that each competition requires will vary.
2. Can I use
a project from a class?
Of course! Class
projects are a great way to get inspired and started--and the IDEAS
competition is a great way to transform a class project into an
actual prototype or service. IDEAS can offer you the inspiration,
funding support, and team support to move from a good start to a
Am I supposed to come up with a business plan, a design or a product?
all. Your job is to convince us that you have a feasible, innovative,
and effective solution to a real community problem or need. If it
takes a business plan to do that, then we'd like to see that plan;
if building a prototype and presenting user survey results will
be most convincing for your type of project, show us those--and
add the design plans as well if they'd make your entry more compelling.
Working to fill a community need for an innovative math curriculum?
Show us curriculum plans and the explanations that help us to see
how well they suit the target students. Developing a web-based instructional
system? Show us your beta site. Designing a bicycle that works in
Amazonian villages during the rainy season? Show us your plans and
perhaps a prototype of a critical component. (Remember, we have
development grants available to enable you to experiment and build
How many people can be on a team?
Your team can
have as my people as it takes to get the work done well, as long
as one-third (1/3) or more of them are full-time registered MIT
students (grad or undergrad). Keep in mind that you'll need partners
as well as teammates: every team has to work with a person or organization
from the target community. For example, if you're designing an unpuncturable
wheelchair tire, you may work with a local hospital; if you're designing
a cooking tool to be used by someone with a combination of physical
challenges, you'd want to work with a person with those challenges;
if you're designing a software system for a community in Belize,
you'll want to establish communication with people in that community,
and you may also want to work with a similar community nearby.You
may also want to work with faculty or professional mentors who will
guide your work, answer questions, assist your planning, and help
you to work safely and productively.
How much money can I get for a development grant?
grants will vary according to project needs. You should ask for
what you really need--and be ready to come up with an alternate
approach (or an alternative funding resource) if we are unable to
provide you with the full amount requested.
What are the benefits of entering the competition?
competitive excitement with altruistic incentives. Where else will
you get the chance to receive up to $7500 to transform a great idea
into a community asset? Add to that the experience of teamwork,
the opportunity to explore and resolve community issues firsthand,
the chance to work with a mentor on an inventive and challenging
project, the creative learning, the excitement of innovation, the
practical experience.... (You can let us know other assets once
you've experienced IDEAS!)
7. How do I
know if my project is eligible?
Ask. We'll be
happy to discuss your ideas and to make suggestions.
8. What if I'm
not an MIT student?
You can still
participate as long as at least a third of your team is full-time
registered MIT students. You can come to an IDEAS event to ask questions,
recruit teammates or to find out about our staff. Check out the
Get Connected section
of our website.
When submitting the list of team members, how do I differentiate
between community partners, advisors, and actual team members?
It is up to
you to define team member status, but we recommend that you include
people who are contributing and will continue to contribute substantial
amounts of time to your team. We encourage you to include community
members as part of your team, when appropriate, and have made the
1/3 rule to make that possible -- in a three-member team, one person
must be an MIT student, and 2 people can be community members. In
general, teams are NOT made up of community partners and advisors,
but collaborate with them instead.
Only team members
should be listed in the team member list and you should explain
their role in the biography section. Advisors and partners who are
not team members can be mentioned in the text of your application
but should not be on the team member list.
Feel free to
if you need help making the call or want to discuss our reasons
for the 1/3 rule.
there is a question not addressed on this page that you would like
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