Design Challenges

Overview

We invite students, postdocs, faculty, and staff from all schools to participate in our design challenges. The goal of design challenges is to produce a viable design-concept (could include a rough prototype, if possible) to win continued support toward development of an interdisciplinary technology-driven solution that could potentially be presented.

If you have any interest in patenting anything you build at this event, or if you have any questions about IP more generally, we encourage you to check out CTV’s website or email techventures@columbia.edu. Merely participating in the Design Challenge and using the limited funds provided by the Design Challenge would not be considered “significant use” under clause 4 of the FAQs for Students.

COVID-19 Design Challenge

The Columbia Community is coming together to address challenges posed by COVID-19. We invite students, postdocs, faculty, and staff from all schools to participate in this design challenge. The goal of the challenge is to produce a viable design concept (could include a rough prototype, if possible) to win continued support toward the development of an interdisciplinary technology-driven solution that could be used to support the COVID-19 response effort. These design-concepts can be medically-focused or intended to facilitate life in the ‘new normal’ we are experiencing during this ongoing pandemic.

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CENSUS 2020

The Census 2020 Design Challenge aims to generate innovative interdisciplinary technology solutions that could impact New York City’s participation in the 2020 Census. The Census is one of the greatest civil rights issues we are facing right now. As New Yorkers, our fair share of over $700 billion a year allocated by the federal government is at stake. This is funding for public education, public housing, senior centers and dozens of critical programs. Students from all schools at the university are participating in this exciting opportunity to address a complex and future-facing problem. 

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2018 Urban Works India

The Urban Works Innovation Challenge invites applications from passionate students and entrepreneurs who can create viable and interdisciplinary design-concepts for transforming 21st-century workspaces into innovative and productive environments. In this 2018 challenge, winning individuals and teams will specifically work on environmentally friendly, ergonomic, and cost-efficient solutions for improving the sustainability of Indian workspaces.

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See the followup story here!

2017 The Opioid Epidemic

Addiction is devastating wide swaths of the population as it cuts across geography, age, gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic status. This complex problem involves issues that affect not only health, medicine, technology, policy, business, but also countless other facets of our society—and fields that are represented here at Columbia. Five teams have advanced as winners of the 2017 design challenge and are further developing their work. 

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2015 Urban Water | Rio De Janeiro

Columbia Engineering and The Columbia Global Center| Rio de Janeiro are launching a design challenge on December 7 focused around bringing innovative engineering, planning, and policy solutions to the multi-faceted challenge of urban water. Interdisciplinary teams might consider devising solutions to challenges of access, distribution and storage of water and its quality; challenges around collection and treatment of wastewater; challenges around addressing effects of extreme weather causing floods and mudslides.

The goal of the design challenge is to produce a viable design-concept (could include a rough prototype, if possible) to win continued support toward development of an interdisciplinary technology-driven solution that could potentially be presented in Rio in March 2016.

Rio de Janeiro, “the Marvelous City,” is a world-class metropolis, well-known for its beautiful beaches, annual Carnival celebration, and its upcoming role as host of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Along with all that Rio has in its favor, it faces some challenges as well. Like many other cities, Rio is challenged to provide its residents and businesses with clean water through access to reliable systems for distribution and storage, adequate systems to collect and treat wastewater, and responses to extreme weather events that cause flooding and landslides.

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2014 Ebola Crisis

The real-life global problem: Ebola outbreak. The challenge: to develop low-cost technology-driven solutions to meet the tremendous challenges posed by the Ebola crisis. Eleven teams of students—both undergrads and grads—and faculty from the Engineering School, Mailman, SIPA, Columbia College, the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, among others—are in the midst of producing practical designs or rough prototypes to help significantly reduce the number of people who are dying from Ebola or stop the spread of the lethal disease.

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