Climate Innovation Challenge FAQs

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What is the BU Changemaker Challenge?
The BU Changemaker Challenge is a recurring competition hosted by Innovate@BU that leverages the ingenuity of the BU community to create positive change in the Greater Boston area. Each challenge identifies one pressing real-world issue for which students are invited to put forward potential solutions. Participants will receive individualized coaching, opportunities to connect with local nonprofits and policy-makers to learn more about the work being done, and the chance to win a piece of the $15k in funding available to support innovative ideas. 

Why focus on climate resiliency for the City of Boston?
The city of Boston wants to continue to develop as a vibrant and sustainable city. However, Boston  is fighting the clock to identify and implement solutions to support that vision. As extreme weather increases, sea levels rise and more and more of Boston becomes susceptible to flood damage, we are calling upon the Terrier community to dig in and help build a climate-resilient and environmentally just city. 

Does the solution have to focus on the city of Boston?
Yes. Although the solution may be started in another place, the proposal you submit should include how you would implement it for the city of Boston and why it is necessary. The city of Boston neighborhoods include: Allston, Back Bay, Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Brighton, Charlestown, Chinatown-Leather District, Dorchester, Downtown, East Boston, Fenway-Kenmore, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mid-Dorchester, Mission Hill, North End, Rosindale, Roxbury, South Boston, South End, West End, West Roxbury, & Wharf District. 

Does the solution have to fit within one of the stated challenge buckets (decreasing carbon emissions, zero waste, extreme weather, flooding or sea level rising)?
No. We understand that there are many opportunities to help Boston build a climate resilient city. We encourage the Terrier community to get creative, get close to the problem they are interested in solving and submit their strongest idea for the challenge. 

What is the deadline to apply?
The deadline to apply has been extended to January 28, at 11:59pm ET.

Who is eligible to apply?
All current BU students and class of 2023 BU alumni are eligible to apply. No previous experience is necessary!

Who can be on my team?
Teams must have at least one current BU degree-seeking student or a BU class of 2023 alumni who:

  • Is the team lead or co-founder,
  • Plays a key role in the idea, and
  • Will take part as one of the main presenters in each competing round

Teams may include non-BU members as long as the previous requirement is met.

Do I need a team, or can I apply on my own?
While we encourage collaborative work, you are welcome to apply on your own! No team is necessary to be eligible.

Can I or my team apply with more than one idea?
No, you and/or your team must submit only your best, most feasible idea

Do I need to be available for the semi-final and final rounds to be eligible?
Yes. Applicants must commit to being available to attend and participate in the semi-finals and final events on the listed dates/times. However, if your full team cannot commit to all the dates, the BU representative of your team MUST be available.

What does the application process look like?
Once the applications are reviewed by our judges, 10 teams will be invited to present their pitch in the semi-final round on February 22nd. Then, the top 4 teams will advance to the final round on March 7th where they will have the chance to compete for $15k in funding.

How developed does my idea need to be in order to apply and be competitive?
Your idea can be at any stage of development, from ideation to implementation, and still be competitive!

Will I need to present my idea?
All semi-finalists will need to present their idea to a panel of judges, and the finalists will pitch their idea to judges and an audience of community members. If you are nervous or would like to practice beforehand, the BUild lab offers Pitching and Public Speaking Office Hours through Handshake.

If I win, what happens after I get funding?
After you get your giant check, you will stay in touch with the Innovate@BU team and continue to receive coaching as you work to implement your winning idea!

Who will be evaluating my application?
Our judges are sourced from nonprofits, partner schools at BU, and local government officials who are currently engaged in this work.