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Student Innovation Challenge

In a virtual expo-style event, students pitch their start-ups, interdisciplinary projects and innovative research
Applications are now closed. Shortlisted teams to be announced on 27 July.

The Student Innovation Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for University of Sydney students to present their innovative solutions to real-world problems. There are over $28,000 worth of prizes that will be won.

Last year’s winners included a proactive management tool to combat UV risk in the workplace, rocketry research in the aerospace sector, and a digital tool that empowers underprivileged farmers use fertiliser effectively.

2020 categories and prizes

Start-up Innovation Prize - $10,000

Is your idea ready to launch? The Start-up Innovation Prize is for individual students, or teams, who have developed a new idea with commercial potential. This competition is best suited for students who already have made demonstrable progress.

In addition to the cash prize, the winner will also receive a three month membership at the Sydney Knowledge Hub the University's coworking space for innovative businesses seeking to collaborate with the University. Membership includes access to:

  • flexible workspace
  • the Knowledge Hub community
  • the programming and events held onsite
  • facilitation to find and work with the brightest minds and other resources of the University to get your business to the next level.
  • The team leader must be a current enrolled student of the University of Sydney
  • The idea submitted must have originated from one or more of the team members.

Research Innovation Prize - $5,000

From theory to practice! This prize is for individual HDR students or teams who have discovered and developed a practical application for their research. This competition is best suited to students who demonstrate that their research has led to this outcome. 

In addition to the cash prize, the winner will also receive a three month membership at the Sydney Knowledge Hub the University's coworking space for innovative businesses seeking to collaborate with the University. Membership includes access to:

  • flexible workspace
  • the Knowledge Hub community
  • the programming and events held onsite
  • facilitation to find and work with the brightest minds and other resources of the University to get your business to the next level.
  • The team leader must be a current enrolled HDR student of the University of Sydney
  • The idea submitted must have originated from one or more of the team members.

Interdisciplinary Innovation Prize - $5,000

Two heads are better than one! Teams of 2 or more students working together from different disciplines can enter their solutions to real-world problems. The competition is best suited to students who illustrate how their disciplinary expertise have combined to produce a better idea.

  • The team leader must be a current enrolled student of the University of Sydney
  • The idea submitted must have originated from one or more of the team members
  • Teams must be made up of members with two or more academic disciplines.

People’s Choice Prize - $1,000 x 3

Shortlisted teams in each of these categories will have the chance to win the People’s Choice Prize. The idea with the most votes in their respective category will win $1,000. Make sure you spread the word to be in the best spot to win! Voting opens on the 27 July and closes on 12 August. Check back here on the 27 July for details.


How to Apply

Applications are now closed. 

Shortlisted teams will be announced on the 27 July 2020 and invited to present a virtual pitch to the Showcase Judging Panel on 12 August 2020. Each team may have up to five members presenting. The winners for each category and the People’s Choice Prize will be announced on 26 August 2020.

Key dates

  • Applications open: 18 May 2020
  • Applications close: 25 June 2020
  • Shortlisted teams announced: 27 July 2020
  • Showcase Judging Panel: 12 August 2020
  • Winners announced: 26 August 2020.
Students should be aware that shortlisted applications will be publicly visible and should not include sensitive or confidential material. The application process, judging process and People’s Choice Award voting will be managed through the online platform Judgify. Judgify is not owned by the University. Students should review the Judgify privacy policy before submission. Students should keep copies of any material uploaded to Judgify for their own records.