Five people looking out of a frame that says "President's Innovation Challenge UNLV"

President's Innovation Challenge

The President's Innovation Challenge is a multidisciplinary team competition encouraging social and business entrepreneurship to help solve major contemporary problems in Southern Nevada and beyond.

The Challenge

About the Challenge

The challenge provides the opportunity to define how you can apply your knowledge, expertise, and innovative Rebel spirit to help solve an education challenge. Your team will have the opportunity to chart the course to a more sustainable future.

The challenge is what we offer. The idea is up to our students – one that could win them a significant cash prize and even a life-changing path for their future.

Students collaborate in teams to determine innovative solutions. These teams choose to address significant social issues, launch impactful businesses or nonprofits, develop apps that promote sustainable socioeconomic progress in our city, or promote art expansions for residents and visitors.

3rd Annual President's Innovation Challenge

The Challenge

Given the extraordinary publicity around Artificial Intelligence (AI) today, the 2023-24 competition will have teams competing to chart the future of education through innovative applications of artificial intelligence. They should leverage generative AI and other technologies to develop tools and platforms that can improve outcomes for students and teachers.

You're not limited to just a technical solution. Consider novel approaches, such as:

  • Integrating AI into art and music instruction.
  • Creating virtual assistants to help teachers in high student-to-teacher ratio classes.
  • Designing a game-based learning product to increase engagement.
  • Addressing higher education challenges you've experienced through AI-driven solutions.

Competition Details

Teams form during the fall semester, attend technical assistance workshops, and submit a competition proposal. The top proposals advance to the next round of the competition in the spring, where final solutions are presented to a panel of judges at the President's Innovation Challenge event. Winning teams will receive cash prizes from a pool of $50,000, including a grand prize of $25,000.


Complete the President’s Innovation Challenge interest form by Nov. 22, 2023.



Upcoming Events

The 2023 President's Innovation Challenge is in the works! Please check back soon for details.

Competitor Information

You and a team of fellow students will develop an innovative solution and compete for the opportunity to win prize money to make your idea a reality. Teams of three to five students from at least three different majors or disciplines (e.g., arts, engineering, and business) must include at least one undergraduate and one graduate student. This helps to ensure that teams have different types of academic, professional, and scholarly expertise and can produce an innovative solution from concept to execution.

Teams are best due to their effectiveness in solving major problems. Don't worry if you don't have a team – you can sign up as an individual, and be assigned to a team. If you have a team but lack the diversity requirement or a graduate student, we will help you by assigning individuals. We want Rebels from all majors, disciplines, and backgrounds to participate.

During the fall semester, you will form your team, attend technical assistance workshops to gain the knowledge you need to be successful, and submit a competition proposal. The most competitive proposals will be selected to move forward to the next round of the competition in the spring, during which your team will build and submit your final solution to the problem statement. You'll present your plans at the spring showcase to a panel of judges, and final prizes will be announced.

Winning teams will receive cash prizes from a prize pool of $50,000, including a grand prize of $25,000. To support winning teams in transforming their proposals into reality, prize packages for winners will include a place in the UNLV Incubator cohort and support from mentors in their field.

Students who advance to the final round will receive tuition for a 3-credit spring semester class and a UNLV parking pass in the form of a scholarship.*

*Students must have a current 2023-24 FAFSA form or 2023-24 Alternate Need Form on file. If they owe money for current or prior terms, the funds will be applied toward that balance. Disbursement of the scholarship can take between four to six weeks.

All participating teams will receive a sustain and inspire package with gift cards, in-kind products and services, access to the UNLV Incubator, and resources to help launch their innovation and prepare their submission.

  • Nov. 15: President's Innovation Challenge Virtual Information Session, also recorded for on-demand.
  • Nov. 22: Submit an interest form through the website. Individuals or teams may submit. If you are an individual not on a team, we will assign you to a team based on your major.
  • Nov. 27: President's Innovation Challenge Social, with the "Innovative Thinking & Problem Solving" workshop and "Idea Incubation" virtual workshop led by Robert Rippee.
  • Nov. 30: Submit the team registration form. Note that teams must consist of a minimum of three to five people in at least three different disciplines/majors and at least one undergraduate and one graduate student on each team. Individuals can also register and will be assigned to open teams. Be prepared to provide the following information when registering your team:
    • Basic team member information
      • First and last names
      • Rebelmail address
      • Majors and status as undergraduate or graduate student
    • Team name
      • Be creative and make it memorable.
    • Team mantra
      • A team mantra is a succinct statement or phrase that encapsulates the essence, values, purpose, or guiding principle of a team.
    • Team faculty advisor or mentor
      • If you don't have one, just let us know, and we'll help you find one.
  • Week of Dec. 4: Teams will be notified and enrolled in the President's Innovation Challenge course in WebCampus (no charge)
  • Week of Dec. 4: Individual participants who don’t have a team will be paired to open teams
  • Jan. 19 (11:59 p.m.): Fall semester phase team submissions are due
  • Jan. 26: Teams selected to proceed to the spring semester phase announced
  • Week of Jan. 29: Spring semester final phase team consultations with the President's Challenge Team
  • Feb. – Mar.: Spring workshops
  • Week of March 18: Commercial viability consultations with Robert Rippee
  • Week of March 25: Public speaking coaching 
  • April 5: Final submissions are due, both the document and your presentation slides
  • April 9: Dress rehearsal for timing and prototype demonstrations
  • April 10: The Grand Event - The President's Innovation Challenge Demonstration Day

Learn more about the competition and complete the President’s Innovation Challenge interest form by Nov. 22, 2023.

Students working with the president of UNLV.

Recaps from Past President's Innovation Challenge Events

Winning Teams

1st: LutumPotentia (Team 5)
  • Nour Benjelloun, Philosophy B.A.
  • Andres Carrasco, Marketing B.S.B.A.
  • Ryder Hankins, Marketing B.S.B.A. and International Business B.S.B.A.
  • Scott Luk, Management Information Systems M.S.
  • Angie Shenouda, Gender and Sexuality Studies B.A.
2nd: YouChef (Team 3)
  • Allister Dias, Economics B.S.B.A.
  • Ferris Ferris, Computer Engineering, B.S.E.
  • Vianey Lozoya, Architecture B.S.
  • Richard Palenik, Entrepreneurship B.S.B.A.
  • Christen Smith, Hospitality Management B.S.
3rd: Scarlet and Green (Team 2)
  • Zachary Billot, Political Science B.A.
  • Mary Blankenship, Chemistry M.S.
  • Miguel Soriano Ralston, Political Science B.A.
  • Jacob Vecchione, Civil Engineering B.S.
  • Annie Vong, Political Science B.A.

Winning Teams

1st: Esenjays (Team 10)
  • Shaimaa Abdelhaleem, Geoscience Ph.D.
  • G Liu, Quantitative Finance M.S.
  • Jacob Gross, Accounting B.S.B.A.
  • Jonathan Kim, MBA and Quantitative Finance M.S.
2nd: A More Sustainable World (Team 1)
  • Andres Rodriguez Lombeida, Public Affairs Ph.D.
  • Alejandro Rodriguez Lombeida, Business Administration M.B.A.
  • Anyelina Rodriguez Lombeida, Pre-Business (Economics)
3rd: AERO AI (Team 4)
  • Osarodion Victory Igbinobaro, Master of Architecture
  • Richard Bergstrom, Entrepreneurship B.S.B.A.
  • Godson Ebenezer Adjovu, Civil and Environmental Engineering Ph.D.
  • Glenn Nowak, Hospitality Administration Ph.D.

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