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The challenge is limited to submissions from U.S.-based, public or private, non-profit, two- and four-year IHEs (including community and technical colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the U.S. and its territories and possessions. Having a previous or current NSF grant award is not required to participate in this challenge.
For systems of higher education: Each campus that is part of a system may be considered a separate institution for submission purposes if the campus is geographically separate from the other campus(es), and if the campus has its own chief academic officer.
A higher education system may submit an entry on behalf of the entire system describing system-wide actions to any of the four challenge categories for which the system’s IHEs are eligible. Note that IHEs within this system would then not be eligible to submit separate entries to the challenge within that challenge category. If the actions in the challenge submission are not system-wide then the IHE that will be implementing or has implemented the actions should submit to the challenge rather than the system.
Submissions must be made by an institution-wide administrator (or system-wide administrator if the entry is from a system of higher education). For the purposes of this challenge, institution- or system- wide administrators are defined as the Chief Executive, Academic, or Administrative Officer of the IHE or the system of higher education.
Important Additional Eligibility Information by Challenge Category:
Category 1 - Two-Year Undergraduate Challenge. Submissions must come from an institution which primarily awards associate degrees. The institution may have a transfer program towards a four-year degree and occupational/workforce programs (such as certificates requiring coursework).
Category 2 - Four-Year Undergraduate Challenge. Submissions must come from IHEs that offer bachelor’s degrees in STEM.
Category 3 - Graduate and Postdoctoral Researcher Challenge. Submissions must come from IHEs that have STEM graduate degree granting programs and/or train STEM postdoctoral researchers.
Category 4 - STEM Faculty Challenge. Submissions are welcomed from all IHEs that meet the basic eligibility criteria irrespective of degrees offered.
Note: Any submissions not meeting the eligibility criteria will not be reviewed and will not be eligible for a prize award or honorable mention. IHEs may not be informed of ineligibility before the deadline for submissions ends.
Submission Limit: Each IHE is limited to one entry within each of the challenge categories for which the IHE is eligible. Multiple submissions from the same IHE within one challenge category will result in automatic disqualification of all submissions from that IHE in that category.
Intellectual Property: All original ideas submitted will remain the intellectual property of the challenge participant. All submissions will be publicly available information, allowing for the exchange of ideas between all participants and non-participants alike. All entries, even those not selected for a prize or honorable mention, may be used in part or in whole by NSF in publications and social media and shared by NSF for research and education purposes. No commercialization of challenge submissions can be conducted without prior authorization and consent from the submitters.
Consent: By participating in the challenge, all participants consent to NSF's use and display of the submitted information and the name of the IHEs.
Non-endorsement: The selection of winners or honorable mention designees is not an endorsement by NSF or NSF officials of the organization or components of the submissions (whether in part or in whole).
Funding Restrictions: Funds from the Federal Government cannot be used to develop submissions to this challenge unless specifically allowable by the federal grant.
Plagiarism: NSF has a no-tolerance policy for plagiarism. Upon discovery, any submissions that do not follow this policy will be disqualified and if applicable, will forfeit any prizes.
Waiver: Participation in this challenge is an agreement to assume all liability. Participants are agreeing to waive all claims against the Federal Government and its related entities (except in the case of willful misconduct), for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from their participation in the challenge, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise.
Disclaimer: NSF reserves the right to disqualify and/or clarify any submissions.
Partial Submissions: Submissions that do not include all of the required components described in the “Submission Specifications” section of this document will be disqualified from the challenge. IHEs may not be informed of incomplete submissions before the deadline for submissions ends and will not be able to amend their submission.
Conflict of Interest: Institution-wide administrators submitting to this challenge shall not: be a current federal employee or on loan to the National Science Foundation through an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Assignment; Federal Temporary Appointments, Visiting Scientist, Engineer and Educator (VSEE) Program or volunteer to be a judge of this prize competition. Immediate family members of NSF staff involved in the design, development, and implementation of this challenge shall not serve as institution-wide administrators submitting to this challenge.
Withdrawal of submissions: To withdraw from the challenge, the institution-wide administrator (or system-wide administrator if the entry is from a system of higher education) who initially submitted the challenge should log into their account and delete their entry. Entries can be deleted until January 30, 2022.