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The National Science Foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges present the 2016-2017 Community College Innovation Challenge

About the Challenge

Are you a community college student who has a novel idea that uses science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM)? The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) present the third annual Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC) that asks student teams to innovate a STEM-based solution to a real-world problem. Teams will submit projects in one of three themes: Maker to Manufacturer, Energy and Environment, and Security Technologies. Form your team with a faculty mentor and community and/or industry partner to enter. An entry consists of a written portion and a 90-second video. Visit the Promotional Toolkit, where you can download posters, postcards and more.  

The 2016 CCIC finalists gather for a group photo on the final day of the Innovation Boot Camp. NSF photo


To see if CCIC is right for you, please thoroughly review the downloadable Participants' Guide before attempting to submit an entry. There you can find important information on what a complete entry looks like in the Entry Guidelines section; find resources and theme details in the Themes section; and learn how, where, and when to submit your entry, how it will be judged, and specifics on the Innovation Boot Camp in the Process and Prizes section. Be sure to review the Rules section, where you can find out if you're eligible and review some FAQs.  

A CCIC finalist explains his team's project to an attendee at a Capitol Hill reception for contest winners. NSF photo

Forming a Dream Team

Once you have reviewed all of the sections in the Participants' Guide, you can get some helpful tips on Getting Started and find out what roles your Faculty Mentor and Community/Industry Partner will play on your team.  

A CCIC team shares the product they created using craft materials for a design thinking session at the Innovation Boot Camp. NSF photo

Past Winners

Many inspiring innovations have already come out of past CCIC competitions. See (and watch) previous entries on the Results page.  

CCIC finalists from Perimeter College at Georgia State University pose for a photo after receiving the People's Choice award.   NSF photo

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Community College Innovation Challenge
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22230 USA

Follow #CCIChallenge

Who: Teams of three to five community college students, a faculty mentor, and a community or industry partner.

What: Teams proposing innovative, STEM-based solutions for real-world problems they identify within one of three themes: • Maker to Manufacturer
• Energy and Environment   • Security Technologies

When: Submission window: Oct. 17, 2016, to midnight EST, Feb. 15, 2017.
Required Innovation Boot Camp for finalists in Arlington, Va.: June 12, 2017, to June 15, 2017.


Why: To foster the development of crucial innovation skills, win prizes and professional development.

More Questions? Contact the CCIC team at