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MIT's Solve Initiative Launches 3 New Innovation Challenges

MIT's Solve initiative, a community focused on creative problem-solving, is tackling major global issues with three new challenges. This year's Solve challenges seek innovative, affordable, far-reaching and implementable solutions to address refugee education, carbon contributions and chronic diseases.

The Refugee Education challenge asks, "How can we improve learning outcomes for refugee and displaced young people under 24?" According to the Solve website, applicants are encouraged to:

  • Outline solutions to help increase access to learning — for example, by scaling promising learning technologies;
  • Suggest new models, techniques and concepts that address key barriers to education delivery for students affected by crises; and
  • Propose tools and strategies to measure, monitor and achieve quality learning, especially to overcome resource limitations, language barriers and geographic challenges.

The Carbon Contributions challenge asks, "How can individuals and corporations manage and reduce their carbon contributions?" The stated goals are to:

  • Generate, test and deploy carbon removal technologies that could be deployed by individuals and/or corporations, at point or at scale;
  • Suggest implementable "bottom-up" carbon pricing approaches for communities and businesses; and/or
  • Propose large-scale individual-level and business-level solutions to significantly reduce emissions.

The Chronic Diseases challenge asks, "How can we help people prevent, detect and manage chronic diseases, especially in resources-limited settings?" Proposals should:

  • Suggest chronic disease prevention models that can both reduce cost and improve health outcomes, particularly in low-income and developing country settings;
  • Propose innovative strategies for chronic disease screening, especially to increase early detection; and
  • Develop low-cost, rapidly scalable tools and technologies to help patients and caregivers more efficiently and effectively manage chronic disease burdens.

The application deadline for all three challenges is Jan. 20, 2017. Finalists will pitch their solutions to a panel of expert judges in a March 7 event at the United Nations in New York City. Those with the "most innovative and plausible solutions" will be invited to join the Solve community and present their solutions May 8–10 at Solve at MIT, an annual flagship meeting on the MIT campus.

The Solve community "brings together technologists and researchers, social entrepreneurs and business leaders, policymakers, change agents and activists from across the globe to unearth and implement solutions to specific actionable challenges." Its mission: "to solve world challenges by unearthing the best solutions to specific actionable challenges through open innovation, building and convening a community of private, public, nonprofit and academic leaders to bring resources to bear, and supporting these solutions to become a reality by brokering partnerships between the Solve community members that drive real and lasting impact."

For more information and to apply, visit the Solve site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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