What Is the Challenge?

The Grainger Computing Innovation Prize calls on Illinois Tech students to develop creative technology solutions to some of the most challenging problems facing the world today: health disparities, climate change, and the need for sustainable smart infrastructure.

Successful entries must use some element of computing and address one of the following challenges:

  • Technology for improved health infrastructure, especially aimed at addressing health disparities
  • Technological solutions addressing climate change
  • Smart infrastructure for sustainable cities and communities

Criteria are drawn from the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, which provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet now and into the future. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth—all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. These criteria are also aligned with the Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century outlined by the National Academy of Engineering.

United Nations


There is $30,000 in total prizes to be won.

1st Place team: $15,000
2nd Place team: $10,000
3rd Place team: $5,000


Interdisciplinary solutions and creative thinking are key but all entries must involve an element of computing.

To compete in the Grainger Computing Innovation Prize, students must be pursuing an undergraduate or master’s degree and must be registered at Illinois Tech for fall 2021. International students are eligible and welcomed to participate in this competition. 

The Grainger Computing Innovation Prize  is a team-based competition, with each team comprised of two–five students. The recommended team size is four–five students. At least one undergraduate student is required in each team. Doctoral students are not eligible for the prize but are encouraged to participate as mentors.

Students may register as a team or as an individual. We will try to help individual registrants form a team.

The Competition

The Grainger Computing Innovation Prize will go through three stages during the fall semester 2021:

  1. Round 1 (late September): teams will submit Concept Notes describing their ideas. If a team’s submission is selected, they will move on to the next round.
  2. Round 2 (mid October): teams will be invited to develop a detailed prototype of their idea. If a team’s presentation is selected, they will move on to the finals.
  3. Finals (mid November): teams will present their ideas in front of a top-tier panel of judges.