Work-From-Home Innovation Challenge

From the New York Academy of Sciences comes A Work-From-Home Innovation Challenge

On the 18 March 2020, the New York Academy of Sciences launched a work-from-home student competition. Its goal is to help young people strengthen research and critical thinking skills by developing technologies to help address the current coronavirus outbreak. 

Aimed at young people aged 13 to 17, the Academy’s global Combating COVID-19 Innovation Challenge is an online competition that can be approached independently or through collaboration with peers via a virtual platform.

We leveraged our experience running Innovation Challenges to launch this challenge quickly, as a way to help young people continue important learning while their schools may be closed due to the health emergency. We also hope that encouraging young people to focus on solutions might aid them in managing stress in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Chenelle Bonavito Martinez, Vice President of STEM Talent Programs, New York Academy of Sciences.

The COVID-19 Innovation Challenge invites young people to design technology-based solutions to slow the spread of the disease. This six-week challenge begins on March 25, when a detailed challenge question will be released. Solutions are due May 6, and the winners will be announced in June. Registration for the competition opens on 18 March 2020.

Once registered, participants will be invited to join Launchpad, the Academy’s online collaboration platform. Students around the world can use Launchpad to form teams where they can collaborate to design and present their ideas. During the challenge, students will have access to learning resources and opportunities to connect, via Launchpad, with experts. 

The Academy, through its Global STEM Alliance, has a long history of running programs designed to help young people engage in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Research shows that innovation challenges increase student engagement, deepen their knowledge of STEM content, and foster 21st-century skills like critical thinking, creativity, and communication. These skills are becoming increasingly important in 21st-century workplaces—across STEM and non-STEM industries alike. In many classrooms, students have limited opportunities to practice these skills, so innovation challenges can play an important role in rounding out a student’s education. 

Hank Nourse, Chief Learning Officer, New York Academy of Sciences.

The Academy has run innovation challenges since 2010, in fields at the leading edge of science, technology, and news headlines. Challenges specifically for students have included:

  • Cybersecurity in the Age of the Internet of Things
  • Intelligent Homes and Health
  • Natural Disasters: Relief & Recovery
  • Wildfires: Tracking, Prevention, and Containment
  • The Future of Buildings and Cities
  • Decarbonizing the Global Energy System

To sign up for the Combating COVID-19 Challenge, individuals aged 13–17 should visit:

The Grand Prize Winner of the Challenge will receive a $500 travel scholarship to attend the Global STEM Alliance Summit at the Academy’s headquarters in New York City. The top three winners will receive Membership in the New York Academy of Sciences, and acceptance into its prestigious Junior Academy. 

Other New York Academy of Sciences Programming on COVID-19

The New York Academy of Sciences is committed to providing important, science-based information about the coronavirus outbreak. Next month, on Wednesday, April 22nd, at 6:30PM EDT, the Academy will host a webinar, New Developments in the COVID-19 OutbreakSpeakers will include Dr. Michael Osterholm, an expert on epidemic preparedness and response, and Dr. Peter Daszakof EcoHealth Alliance. Please be sure to register to receive access to this free event. 

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Please read a recap of an Academy webinar held on March 12, The New Coronavirus: What You Need to Know. A full recording of the webinar is also available. This program featured Dr. Osterholm and Dr. Julie Gerberding, a vaccine expert and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About the Global STEM Alliance

The Global STEM Alliance (GSA)—a subsidiary of the New York Academy of Sciences—is a network  of more than 250 partners working to inspire and prepare the next generation of STEM innovators.  Reaching participants in over 100 countries, GSA programs focus on mentorship, skills development, and the application of skills to real-world challenges.

About the New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With more than 20,000 members in 100 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy’s core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Visit them online at Twitter: @NYASciences


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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