Innovation Challenge

Welcome to the Innovation Challenge

Next Event: Boot Camp #2 February 19

6:00 p.m. at the McGovern Alumni Center

Innovation Challenge Semi-Final teams will be able to sign-up for their presentation time-slot at the Boot Camp.


The NDSU Research and Technology Park hosts the Innovation Challenge each year, an idea competition for students. They come with any ideas, things that have the potential to become a business one day or are at least a cause for future research. The student participants are encouraged to develop their ideas over the course of a semester long competition and compete for prizes up to $4,000. They are coached along the way from professionals with the NDSU Research and Technology Park, Flint Group, and Dr. Jeffrey Stamp a business mentor.


Teams can compete in one of three innovation tracks. The social impact track consists of projects related to the overall improvement of community, regional, or world issues. Graduate students interested in competing with an innovation related to their research, thesis, or dissertation may compete in the graduate research track. All other students with innovative products or services unrelated to a graduate’s research, thesis, or dissertation will compete in the entrepreneurship track.



Teams will compete over three rounds of competition with only select projects advancing to the next round. Round one is a proposal, in a short two-page document teams need to be able to describe the problem they are trying to solve, their solution, and their path to implement that solution. Round two consists of the Project Showcase, a way to present to professionals and then a day of judging. Judges will review the projects individually and the students will present in a trade-show style format with a poster. The final and third round is a formal visual presentation, many teams have used PowerPoint. They will have ten minutes to present, ending with five minutes of questions from the judges. At the conclusion of all three phases, students are invited to attend the awards ceremony to celebrate the winning teams and hear from professionals.


The Innovation Challenge is an excellent opportunity for students to find practical applications for their academic knowledge, develop their skills, and add to their resume an event that provides them with talking points for interviews. Many students will take their ability to present a technical or detail-oriented idea in a way that is simplistic and easy to understand and apply it directly to their careers. The Innovation Challenge provides life skills that instantly make students marketable and give them a way to stand out when applying for jobs.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Emily Schubert at 701-499-3604 or email at emily@ndsuresearchpark.com.




Questions or interested in participating?
Call the NDSU Research and Technology Park at 701.499.3604, or email emily@ndsuresearchpark.com.

About the Innovation Challenge

The Innovation Challenge encourages students to bring their best ideas forward. Knowing that innovations come in all shapes and sizes, we encourage you, as students, to be innovative thinkers, enhance your entrepreneurial awareness, empower you to pursue entrepreneurial careers, expand your access to resources available for innovators and entrepreneurs, and help you engage with entrepreneurs and business leaders in our communities.

The Innovation Challenge Process

By advancing your innovative ideas through three rounds of competition, you’ll be eligible to win enticing prizes.


The three rounds of competition include:

Innovation Proposal

Your first chance to clearly explain your innovation, how it’s unique, and the impact it has on the world or industry.

Semi-Final Presentation and Progress Review

A visual presentation to show your idea’s viability and progress, and get oral feedback from the judges.

Final Presentation

A short, complete presentation. The best ideas from these presentations will be rewarded with cash prizes and recognition for their outstanding innovations.

The Innovation Challenge Resources

Once enrolled, you’ll attend the Innovation Boot Camp sessions and learn from Dr. Jeff Stamp, a well-known instructor and entrepreneur, as he teaches you how to move your innovation to reality and share your concepts with investors and advocates.


We’re also proud to offer many resources to help you be successful, such as:

  • Bison Brainstorming – A night to brainstorm and develop your ideas. Test your ideas with other students and meet people to form teams. Patrick Kirby of DoGoodBetter Consulting will be leading a variety of activities to help you think innovatively and come up with ideas for problems to solve, and a variety of solutions you can refine.
  • Pitch Night – Present your idea to other students and business leaders in 60-seconds or less for a chance to win valuable prizes.

The Innovation Challenge Prizes

Cash prizes will be awarded to the students with the most innovative ideas. The best ideas in each track are awarded.  At the Project Showcase anyone who attends can cast their vote for the Dr. Wells People’s Choice Award, the winner receives $1,000.

Judges will be “investing” their allotted funding in the projects they believe in based on the competition and the final presentations. First, second, and third  place will receive funds in the amount of $3,000, $2,000, or $1,000.

Looking to learn more?
Call the NDSU Research and Technology Park at 701.499.3600, or email emily@ndsuresearchpark.com

Friends of NDSU Innovation Challenge

Innovation Challenge is made possible in part through the generous financial contributions of many companies and individuals.


On behalf of the NDSU Provost’s Office and NDSU Research & Technology Park, we’d like to extend our thanks to the many individuals who have generously contributed time, talent and resources to Innovation Challenge. We cannot do this without you.


If you are interested in learning more about Innovation Challenge and would like to know how you or your company can help, please contact us.


You can also donate now for the 2019 Innovation Challenge. Your donation will help Innovation Challenge teams use their ingenuity, enthusiasm, and skills to make a positive difference in the world. To donate, please email Paul Tefft, paul@ndsuresearchpark.com.


The Innovation Challenge sponsors underwrite awards, invest in our technology, and contribute toward the costs of running the competition.


We are especially grateful to our 2019 Sponsors

Premier Sponsor

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

February 2019

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  • 1 Million Cups Fargo
  • 1 Million Cups Fargo
  • Boot Camp TWO
  • 1 Million Cups Fargo
  • Showcase Coaching
  • 1 Million Cups Fargo
  • Innovation Challenge Showcase
  • Innovation Challenge Semi-Finals

Want to know more about the Innovation Challenge?


If you have questions about Innovation Challenge,

contact the NDSU Research and Technology Park