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MIT Solve announces $1.25 million in funding for 2019 Solver teams

Prizes from GM, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, Vodafone Americas Foundation, and others will be awarded to Solver teams selected from four Global Challenges.
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Solve at MIT 2018 in Kresge Auditorium
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Solve at MIT 2018 in Kresge Auditorium
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Photo: Adam Schultz / MIT Solve

MIT Solve, an MIT initiative that advances solutions from tech entrepreneurs to address the world’s most pressing issues, has announced a prize pool of $1.25 million for its next class of Solver teams. Prize sponsors include General MotorsPatrick J. McGovern FoundationVodafone Americas FoundationSchmidt FuturesEverytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, and the Andan Foundation. The prize sponsors will convene at Solve at MIT from May 7-9 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with the rest of the Solve community, including 2018 Solver teams, members, sponsors, and MIT faculty, staff, and students.

Solve seeks solutions from tech innovators around the world for its 2019 Global Challenges: Circular Economy, Community-Driven Innovation, Early Childhood Development, and Healthy Cities. Anyone can submit a solution and apply for the $1.25 million in prize funding by July 1. Finalists will be invited to pitch their solutions at Solve Challenge Finals during United Nations General Assembly Week in New York City on Sept. 22. At the event, leading cross-sector experts will select 35 of the most promising tech-based innovators to become Solver teams. They will work with Solve for the next year to scale their solutions with the support of funding, networking, mentorship, marketing, and more from the Solve community.

2019 MIT Solve Prizes available for selected Solver teams include:

  • Solver Funding: MIT Solve will award a $10,000 grant to all Solver teams selected during Solve Challenge Finals in September by the cross-sector judging panels of each of Solve’s four Global Challenges.

  • GM Prizes, supported by General Motors:

    • Solutions that foster prosperity and social mobility for underrepresented community members — including through STEM education — are eligible for the GM Prize on Community-Driven Innovation. Up to $50,000 will be granted to two recipients.

    • Solutions that help communities shift towards a more circular economy through zero waste and zero carbon — including through STEM education for new design and manufacturing techniques — are eligible for the GM Prize on Circular Economy. Up to $50,000 will be granted to two recipients.

  • AI Innovations Prize, supported by the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation and Schmidt Futures: Solutions that are propelled by advanced computing techniques or that leverage artificial intelligence to address any of the four challenges are eligible for a prize up to $500,000, granted across several recipients.

  • Innovation for Women Prize, supported by the Vodafone Americas Foundation: Solutions that use technology to empower and enrich the lives of women and girls are eligible for up to $75,000 across up to three Solver teams addressing any of Solve’s Global Challenges.

  • Everytown for Gun Safety Prize, supported by Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund: Holistic, community-based Healthy Cities solutions that use technology to make cities safer are eligible for up to $100,000 in grant funding.

  • Innovating Together for Healthy Cities Prize, supported by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court: This prize of $75,000 will be awarded to one prize recipient, and is open to projects that focus on preventing or managing infectious disease or vector-borne illness in cities or slums.

  • Innovation for Refugee Inclusion Prize, supported by the Andan Foundation: Solutions that use innovation to advance economic, financial, and political inclusion of refugees in their hosting communities are eligible for this prize of up to $50,000. Eligible Solver teams will be selected from the Community-Driven Innovation Challenge.

“We are thrilled to work with such a diverse array of leading organizations to secure much needed funding for solutions to the world’s most intractable challenges,” said Alex Amouyel, executive director at MIT Solve. “There are innovators solving world challenges all around the world, but too few of them have access to the capital and expertise they need to scale. At Solve, we’re helping to bridge the pioneer gap in social impact, which is critical to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

MIT Solve invites the MIT community to attend Tech for Equality, the opening plenary of Solve at MIT 2019, on May 7 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Kresge Auditorium. Tickets are free and those interested can RSVP here. Media interested in attending can apply for media credentials by emailing press@solve.mit.edu.

Solve issues four Global Challenges each year to find the most promising Solver teams who will drive transformational change. Solve then deploys its global community of private, public, and nonprofit leaders to form the partnerships these Solver teams need to scale their impact. In the last two years, Solve has brokered more than $7.5 million in grant funding to Solver teams, in addition to in-kind support. Last year, more than 1,150 people from 110 countries submitted solutions to Solve’s four Global Challenges.

Press Mentions

Forbes

MIT’s Solve initiative is accepting solutions for its Circular Economy Challenge, which focuses on renewable energy and waste elimination. “Ideas that help communities move towards zero waste and zero carbon through STEM education on new design and production techniques could win the GM Circular Economy Prize,” writes Natalie Parletta for Forbes.

Boston Globe

In a column for The Boston Globe, Linda Rodriguez McRobbie spotlights MIT Solve, which connects innovators with leaders from business, the non-profit sector, education and government to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. “Solve was founded to amplify good ideas, and so far, it’s working,” writes Rodriguez McRobbie.

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