Mayor's Innovation Challenge - About

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About the Challenge

What is the Mayor's Innovation Challenge?

Kingston faces a series of complex challenges as we work toward our vision of becoming a smart, livable, 21st century city and is seeking solutions from student innovators. The Mayor's Innovation Challenge is a competition calling on teams of students from Kingston's major post-secondary institutions to develop innovative proposals to address a challenge faced by the City of Kingston. In partnership with Queen's University, St. Lawrence College and the Royal Military College of Canada, the City will host a collaborative problem-solving platform, made possible by the generous support of Bell Canada, the Queen's Centre for Advanced Computing, the Queen's Centre for Social Impact and the Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre (DDQIC).

Current and recently graduated post-secondary students are eligible to submit proposals addressing challenges in one of these three categories:

  1. Cultivating creative public spaces
  2. Strengthening active transportation networks
  3. Enhancing local attractions for youth

The creators of the top submissions, selected by the Mayor and senior staff, will be invited to present their proposals at the Mayor's Innovation Challenge Pitch-Off event on Friday, March 2. Paid 16-week summer internships are up for grabs for members of the top two placing teams. One team, contracted by the City, will work to implement their project to impact the lives of 125,000 people in our city. The project idea will have a $10,000 budget, and members of this team will work alongside City mentors to complete it. The second team, sponsored by DDQIC, will receive $4000 in seed capital for the venture, and have access to the entire summer of Queen's Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QISCI) programming to accelerate their idea. Both teams will have access to City mentors and QISCI programming to help students build their skills and work experience.

Projects that can be completed within the scope of the internship are preferred; however, it may be possible to carry on projects after the summer internship depending on the scope, resources and outcomes of the work.


Why should I participate?

The Mayor's Innovation Challenge provides a unique opportunity for you, as a current or recently graduated post-secondary student, to apply your knowledge to real-world issues and help shape the future of Kingston. The winning team members gain an invaluable opportunity to launch their careers by tackling an issue important to them, while working alongside municipal leaders. Each member from two winning teams will also receive a paid internship: one team with the City of Kingston, and one team with the Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre.

How do I participate?

Teams may have a maximum of four students, at least 50 per cent of whom are now enrolled in one of Kingston's post-secondary institutions. Teams will submit a single proposal outlining their innovative idea in one of three challenge categories. Proposals from all academic disciplines are welcome and multi-disciplinary proposals are encouraged. At least one member from each team must attend a workshop in order to qualify to submit an application. Extenuating circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Find out more about the Mayor's Innovation Challenge and the three challenge categories. Learn more about submitting a proposal.


What are the deadlines for the challenge?

  • Round 1: submit proposal by Tuesday Feb. 20, 2018, 9:00 a.m. 
  • Round 2: shortlist invited to pitch competition, notification sent by Saturday Feb. 24, 2018
  • Round 3: pitch competition Friday March 2, 2018

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