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NOVA impACT! challenges

NOVA impACT! challenges

Improving society during the pandemic and beyond

In this time of crisis, social innovation is more important than ever. The challenges we are facing are unprecedented, but so are the opportunities!

Join this summer program and help us to improve society during the pandemic and beyond!

Our goal

Generate 10 groundbreaking solutions to address challenges posed by the new normal expected to arise during and after the coronavirus pandemic, putting knowledge and innovation at the service of society.

Solutions can range anywhere from apps and websites, to physical devices or a business plan. They must answer to at least one Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

Who can apply?

All people from NOVA are invited to jump in and contribute with their ideas, including students, alumni, faculty, researchers and staff. Members outside NOVA University Lisbon are also eligible, provided that there is at least one member of NOVA's academic community in their team.

Some questions/challenges to consider (non-exhaustive list):

  • How can we promote social inclusion, while maintaining the necessary social distancing until we have a vaccine?
  • What solutions can help us with our physical and mental wellbeing as social and physical distance grows and economy slows down?
  • How can we support local hospitals, community- and home-based caregivers in the next months and be more prepared for the next crisis?
  • How to better communicate information to the underserved and elderly populations?
  • How can we help local businesses survive this and future economic disruptions?
  • How to ensure that the recovery won’t make inequality even worse than it already is?
  • How to maintain the planet's sustainability and reduce climate change in the post-covid era while trying to revive the economy?
  • How to reduce the waste produced with disposable materials in future epidemics? How can we become more self-sufficient?
  • How to take advantage from the evident pandemic effects on the environmental recovery to raise awareness for the human impact on the planet sustainability?
  • …among other socially or environmentally relevant challenges.

The program - in a nutshell

  • Ideas must be submitted in 500 words or less by July 3 through this application form.
  • Ideas can be submitted individually or in teams by students, alumni, faculty, researchers and staff from NOVA. If you are not affiliated to NOVA but want to enroll in this program find a member of the NOVA community to be part of your team.
  • A jury of experts will select up to 10 ideas for implementation. A pitch interview may take place during the selection process.
  • Selected candidates will have 3 weeks to prepare a prototype or proof of concept, using video, photos, diagrams, apps, 3D printing, etc. In some cases, the output can be a business plan (and not necessarily a prototype).
  • Each innovator/team may receive up to EUR 500 for the proof of concept stage.
  • The selected applicants/teams will be assisted through virtual workshops at the beginning of each week, enabling and equipping them with concepts and tools to complete the proof of concept (PoC) stage. Candidates will be guided by facilitators/mentors and they will have access to other resources, including NOVA Mentor Network, digital tools, among others.
  • In the proof of concept stage, we strongly encourage individual participants to create a multidisciplinary team to develop the solution, taking advantage of the talents’ diversity and complementary background available in the 9 NOVA schools.
  • Winners will be announced on the demo day (July 31) where all participants/teams will pitch their achievements to a panel of specialists. The winning idea can receive an additional prize of EUR 2.000!
  • The most promising ideas will have the opportunity to be further developed, taking advantage of NOVA’s resources and mentors, supported by the Value Creation Office.

Selection process and criteria

  • Jury members will review and assess all the submitted ideas, selecting up to 10 ideas for the proof of concept stage by July 3rd.
  • The jury will consider the feasibility and global impact of the proposed solution, the relevance of the addressed question, the relation to the SDG’s and the applicant’s ability to execute the idea.
  • Applications from multidisciplinary teams with at least 2 persons from different schools from NOVA will be valued.
  • Participants must demonstrate their willingness and commitment to carry on the proof of concept stage throughout the 3 weeks of the program.

The Calendar

  • Application deadline: July 3, 2020.
  • Communication of selected ideas: July 10, 2020
  • Proof of concept stage: July 13-July 30, 2020
  • Demo day and winners’ announcement: July 31, 2020.


Resources made available (for the PoC stage)

If you need any further information please contact: novaempreendedorismo@unl.pt