MIT’s Solve Global Challenges 2019


Creative Ideas Tech & IT

Location (s):

  • Online
  • United States of America
Cambridge, MA


Solve is now accepting solutions to its 2019 Global Challenges. More than $725,000 in prize funding is available. Apply by July 1.


Solve at MIT is our flagship annual event held on the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA, bringing together over 300 leaders from the tech industry, business, philanthropy, government, and civil society. Solvers and their solutions will be featured on stage, in online and written materials, and through dedicated challenge workshops. Solve staff will continue supporting Solvers to match-make partnerships with our community members who will help make Solvers’ solutions a reality.

Solve challenges are a unique opportunity to bring your ideas and talent to a growing global community tackling the most important challenges facing the world today.

Solve was born out of MIT in 2015, a natural offshoot of MIT’s commitment to open technological innovation, and its long commitment to actionable thought leadership in the public sphere.


  1. Community-Driven Innovation - How can citizens and communities create and improve social inclusion and shared prosperity?
  2. Early Childhood Development - How can all children under five develop the critical learning and cognitive skills they need to reach their full potential?
  3. Circular Economy - How can people create and consume goods that are renewable, repairable, reusable, and recyclable?
  4. Healthy Cities - How can urban residents design and live in environments that promote physical and mental health?


  • Indigenous Communities Fellowship (Presented with shift7) - Seeking native-led solutions that use traditional knowledge and technology to create sustainable and prosperous livelihoods for indigenous communities
  • Work of the Future - How can those most affected by the technology-driven transformations of work create productive and prosperous livelihoods for themselves?
  • Teachers & Educators - How can teachers and educators provide accessible, personalized, and creative learning experiences for all?
  • Coastal Communities - How can coastal communities mitigate and adapt to climate change while developing and prospering?
  • Frontlines of Health - How can communities invest in frontline health workers and services to improve their access to effective and affordable care?
  • Oceti Sakowin Solve Fellowship (Presented with shift7) - How can tribal communities advance renewable energy, food, or water access and contribute to economic prosperity and sovereignty?
  • Women and Technology - How can women and girls of all socioeconomic backgrounds use technology to fully participate and prosper in the economy?
  • Brain Health - How can every person improve their brain health and mental resilience?
  • Youth, Skills, & the Workforce of the Future - How can disadvantaged youth learn the skills they need to prepare them for the workforce of the future and thrive in the 21st century?
  • Sustainable Urban Communities Presented with Climate CoLab - How can urban communities increase their access to sustainable and resilient food and water sources?
  • Inclusive Innovation - How do we create a more inclusive, productive, and sustainable economic future for all?
  • Chronic Diseases - How can we help people prevent, detect and manage chronic diseases, especially in resources-limited settings?
  • Refugee Education - How can we improve learning outcomes for refugees and displaced people under 24?
  • Carbon Contributions - How can individuals and corporations manage and reduce their carbon contributions?

Challenge Cycle Timeline

2019 Global Challenges: 

  • February 28, 2019: Challenges open 
  • July 1, 2019 at 5:00pm ET: Deadline to submit a draft solution application 
  • July 22, 2019 at 9:00am ET: Deadline for editing a solution application 
  • August 2019: Finalists announced 
  • September 2019: Finalists pitch at Solve Challenge Finals during UN General Assembly Week in New York City

2019 Indigenous Communities Fellowship: 

  • January 11, 2019: Fellowship opens 
  • March 10, 2019: Deadline to submit a project application 
  • April 2019: Selected projects announced 
  • May 7-9, 2019: Solve at MIT in Cambridge, MA 

* Please note that the Indigenous Communities Fellowship follows a different schedule and selection process. 

How Challenges Work

Each year Solve seeks solutions from tech innovators around the world for its Global Challenges, and anyone can submit a solution. Finalists are invited to pitch their solutions at Solve Challenge Finals during UN General Assembly Week in New York City in September. Selected Solver teams will join a supportive community of peers, funders, and experts to help advance their work; receive mentorship and strategic advice from Solve and MIT networks; attend Solve at MIT, our annual flagship event in May; and receive access to significant additional prize funding from our partners. 

In the last two years, Solve’s community has committed more than $7 million in funding to Solver teams, in addition to in-kind support such as mentorship, technical expertise, media and conference exposure, and business and entrepreneurship training.

Opportunity is About:


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

Who can apply to Solve's Challenges?

Anyone, anywhere around the world aged 13 and older can submit a solution to Solve's Challenges. You can be an individual, a team, or an organization. You can be an applicant from previous years or already part of our community. If you have a relevant solution, we hope you'll apply.

Solve considers solutions at all stages of development:

  • Idea: We welcome you to submit your solution to participate in the discussion, but please note that solutions that are still only at the concept stage are unlikely to be selected. You have until the submission deadline to prototype and experiment with your idea!
  • Prototype: A venture building and testing its product, service, or business model. Typically described as "Pre-Seed" if For Profit.
  • Pilot: An enterprise deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community. Hybrids and For Profits would typically be in a "Seed" round and generating revenue (whether or not they are cash flow positive).
  • Growth: An enterprise with an established product, service, or business model rolled out, which is poised for further growth in multiple communities or countries. Organizations at this stage should have a clear path to sustainability. For Profits at this stage would be "Seed" or "Series A."
  • Scale: A sustainable enterprise working in several communities or countries and that is looking to scale significantly, focusing on increased efficiency. For Profits in this stage would be "Series A" or "Series B."

The most important thing is that your solution will solve the Challenge posed. And, we’re MIT! So, every solution must include technology -- whether new or existing -- as a key component.

How will my solution be evaluated?

Our judges are experts and leaders from across industries. We’ll announce who the judges are within each challenge.

In the first round, Solve staff will perform an initial screening of all applications for completeness, for coherency, and for whether the solution appropriately addresses the challenge. Then our judges will score the screened applications to determine finalists. Here are the criteria the judges will use to score the applications on the website:

  • Alignment: The solution addresses the challenge that has been set forth using technology.
  • Potential for Impact: The planned implementation of the solution has the potential to impact lives.
  • Scalability: The solution can be grown and scaled to affect the lives of more people.
  • Feasibility: It is feasible to implement the solution, and the team has a plan for the solution to sustain itself financially.
  • Innovative Approach: This is a new technology, a new application of a technology, a new business model, or a new process for solving the challenge

In the second round, each finalist will pitch before the challenge judges and a live audience. The judges will determine which solutions are the most promising. This new Solver class will receive support and partnership from the Solve community.


Deadline: July 01, 2019

Cost/funding for participants:

What will I get if my solution is selected?

There's more than $725,000 of prize funding available for the 2019 Solver Class. If you are selected as a Solver, you’ll receive a $10,000 grant from Solve as well as access to significant additional prize funding.

However, being a Solver is about much more than prize funding.

You'll receive 12 months of personalized support with intentional introductions to members of Solve’s cross-sector community. Through these connections, you'll build the partnerships needed to accelerate your work, validate your impact and business model, and scale your solution.

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