Support The World's Smartest Network

Help the New York Academy of Sciences bring late-breaking scientific information about the COVID-19 pandemic to global audiences. Please make a tax-deductible gift today.

This site uses cookies.
Learn more.


This website uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the website to operate while others offer you a better browsing experience. You give us your permission to use cookies, by continuing to use our website after you have received the cookie notification. To find out more about cookies on this website and how to change your cookie settings, see our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

We encourage you to learn more about cookies on our site in our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

Top 5 Reasons to Participate in a Challenge

Published August 28, 2018

What is a Challenge?

Find out what to expect when you sign up to participate in a challenge.

Through our open innovation challenges, the Academy harnesses the creative problem-solving power of our worldwide community of students, scientists, and engineers to find impactful solutions to critical issues facing our planet. And we’ve already seen many successes from participating teams over the past few years. Based on those successes, we’ve compiled five of the top reasons everyone should be a part of these exciting opportunities.

1. Help Solve Real-World Problems

Our challenges are not just hypothetical thought experiments, they are based on real-world problems facing governments, businesses, and communities around the globe. Whether it's combating pollution, preventing food waste, or designing an environmentally-sustainable buildings, you’ll have the chance to develop a solution with your teams that could improve the lives of people around the world!

2. Meet Team Members from Around the Globe

Using a special online platform, you'll be able to collaborate with team members from all over the world via the web. You’ll work together to figure out when you’ll “meet” online, and you’ll make friends and connections with people from different cultures and communities who share a passion for STEM.

3. Get Expert Guidance From Professionals Working in STEM

Every team is paired with an expert advisor who works in STEM. Your team advisor will be able to help answer questions and improve upon your solution as you iterate your ideas. They can also tell you what it’s like to actually work in STEM, giving you a clearer idea of what STEM careers are out there.

4. Learn More about the Innovation Process

While big ideas can sometimes come in a flash, the best ideas take time to develop into successful products and solutions. In our challenges, you’ll be guided through a step-by-step process from research to development to delivering your solution. Not only will this process be useful during the challenge, but it’s one that you can re-apply in the classroom and in your career.

5. Become a Young Member of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Most challenge winners are awarded a cash prize, and some challenges even include an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City for the winning team. But even if you and your team don’t receive the grand prize, the great news is that when you’re accepted into the program, you’ll also be welcomed into the New York Academy of Sciences’ global community as a Young Member. This Membership will provide you with ongoing opportunities to build your skills and network as you pursue your career.

Are you ready to take on a new innovation challenge and build your STEM skills? Learn more about The Junior Academy and apply today.