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“Before becoming a Solver we were a little bit of everything… Solve forced us to refine and focus our message to people who had never heard of us before. Our fundraising is 100 times more successful and our team has changed the way we think dramatically: Why are we doing this work? Who is this work for? Will what I am doing today make the world better tomorrow?” says Matt Parker of PODD, a 2020 Health Security & Pandemics Solver.
There is more than $1.3 million in funding available for the next selected class of tech-based social entrepreneurs, or “Solver teams”. But being a Solver is about much more than just prize funding. Solver teams join a supportive community of peers, experts, and funders—gaining access to mentorship, strategic business advice, and resources at MIT.
This year, we’re looking for solutions to these four Global Challenges:
Care Economy: How can we make giving and receiving care accessible, affordable, and valued for all?
Climate: Ecosystems & Housing: How might communities protect high-carbon ecosystems and create low-carbon housing for all?
Equitable Health Systems: How can we build affordable, accessible, and high-quality health systems that serve everyone, everywhere?
Re-Engaging Learners: How might we bridge learning gaps for the most underserved young people so they can thrive and succeed?
And additionally, our annual Indigenous Communities Fellowship for Indigenous innovators in the US:
1. 2022 Indigenous Communities Fellowship: How can Native innovators in the US build upon traditional knowledge and technology to meet the social, environmental, and economic goals of their communities?
In recognition of racial disparities among US communities, this year we will also be selecting 1-2 solutions led by Black and Brown Innovators in each of our 2022 Global Challenges. The Black and Brown Innovator program aims to intentionally deploy culturally responsive resources, support, and network community within this year’s challenges. Teams that are selected will receive funding and partnership support, and will be featured at our annual US Summit.
What We’re Looking For
Solve seeks innovative, human-centered, tech-based solutions to our Global Challenges. Your solution will be judged based on the following criteria: Alignment with the Challenge, Potential for Impact, Feasibility, Innovative Approach, Inclusive Human-Centered Design, Scalability, Partnership Potential, and Technical Feasibility. Judging will take place over multiple rounds beginning in April 2022.
Before you begin an application, be sure to review the Become a Solver page on our website for details on the types of solutions we accept and the criteria that judges use to score your application.
MIT Solve is open to anyone in the world, with the exception of United States embargoed countries: US law prevents MIT Solve from accepting applications from people who are ordinarily resident in Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Korea, or Crimea, and to parties blocked by the US Treasury Department.
Solutions Must Be Tech-Based
All eligible solutions must use some form of technology to address the 2022 Global Challenges. We define technology broadly as the application of science and evidence-based knowledge to the practical aims of human life. For MIT Solve and our mission to drive innovation to solve world challenges, it’s important that your solution is using technology to solve a problem facing your community and/or the world and seeks to benefit people and the planet. We welcome solutions that are using apps, SMS technology, software, AI, robots, drones, blockchain, and virtual reality, and what you might commonly think of technology in this modern era! We also welcome solutions that are leveraging traditional, ancestral and natural technologies, and knowledge systems. That could be using centuries-old irrigation or building techniques, plant-based solutions that can reduce the effects of climate change, biodegradable sanitary pads, and so much more.
Applications Must Be in English
We encourage applicants from all around the world to apply. However, applications must be written in English. And if you’re selected as a Finalist, you’ll need to pitch your solution in English.
Types of Eligible Solutions
We will consider solutions at all stages of development. Here’s what that means:
Concept: An idea for building a product, service, or business model that is being explored for implementation
Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model, but which is not yet serving anyone
Pilot: An organization testing a product, service, or business model with a small number of users
Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model that is rolled out in one or more communities
Scale: A sustainable enterprise working in several communities or countries that is focused on increased efficiency
By March 31: Submit an Application
Each team must submit an application that includes the required information by 12pm ET on March 31st. If you’ve applied in the past, take note – this is an earlier deadline than usual, so don’t delay submitting! Please visit our How To Apply to Challenges page for more information on completing the application.
Support with your Application
Even if you don’t already have a business and impact plan for your solution, that’s okay -- the application will take you through core questions with resources to help. Look for links to resources in the questions’ help text.
You may also consider taking Solve’s online MITx course Business and Impact Planning for Social Enterprises. The course is designed to introduce core business model and impact planning concepts and to help you write strong responses to some of the more complex questions in this application. The course is self-paced. We estimate that it will take about 25 hours to complete the material.
Solve staff will be available to answer questions about the Challenges and the application at several online application clinics during the application period. You can get more information and register on Solve’s Events page.
How to Add Team Members to Your Application
Adding Team Members to your application allows multiple users to edit your application and enables you to collaborate on your responses. To add Team Members, open your Dashboard and go to “Edit Your Solution.” At the bottom of your application, click the “Add a team member” button.
If a Team Member already has a Solve user account, search for them here and send them an invitation to join your application team. If they do not have an account, type in their email address and send them an invitation to create an account and join your application as a Team Member.
Once you have added your Team Members, choose your Team Lead. The Team Lead will be the only user who can add or remove users from the application. The Team Lead will be the person invited to pitch the solution at Solve Challenge Finals and, if selected as a Solver, will be the lead participant in the Solver program.
The person you identify should be the CEO or Executive Director of the solution organization (or, in some special cases, the Team Lead may be another member of the executive team). They should be the person who is responsible for the strategic direction of the solution. If your solution is selected as a Finalist, this person will be expected to pitch the solution at Solve Challenge Finals, and if selected as a Solver, they will be the lead participant in the Solver program.
To select your Team Lead, click the “Make Leader” button above the user’s photo.
If you haven’t submitted a solution by the March 31 deadline, we can’t consider your application at all. Submit your solution today!
September 18-20, 2022: Solve Challenge Finals
If your solution is selected as a Solver team, your solution Team Lead must be available to attend Solve Challenge Finals in New York City in September 2022. Travel assistance is available to those who are selected to pitch based on need. Please note that MIT Solve follows MIT, Massachusetts State, and United States federal COVID-19 guidelines and policies pertaining to all in-person gatherings and will be in touch should we need to modify our plans.