How to Apply to a Challenge

Do you have an innovative solution to a global problem? Apply to an open Solve challenge today!

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How to Get Started

Below are helpful tips to get you started on your application! You can also watch this video for an overview of the application process or watch this video for a recent challenge application clinic. 

1. Log in or create an account at

  • Enter the required information to submit a solution to one of our challenges. Some questions on the “Select A Challenge” and “Solution Overview” pages are required in order to submit. 

2. You can save your application in two ways:

  • Click CONTINUE to save your work and move to the next page, if you would like to keep working on your application.
  • Click SAVE DRAFT & EXIT to save your work and exit the application for now, if you prefer to keep working later.

3. You can submit your application by clicking SUBMIT SOLUTION.

  • You must complete the required questions on the Solution Overview page in order to submit.
  • Submit as soon as you are ready. We recommend submitting as soon as you have completed the required questions. You may log back in to edit your application, including adding your answers to the optional questions, at any time before the deadline.
  • You must submit before the deadline. If you do not submit before the deadline, your application will not be considered. 
  • You must click SUBMIT SOLUTION before the deadline: If you save your application but you do not click SUBMIT SOLUTION before the deadline, your application will not be considered.
  • Clicking SUBMIT SOLUTION will publish your application to Solve’s website, and anyone who visits the website will be able to view your answers.

4. You can edit your submitted application by logging back in and clicking EDIT YOUR SOLUTION in your Dashboard Home.

  • You can edit your application as often as you would like before the deadline.

  • Each time you edit, be sure to save your application so you don’t lose your changes.

  • Click SAVE SOLUTION & EXIT to save your changes to your published application.

Best Practices 

  • Once you decide you would like to apply to a Solve Challenge, begin your application as soon as you can. In post-application surveys, most applicants reported that they spent several hours completing the application. Be sure to budget enough time to submit your application before the deadline.
  • Keep in mind that all answers you submit are visible to the public, unless they are denoted as “Not Publicly Viewable: for internal use only.” Please only share information in your application that you are comfortable publicly sharing.
  • Only some of the questions in the application are required, and they all appear in the Solution Overview section. You must answer all the required questions in order to submit your application. But we strongly encourage you to complete the optional questions too – applicants who answer all or most of the optional questions are more likely to be selected.
  • Your solution is not saved OR submitted automatically! Follow the directions below to make sure you don’t lose your work. If you have an unstable internet connection, you may wish to use this list of application questions to work offline, then copy-paste your answers into the application.

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. You can add a maximum of five users to your solution as team members. 

The person you identify should be the CEO or Executive Director of the solution organization. (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 and interview with judges in July over Zoom. If your solution is selected as a Solver, this person will be expected to attend Solve Challenge Finals in New York City in September, and to be the lead participant in the Solver program.

To select your Team Lead, click the “Make Leader” button above the user’s photo.

Support with your Application 

Even if you don’t already have a business and impact plan for your solution, that’s okay. Take a look at the help text of the application questions for explanations of concepts, examples of successful answers, and even tools to help you craft your own answers. Not all application questions have help text, but many do!

Solve staff will be available to answer questions about the Challenges and the application throughout the application period via Solve's Help Desk at Some challenges host application clinics and/or informational webinars for applicants. You can get more information and register on Solve’s Events page.

You may also consider taking Solve’s online MITx course Business and Impact Planning for Social Enterprises. The course introduces core concepts on business models and impact planning, and is designed to help you write strong responses to Solve's application and to applications for other challenges or competitions like Solve. The course is self-paced and takes about 25 hours to complete.

Photo: Solver Abhilasha Purwar pitches her solution Blue Sky Analytics to the judges in Solve's Healthy Cities Challenge. (Joe Jenkins / MIT Solve)

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