NUS launches Resilience and Growth Innovation Challenge

06 May 2020 | General News
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115 ground-up projects to shape a better post-COVID future 

The National University of Singapore (NUS) is calling for proposals to champion 115 innovative projects, in a nod to the 115th anniversary of the University’s founding. The Innovation Challenge is a ground-up initiative for recent graduates, especially the graduating class of 2020. The University is setting aside $6 million to support their ideas and proposals. 

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NUS graduates are invited to submit bold ideas to show the way forward and help shape a better future for humankind, as people begin to imagine a post-COVID-19 world. Proposals can be submitted under the following three categories:

1.    Make Our People Better
How can we improve the quality of life for our people? This includes improving home-based learning, strengthening mental well-being, and finding ways to maximise human potential.

Evaluation Panel

  • Co-Chair: Ms Melissa Kwee, CEO, National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre
  • Co-Chair: Professor Simon Chesterman, Dean, NUS Faculty of Law 

2.    Make Our Society Better
How can we make our society more cohesive and purposeful? This includes fostering togetherness, reducing inequality, improving happiness, and giving society greater meaning and purpose.

Evaluation Panel

  • Co-Chair: Ms Tan Li San, CEO Designate, National Council of Social Service
  • Co-Chair: Professor Robbie Goh, Dean, NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

3.    Make the World Better
How can we make the world better? This includes mitigating the effects of climate change, enhancing food security, and ensuring post-COVID-19 safety. We will prioritise projects that address challenges that are of great relevance to Singapore and the world.

Evaluation Panel

  • Co-Chair: Professor Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Rector, Tembusu College at NUS
  • Co-Chair: Professor Phoon Kok Kwang, NUS Senior Vice Provost (Academic Affairs)

NUS is especially looking for interdisciplinary approaches that embrace multiple perspectives, including those from arts and culture, health, social work, sports, and technology.

The Innovation Challenge is part of the NUS Resilience and Growth (R&G) Initiative recently announced by the University. Other pillars of the Initiative include:

  1. Creating the NUS Students Solidarity Fund to help needy students
  2. Creating 1,000 full-time positions and traineeships, and 
  3. Offering Continuing Education and Training courses for the graduating cohort and deferring the payment of tuition fees for master’s degree courses

“The NUS R&G Initiative supports our students during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are not only helping students from needy backgrounds but also providing development opportunities to the graduating cohort in this difficult time. The R&G Innovation Challenge is an excellent opportunity for our graduates to contribute to the greater social good by making our people, our society and the world better, with support from NUS,” said NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye. 

Professor Ho Teck Hua, NUS Senior Deputy President and Provost, said, “NUS graduates who conceptualise Innovation Challenge projects that show promise will have the opportunity to work with our partners to turn their ideas into reality, and have a lasting impact on society. We look forward to receiving high-quality proposals and welcome interdisciplinary teams with graduates from different disciplines, to develop holistic solutions.” 

Eligibility and Funding

The NUS R&G Innovation Challenge is open to all NUS graduates from the classes of 2020, 2019 and 2018. Teams can consist of three to five people. Each project that is selected will be funded up to $50,000 for 6 months. The grant includes a stipend of up to $1,200 per month per project member for the duration of the project. 

Submission Guidelines

Interested teams should submit a three-page proposal to InnovChallenge@nus.edu.sg, addressing the following questions:

1.  Category 

  • How does this project benefit our people, our society, or the world? Participating teams should submit proposals to only one category

2.  Target Community 

  • Which community will benefit the most from this project? Projects that aim to improve the lives of the less privileged and/or ageing populations will be given priority.

3.  Value Proposition

  • How does this project add value to our people, our society, or the world?
  • How does your project differ from current approaches?

4.  Partners and Translation

  • Who are some potential partners to translate your ideas into outcomes?
  • How would the ideas be translated into valuable outcomes?

5.  Outcomes and Impact

  • What are some potential application areas for this project? 
  • What are the expected outcomes and likely impact of this project?

6.  Budget

  • What is the proposed budget in terms of manpower and other expenses?

The window for submissions to the Innovation Challenge is open from 1 June to 31 December 2020.

Evaluation Criteria

Every proposal will be evaluated by a panel of experts appointed for each category. The proposal will be judged based on its innovativeness and likely impact on the targeted community. The panels will convene regularly to select projects.

For more information on the NUS R&G Innovation Challenge, please visit: nus.edu/InnovChallenge