What is the City of STEM Innovation Challenge?

The City of STEM Innovation Challenge asks students to imagine Los Angeles in the year 2050 and create inventive ideas to solve real-world problems facing Los Angeles such as clean energy, sustainability, transportation, and recycling.

What is the timeline?

  • April 17: Video Submissions Opens

  • May 15: Video Submissions Close

  • May 30: Final Judging and Awarding

What are rules and guidelines?

To participate in the Innovation Challenge, all Student Teams must first read and comply with the Official Rules.

Is the Innovation Challenge open to anyone?

The Challenge is only open to all middle school students currently enrolled in a public, private, parochial, or home school located in Los Angeles County for the 2018-2019 school year. Employees, consultants, and contractors of Columbia Memorial Space Center, Sempra Energy, Carrot Group, and City of STEM, and each of their respective parent, subsidiary, and affiliated companies and their immediate families (i.e., parents, spouse, children, siblings, grandparents, step parents, step children, and step siblings) are ineligible.

Can a Student Team be from different schools?

No. All the students on a team need to be enrolled in the same school.

How many students can be on a team?

One (1) to five (5) students per team. 

How does a Student Team get started?

Student Teams are required to register through a representative at least 18 years old to participate in the Challenge. Once the adult representative registers, they can submit the Student Team’s video.

When is the video submission period?

Video Submission opens 9:00am PST on April 17, 2019 and ends at 11:59 pm PST on May 30, 2019.

How does a Student Team submit a video?

An adult representative must submit the Student Team’s video. Before they submit the video, they will need to register and complete the verification forms on the website.

Why does an adult need to represent a Student Team?

In compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, parental or legal guardian consent is needed for any person under the age of 13 years to give personal information to a third party over the internet. In the case of our Challenge, all Student Team’s parent or legal guardian will need to act as the team’s adult representative and grant consent for us to receive their entry, including those over 13 years of age.

How do the Student Teams present their idea?

All Student Teams will need to create a video no more than two (2) minutes about their solution.

What is the Innovation Challenge asking Student Teams to do in the video?

Please review the official rules. Remember, the judges reviewing videos won't necessarily know the research; therefore, it’s important to be as clear as possible. The ideal video should:

  • Clearly explain the problem facing Los Angeles

  • Clearly explain the recommended solution to the problem

  • Clearly explain how the technology works

  • Clearly show how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) was used to develop the solution

  • Clearly explain the impact

What are the guidelines for the video submission?

  • Videos that include student’s first and last names, physical addresses, school names, or any other identifying information will be immediately disqualified from further consideration.

  • The video and the "script" (wording and presentation) must be original.

  • If the video is taken by a third party, you must have secured all rights and clearances to the video from the third party.

  • The video cannot contain any music or any identifiable background images (posters, logo shirts, objects with brand names, identifiable brand products, etc.).

  • Materials, products, and other objects used in the video should have their brand names obscured.

  • The video cannot contain materials displaying copyrighted images, names, likenesses, photographs, or anything else that identifies any person, living or dead, without permission.

  • The video cannot defame, misrepresent, or contain disparaging remarks about people or companies.

  • The video cannot be obscene or offensive, endorse any form of hate or hate group, or be derogatory to any ethnic, racial, gender, religious, professional, or age group.

  • The video cannot depict illegal activity and cannot itself be in violation of any law.

  • The video may not include images of a known celebrity, famous or well-known person, or any image that violates the right of privacy or publicity of any person.

  • The video cannot be more than two (2) minutes in length.

Can Student Teams submit more than one video?

No, Student Teams can only submit one video.

Can a Student Team submit a video from another competition?

Yes, video submissions from prior competitions are eligible as long as it meets the criteria.

How long should the video be?

The video cannot be more than two (2) minutes in length.

Where does the adult representative upload the video?

The adult representative of the Student Team must first create a registered user account at www.youtube.com and agree to all applicable terms at that site. There is no fee or charge to become a registered user of YouTube. YouTube is not a sponsor of this Innovation Challenge, nor does it endorse or administer the Innovation Challenge. Here is how you upload your video on YouTube:

  • Sign in to YouTube. If you don't already have an account, create one by clicking the button in the upper right of the screen.

  • Click the Upload button at the top right of the page.

  • Before you start uploading the video you can chose the video privacy settings. For the purpose of this Innovation Challenge, please choose Unlisted.

  • Select the video you'd like to upload from your computer.

  • As the video is uploading you can edit both the basic information and the advanced settings of the video.

  • Click Done to finish the upload.

  • If you haven’t clicked Publish, your video won’t be viewable by other people. You can always publish your video at a later time in your Video Manager.

  • Copy the link in the browser and paste it in the Video Submission page after you have registered on cityofstem.org/innovation-challenge.

  • When filling out the description of your video, please limit your explanation to six words.

Can submitted videos be updated?

Yes, adult representatives can log into their account and add a new video link to their saved entry prior to the deadline. Once a new link has been provided, the new link will overwrite the old link associated with the adult representative’s account.

How will the video be judged?

The video does NOT need to be "produced" or have high production value. Judges are not evaluating production skills. Entries that follow all of the rules and regulations will be ranked based on the average of scores awarded by an expert panel of judges using the following rubric:

  • Creativity (ingenuity and innovative thinking) (30%)

  • Potential Impact (30%)

  • STEAM Knowledge (20%)

  • Feasibility (20%)

How and when do Student Teams find out if they are semi-finalists?

Once the Video Submission window closes (11:59 pm PST on May 15, 2019), the submissions will be scored. The adult representatives of the six (6) Student Teams with the highest scores will be contacted via a phone call and/or email on or about May 22, 2019 to verify their status as a semi-finalist team.

How many winners will there be?

There will be one (1) Grand Prize Team and two (2) Runner-Up Teams.

Who are the judges?

There will be two separate expert panel of judges. The first-round panel of judges will select the semi-final teams by reviewing the submitted videos and scoring them based on a provided rubric. The second-round panel of judges will select the Grand Prize winning team and two Runner-Up Teams by reviewing the submitted videos and scoring them based on a provided rubric.

What happens at the finals?

The six (6) semi-finalist Student Teams will be invited to present their video to an expert panel of judges on May 15, 2019 (location TBD) and answer any their questions. The judges will award one (1) Grand Prize Student Team and two (2) Runner-Up Student Teams.

What are the prizes?

The Grand Prize is a once-in-a-lifetime VIP innovation trip around the Los Angeles area to visit innovative companies and experience cutting-edge technologies making an impact. The trip will accommodate the Student Team’s schedules. There will be other amazing prizes for the Runner-Up Student Teams.

Still have more questions?

Most questions can be answered by reading the Official Rules. Any additional questions can be emailed to info@cityofstem.org