Global Engagement Opportunities

Global Innovation Exchange Funding Opportunities

The Global Innovation Exchange is a global online marketplace for innovations, funding, insights, resources and conversations, allowing the world to better work together to address humanity’s greatest challenges.

Global Innovation Exchange

Who We Are and Why We’re Here

The Exchange was co-created with over 100 international organizations from across government, business, academia and civil society who wanted to help tackle the following challenges together:

  • How do we ensure the best ideas are getting the right resources?
  • How do we ensure that anyone with a good idea can contribute to international development?
  • How do we make it easier to access the resources available?
  • How can we better connect the supply of solutions with the actual demand for them?
  • How can we reduce the duplication of innovations in development?
  • How do we rapidly expand the most successful innovations and bring them around the world?

The Exchange is also designed to support complementary initiatives around the world including the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, innovation challenges, and innovation initiatives with donors, NGOs, governments, and the private sector. We work collaboratively with other platforms and organizations to amplify and connect their work with the world.

To learn more, visit:

Wildland Fire Sensors Challenge

Do you have idea on new air pollution measurement strategies for wildfire events?Wildland Fire Sensors Challenge Image

Six federal agencies have announced a Wildland Fire Sensors Challenge seeking an accurate, lower-cost, and low-maintenance air quality monitoring system that can be used during a wildfire or controlled fire. The data provided by the sensor system will help federal, state, local and tribal agencies protect the health of first responders and communities affected by the smoke. Developers are encouraged to submit a prototype sensor system that measures fine particulate matter (PM2.5), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3) and carbon dioxide (CO2). The system should be capable of rapid deployment and continuous real-time monitoring of highly dynamic air pollution levels during a fire event. Developers should also aim for designs that are easy to use and self-powered; include location data; and wirelessly transmit data to a central data-receiving station.

Written submissions are due by Nov. 22, 2017 and prototypes must be submitted by Jan. 5, 2018. The sensor systems will be evaluated in government specialty labs based on 1) accuracy over a wide range of pollutant levels, 2) system cost, and 3) operation requirements relevant for wildland fire deployment. All developers who submit prototypes will receive direct feedback on laboratory tests and end user review. The Challenge total award pool is $60,000, which may be awarded in total to one winner if all the requirements are met, or divided into several partial awards. Prize winner(s) will be selected following the conclusion of judging in summer 2018.

The sponsors of the Sensors Challenge are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Park Service (NPS). The non-profit organization, Tall Timbers Research Station, is also a partner.

To learn more, visit:


Apply Now, Make for the Planet, April 21-23, Washington, D.C.

If you are a hacker, coder, maker, engineer, designer, entrepreneur, creative thinker or tinkerer, come celebrate Earth Day weekend 2017 by creating solutions to challenging conservation problems in front of a global audience! Multidisciplinary teams will compete in an on-site event called Make for the Planet over three days of the Earth Optimism Summit in Washington, D.C. (April 21-23, 2017). Equipment will be available to create prototypes and models of hardware and/or software solutions to specific conservation problems. Space and registration is limited. Apply to participate no later than March 1, 2017 (11:59 pm EST).

Make for the Planet's

On April 21-23, 2017, the Smithsonian Institution is convening the Earth Optimism Summit, a nonpartisan gathering of global thought leaders, practitioners, pioneering scientists and researchers, environmentalists, artists, civic leaders, industry participants, media, philanthropists, and other conservation-minded citizens. The premise of this conference is a changing of the tone of conservation from pessimism to optimism and to celebrating success in conservation.

In the middle of this conference, and potentially in other cities, Conservation X Labs in partnership with the Smithsonian, will be holding Make for the Planet, a conservation technology competition that is focused on finding creative solutions for the planet. We will bring together hackers, engineers, physical, biological and social scientists, conservationists, designers, artists, creative thinkers, students, and entrepreneurs to rethink solutions to conservation challenges posed by experts, and revolutionize our very models of how we solve conservation's wicked challenges.

Fifteen teams of four will be invited to compete, create, and pitch their innovative solutions and prototypes to a crowd of potential supporters. Teams will also have access to the Earth Optimism Summit--there is no restriction on age, discipline, geography, or occupation. The selection process will be highly competitive, and we encourage potential participants to form multidisciplinary and diverse teams that bring together engineering, conservation science, social sciences, and other disciplines. Teams will have access to problem sets two weeks before the event, access to leading conservationists and innovators during the event, and access to equipment on site to create prototypes and models of hardware and/or software solutions. Teams will compete for cash prizes (currently $5,000). Finally, Conservations X Labs will also be launching a digital makers spaces that weekend to help build a community around these innovations, and carry the momentum forward.

The currency of your ideas matter more than who you are. We encourage multidisciplinary teams since innovation tends to happen at the boundaries. Teams must apply by March 1st to be considered for an invitation. At Conservation X Labs, we believe in the power of ingenuity of humankind. Make for the Planet builds on an aspect of optimism--the range of solutions and technologies that are in diverse fields can be applied to greatly improve the efficacy, speed, cost, scale and sustainability of conservation efforts.

If you are interested in partnering with Conservation X Labs on Make for the Planet, contact Barbara at

Valeo’s annual Innovation Challenge

Screen shot of Valeo Innovation Challenge webpage

Valeo’s annual Innovation Challenge: Valeo is a global automobile supplier and tech company that engineers technologies and systems for the car of the future. Innovation is in Valeo’s DNA, and Valeo is currently breaking ground in self-driving car technologies and technologies that reduce CO2 emissions.

By entering the Valeo Innovation Challenge 2017, students have the opportunity to become leaders in automobile innovation – and get a chance to win

€100,000! This year we are also allowing faculty members to join a team.

Teams of two to five students can submit their ideas in one of two categories: “Technological Innovation” and “New Ways To Use Cars” on the Valeo Innovation Challenge 2017 website. The winner of the “Technological Innovation” category will have the opportunity to join a startup accelerator partnered with Valeo

Finalists will be flown to Paris, France, for the official awards ceremony in October 2017. Valeo will award two first-place prizes. Winners in each category will receive €100,000, while runner-ups will receive a prize of €10,000

The deadline is coming up: all entries must be received by January 31, 2017, at 12 p.m. (noon) Paris time.

D-PrizeGraphic image for the D-PRIZE website "Distribution equals development"

D-Prize wants to award you up to $20,000 to solve the world's global health, energy, education, and corruption challenges. You make up the next generation of social impact leaders and we want to hear your ideas! Check out our competition, select one of the challenges, and then pitch your two-page idea to D-Prize. Up to 15 winners will be awarded seed capital and given support to launch a pilot. Join the competition at

Beat the rush for @thedprize competition and apply now: #getfunded

Jumpstart your social impact career with @thedprize! Apply for the chance to put your idea into practice.

Looking to get your #bopbiz idea funded? Apply for @thedprize, which awards grants to ventures distributing poverty-tech!

Logo to the Spartan Think TankSpartan Think Tank

Innovate, Inspire, Compete: Spartan Think Tank

Spartan Think Tank is a fun and interactive program to engage principal investigator-graduate student teams in patenting MSU’s innovative research. The program is designed for graduate students to represent each technology with the support of their PI in a business pitch style competition. Teams enter the competition by completing an invention disclosure form found on our website. All teams get an immediate prize for entering the competition, all technologies will be reviewed for patentability, and cash prizes of $1,000 are given to the best three presentations.

Spartan Think Tank is an excellent opportunity to advance research and build national and international recognition. Patents increase and diversify funding opportunities, and increase the success rate of grant applications such as SBIR, STTR, DARPA, and ARPA-E from the NIH, NSF, DOE, and DOD. Patents also open up funding opportunities within the MSU Innovation Center.

U.S. Aid - Development Innovation Ventures

Development Innovation Ventures

Apply for the Lab's Development Innovation Ventures (DIV). DIV looks for compelling new development solutions in a year-round competition, rigorously tests them, and helps scale those that are proven successful to reach millions of beneficiaries around the world.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Schoenl Family Undergraduate Grants for Dire Needs Overseas

Photo of Laura Bailey (2014) speaking to some residents of Dar es Salaam, TanzaniaThe purpose of the Schoenl Family Undergraduate Grant for Dire Needs Overseas Undergraduate is to identify and fund the most outstanding projects which will serve dire human needs in countries other than the U.S. The grants must be used within a 12-month period to make an impact that will help alleviate dire human needs. The amount awarded depends on available funds and project scope. Typical grant funding is $1,200 for a Level I award and $1,800 for a Level II award.

For deadlines, applications and other information about the grants, visit the MSU Honors College website