Youth Innovation Challenge Statement

Harness the creativity of youth—students and entrepreneurs—to propose feasible and scalable technology, science and business ideas that can advance green growth in North America. Green growth is defined as economic growth that is environmentally sustainable. Please present your proposals addressing the following shared North American environmental and sustainability objectives:

  • Reducing air emissions
  • Reducing and diverting food waste
  • Managing and preventing the spread of invasive species
  • Managing the impact of marine litter and reducing its sources
  • Mitigating ocean acidification

Challenge Steps and Participation Guidelines

Please read these guidelines carefully. By participating in the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) Youth Innovation Challenge you attest that you understand the following Challenge Steps and agree to abide by the following rules and requirements:

CEC Youth Innovation Challenge Steps

Idea Phase (21 February–30 April 2017)

Idea Submission: Participants create a user account and profile on the ideation platform and share their ideas, which can be commented and voted on by other registered participants.

Workshop Your Ideas: The individual or team of submitter(s) will be responsible for the refinement of their idea, however, all participants are invited to workshop the ideas together.

Idea Evaluation: The CEC’s Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) evaluates the ideas against the four weighted criteria. A limited number of ideas that best meet Challenge requirements will be approved to move to the Proposal Phase.

Proposal Phase (5 May–28 June 2017)

Join a Team and Collaborate: Semifinalists will create teams and collaborate with the crowd to build out the top 6-9 ideas into full proposals on the ideation platform. Semifinalists will be responsible for submitting their completed proposals.

Proposal Submission: Semifinalists submit their full proposals on the ideation platform for consideration by the judges.

Winners Announced: A panel of judges made up of government officials from the three North American countries will select the top three proposals based on pre-established criteria (see below).

Proposal Presentation: The submitter or team lead for each of the three winning proposals will be invited to the annual CEC Council Session to present their idea to the top environmental officials of Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Innovation Launch: The individual or teams that submitted the three winning proposals will receive C$5,000 each in seed funding and technical advice from experts at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation to get their idea off the ground.

Rules and Requirements

Eligibility

  • Participants in the Youth Innovation Challenge must be 18 to 26 years old on the date they upload their idea to the ideation platform. The idea may be uploaded by an individual or team of submitters.
  • Participants must be residents of Canada, Mexico or the United States.
  • Participants must demonstrate that their idea responds to one or several of the sustainability challenges in North America listed above through innovative green growth science, technology or business solutions.
  • Participants must demonstrate the innovativeness of their approach or solution (i.e., what is novel about the idea that sets it apart from existing solutions?)
  • By submitting an idea, participants confirm that they are the sole author or have obtained written permission from all team members who contributed to developing the idea before uploading it to the ideation platform.
  • Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) staff, Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) members, CEC and JPAC immediate family members, and Youth Innovation Challenge judges or immediate family members of judges (siblings, children, grandchildren) are not eligible to enter.

How to Participate

Participants must create a user account and profile on the IdeaScale platform at cec.ideascale.com. All user accounts must include:

  • Email address Preferred language (French, Spanish or English)

Once registered on the ideation platform, participants can click the “Submit New Idea” button. All idea submissions must include:

  • Preferred language (French, Spanish or English)
  • Challenge Phase (Idea or Proposal Phase)
  • Idea Title
  • Idea Description
  • City
  • Country of residence
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Age bracket (between 18 and 26 years old)
  • Acceptance of the Challenge steps and participation guidelines

If a similar idea already exists, participants will be invited to choose from existing ideas and comment or vote on them. Otherwise, the participants must fill in all of the required idea fields and press “Submit”.

The CEC JPAC will select the 6-9 ideas that best meet Challenge requirements and these Semifinalists will move to the Proposal Phase. All participants are invited to work with the Semifinalists by asking questions and posting comments to help build out full proposals. However, only the Semifinalists will be responsible for submitting a full proposal of the selected top 6-9 ideas for consideration by the panel of judges.

Deadlines

  • Ideas: All eligible ideas must be posted to the ideation platform by midnight on Sunday, 30 April 2017 (Eastern Time). Ideas posted after this time will not be considered eligible.
  • Proposals: All fully-completed proposals must be posted to the ideation platform by midnight on Monday, 22 May 2017 (Eastern Time). Proposals that are incomplete or posted after this time will not be considered eligible.
  • Top Proposal Selection: The panel of judges will select the top three proposals on or around Wednesday, 7 June 2017.

The Three Top Proposal Winners and Prizes

  • The top three proposals (one per North American country) will be selected by a panel of judges from the federal governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States.
  • The top three proposals will be selected based on the criteria described below.
  • The top three proposals will be determined on or around Wednesday, 7 June 2017. The individual or team lead for each top proposal will be notified by either email or telephone.
  • The individual or team lead for the top three proposals will be invited to present their proposal to North America’s top environmental officials at the CEC Council Session, scheduled for 27–28 June 2017, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
  • Transportation and lodging, airport transfer expenses, and a daily stipend for food will be provided. The traveler is responsible for obtaining any necessary travel documents such as a valid passport and travel visa.
  • The invitation will be extended to the individual or team lead (one person) for each of the top three proposals. The team lead may only transfer the invitation to another person within the team of submitters. The submitter or submission team members are the only people eligible to travel to the CEC Council Session, to be held in June 2017.
  • The individual or team lead for each top proposal (or their proxy from the submission team) must acknowledge their agreement to participate in the CEC Council Session no later than one week following notification that their proposal was selected, in order to remain eligible to receive transportation and lodging, airport transfer expenses, and a daily stipend for food.
  • The top three proposals will receive broad recognition and exposure through wide multi-platform distribution, including on the CEC website and other social media sites.

The individual or team lead (on behalf of their team) for the top three proposals will receive C$5,000 each in seed funding to get their initiative off the ground. This funding may be used to develop a prototype, travel to pitch meetings, cover the cost of design and layout for fundraising or other promotional materials, or other expenses approved in advance by the CEC. This money may not be used to purchase equipment. A signing authority will need to be identified for each winning individual or team submission and a contract signed in order for the C$5,000 to be disbursed. The C$5,000 will be disbursed in one payment, with a midterm reporting requirement six months after disbursement and a concluding report requirement one year after disbursement. Reports will be sent to a representative at the CEC Secretariat.

Judging

  • Ideas and subsequent proposals must respond to one or several of the stated sustainability challenges in North America and present innovative green growth science, technology or business solutions for:
    • Reducing air emissions
    • Reducing and diverting food waste
    • Managing and preventing the spread of invasive species
    • Managing the impact of marine litter and reducing its sources
    • Mitigating ocean acidification
  • The idea and proposal approach or solution must demonstrate innovativeness (i.e. what is novel about this idea that sets it apart from existing solutions?)
  • Ideas and proposals will be judged using the following criteria: innovation (30%), impact (30%), feasibility (20%) and scalability/replicability (20%).
  • The idea and proposal must have been developed by youth aged 18-26 in Canada, Mexico or the United States.
  • Any idea or subsequent proposal containing vulgarity, nudity, violence, defamatory language or any other subject matter deemed by the CEC to be inappropriate will be disqualified and given no further consideration.
  • Participants agree that the decisions of the panel of judges are final and binding.

Idea and Proposal Use and Copyright

  • The submitter(s) will retain their ideas and proposals after submission, but submission grants the CEC unlimited rights to share the ideas and proposals.
  • The CEC reserves the right to use all submitted ideas and proposals, and the names of the team members that submit the top three proposals in any CEC-related promotional or advertising venture without notification or compensation to the participant.
  • The submitters agree to the possibility of broad multi-platform distribution of their work, including via Internet, video and print.
  • The submitters will receive credit where possible.

Official Languages

  • The official languages of the Youth Innovation Challenge are English, French and Spanish—participants may submit their ideas and proposals in any of these languages.

Liability

  • By entering the Youth Innovation Challenge, each participant acknowledges and agrees that the CEC, its staff and the panel of judges: (i) shall have no liability of any kind whatsoever with respect to this Challenge and/or the prizes including travel to the CEC Council Session and seed funding, (ii) makes no warranty, guarantee or representation of any kind concerning the prizes, (iii) disclaims any implied warranty, and (iv) is not liable for injury, loss or damage of any kind resulting from the participant’s acceptance of these guidelines and legal requirements, or use of the prizes or otherwise from such participation in this Challenge. The CEC, its staff and the panel of judges are not responsible for typographical or other errors in the offer or administration of this Challenge, including, but not limited to, errors in advertising, the official Challenge rules, the selection and announcement of winners, or the distribution of the prizes. The CEC, its staff and the panel of judges are not responsible for any problems or technical malfunctions of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems or servers, computer software problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, and assume no liability for damage to participant’s or any person’s computer resulting from participation in the Challenge. Participants agree to release and hold harmless the CEC, its staff and the panel of judges, from and against any claim or cause of action, including, but not limited to, personal injury, death, or damage to or loss of property arising from participation in the Challenge or receipt or use or misuse of any prize.

Negotiation

  • Disputes resulting from the participation in this Challenge, or in the interpretation, validity, or enforceability of rules pertaining to this Challenge, shall be resolved by good-faith negotiation between the participant and the CEC. Participants understand and agree that the CEC is an international organization that enjoys privileges and immunities.

Other

  • Any idea or proposal submitted by a participant does not reflect the views of the CEC or the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States, nor do these Parties endorse any representations made in the ideas and proposals. Further, participants agree not to use the name or logos of any of the aforementioned Parties.
  • Participants must follow all instructions or risk their ideas and proposals not being accepted.
  • The CEC is not responsible for the cost of developing the ideas or proposals.
  • The CEC will not return copies of the ideas or proposals. Participants are responsible for keeping a master copy of the ideas and proposals in a safe place.
  • The CEC is not responsible for lost, late, misrouted, misappropriated, or damaged ideas or proposals.
  • Participants must inform the CEC if their contact information changes at any time between submitting their ideas and proposals and the announcement of the Challenge winners.
  • The CEC retains the right to cancel the Challenge for any reason whatsoever, and without advance notice to the participants.
  • The CEC retains the right to change the rules of this Challenge or any or all of the elements of the Challenge prizes for any reason whatsoever, by simple notification of such change on the Challenge ideation platform, at http://cec.ideascale.com/

About the CEC

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation facilitates collaboration and public participation to foster conservation, protection and enhancement of the North American environment for the benefit of present and future generations, in the context of increasing economic, trade, and social links among Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Find out more at: www.cec.org.

CEC initiatives are undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada, through the Federal Department of Environment; the Government of the United States of America, through the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Government of the United States of Mexico, through the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales.