Cheng Wu Innovation Challenge

The Cheng Wu Innovation Challenge supports students who are learning to develop technological innovations which are unconstrained by any immediate consideration of the commercial potential of the innovations. These may be new applications of existing technologies or the creation and/or use of new technologies.

The competition is open to students from any discipline as well as technological innovations developed in any course. Each team, however, must have at least one student completing a major or a minor within the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. The goal of the competition is to encourage university-level intellectual property generation, and the presented concepts will be evaluated using the criteria outlined below. Email Assistant Dean for Innovation, Entrepreneurship, & Commercialization Travis J. Brown (trabrown@indiana.edu) for additional information.


A total of $15,000 will be awarded, typically $10,000 to the first-place team and $5,000 to the second-place team, but judges will have the discretion to award the funds based on the quality of the technological innovations presented.

2017-18 Schedule

  • November 27, 4pm-5pm (Informatics East 150): Information Session
  • January 10, 4pm-5pm Shoemaker Innovation Center (Luddy Hall 2150): Information Session
  • February 2, 5pm: Applications Due
  • February 16, 5pm: Finalists Notified
  • April 4, 5pm (trabrown@indiana.edu): Finalist Slides Due
  • April 11, 3pm-6pm (Luddy Hall Auditorium): Final Presentations and Winner Selection


  • All students who are competing must be enrolled full-time at Indiana University Bloomington.
  • Each team must feature at least one student completing a major or a minor within the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering.
  • All intellectual property submitted for the purpose of the competition must belong to the students who are submitting it.
  • By participating in this competition, students agree to receive the funding through their IU Bursar Account and use the funding received to support the further development of the technological innovation presented in the competition.

Judging Criteria

The judges will award 20 points for each of the following categories:

  • Novel: Did the team convince you that the technological innovation conceptualized is unique relative to existing solutions?
  • Nonobvious: Did you find the team’s technological innovation to be unapparent?
  • Technological Feasibility: Did the team convincingly demonstrate that its technological innovation can be implemented and that it has an understanding of the technologies required?
  • User-centered: Did the team demonstrate that it had validated its understanding of the target end user of the technological innovation?
  • Implementable: Did the team demonstrate a clear development plan for ensuring that the technological innovation addresses the problem identified as well as how funds received through the competition will be put to effective use?

Application Requirements

The following information is required for your application:

  • Student Information: Names, university IDs, email addresses, majors, minors, and backgrounds. Your background should explain how your skills and experience support the successful development of your technological innovation.
  • Technological Innovation Title: A name for your technological innovation.
  • Short Description of Technological Innovation: Less than 20 words summarizing your concept.
  • Long Description of Technological Innovation: A detailed summary of your technological innovation, why you consider it to be novel innovative, and the technology involved.
  • Explanation of Problem: An explanation of why you are motivated to innovate in the chosen domain, as well as why the judges should believe that you will continue developing your concept following the competition.
  • Explanation of Solution: An explanation of how you endeavored to address the problem you described through the development of your technological innovation and why it is an effective solution for addressing the problem.
  • Detailed Discussion of Technology Involved: An in-depth discussion of the technology involved in the concept to demonstrate a sufficient understanding of the technology required to develop a working prototype.
  • Current Stage of Development (Including Team Roles): An explanation of what you have developed at this point, including the role each team member has played in the development.
  • Plan for Further Development to Address Problem: A plan outlining the steps to develop a working prototype of your innovation or to further develop a prototype to successfully serve your intended end user.
  • Specific Use of Funds: A discussion of how the funds provided through the competition would support the further development of your technological innovation.