COVID-19 Challenge

KAUST Community COVID-19 Innovation Challenge

For all of us here at KAUST, the Coronavirus is changing many things in the ways we live and work. In both the short and even long-term, the virus is reshaping society as we know it – with our community rapidly searching for new ways to stay safe and healthy. This crisis presents an opportunity to develop new approaches, products, services or ways of operating.

The Challenge

We are launching the COVID-19 Innovation Challenge to tap into the massive brainpower that is KAUST – meaning everyone in the KAUST Community. We want to hear from you about your experience so far: what’s working well, what isn’t working and what’s missing?

We want to know

How can we rapidly develop new and innovative solutions to challenges in education, social connectivity, community management and other challenge areas?

Challenge areas


Education challenges and opportunities during coronavirus

Discover Challenge

Social Connectivity

Staying connected while isolated during coronavirus

Discover Challenge

Community Management

Community challenges and opportunities during crises

Discover Challenge

Open Challenge

What other challenges have you identified or ideas do you have?

Discover Challenge

Who can participate?

The Challenges are open to everyone in the KAUST community – primary school students, parents, staff, higher ed students, faculty, service providers and more. We hope that you will connect (virtually!) with your classmates, teachers, friends and family to come up with new and innovative ideas.

How does it work?

Applications open: March 26, 2020

Applications close: April 4, 2020 (Applications are now closed)

Stay tuned for webinars and virtual brainstorming sessions!

Webinar recording from March 30, 2020 is available here.

What happens next?

We don’t know whether this will elicit tens or hundreds of ideas, but we are keen to find out. We have the infrastructure in place to meet digitally, brainstorm virtually, and to quickly assess and support ideas as they emerge.

The KAUST Entrepreneurship Center and Technology Transfer teams will be reviewing and assessing the submissions. We have funding opportunities available and can fast-track access to the TAQADAM Accelerator for selected ideas.

What are the judging criteria?

When crafting your proposal, you don’t have to follow a template but you have to be able to clearly answer the specific questions our judges will be considering. In addition to answering questions, we also recommend you upload a short video (up to 90 seconds) describing your idea and how it will meet the Challenge. Our judges will evaluate your project on three key criteria: 1) Innovative solution, 2) Community connection and impact, and 3) Feasibility. Find out more about the judging criteria here.