Conrad Challenge Announces Smoke-Free World Category for 2018-19
Update: The registration deadline for the 2018-19 Conrad Challenge has been extended to November 2, 2018. Learn how to register your team of 2-5 students at conradchallenge.org
The special category, sponsored by the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, includes three separate problem options which specifically focus on problems in the United States, Malawi and India
September 21, 2018
HOUSTON – The Conrad Challenge has announced a special category, Smoke-Free World, that is available to participants in the 2018-19 competition. The category, sponsored by the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW), invites teams of high school students to design 21st-century solutions to solve multiple region-specific problems that interfere with the goal of decreasing the use of combustible cigarettes on a global scale. The submission process for the 2018-19 Challenge is now open and teams of 2-5 students between the ages of 13-18 are encouraged to register by visiting www.conradchallenge.org.
“We are proud to partner with the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World for the second consecutive year and empower high school students to develop solutions to some of the most pressing global public health and economic issues,” said Nancy Conrad, founder and chairman of the Conrad Foundation, which produces the competition. “Progress doesn’t always take a straight path, but innovation and entrepreneurship can provide the way toward solutions. We never know what our students will create and we are excited to see this year’s innovations.”
The negative impacts of smoking are well-known, and its global decline will result in many positive health outcomes worldwide. But there are negative consequences for low-income countries that depend on tobacco farming as a thriving industry. FSFW’s mission is to eliminate cigarette smoking worldwide, and to mobilize support for people who are disproportionately burdened by the rapid transition away from combustible tobacco. The Smoke-Free World category asks students to innovate solutions that address one of three key problem areas throughout the world:
- United States―Teams are challenged to help this generation avoid a public health crisis by developing behavioral, social, and technological innovations―physical and online―that prevent vaping among American teens. These efforts will complement efforts to prevent smoking conventional cigarettes among youth.
- Malawi― Ending smoking worldwide will save lives, but a reduced global demand for tobacco could bring devastating consequences to smallholder tobacco farmers, many of whom are economically dependent on tobacco as their livelihood crop. Malawi is one nation where many are vulnerable to this projected sharp decline in the demand for tobacco. The Conrad Challenge is looking for students to develop 21st-century agricultural technology and business solutions to help these smallholder tobacco farmers transition to profitable alternative livelihoods.
- India― Bidi, a hand-rolled cigarette traditionally produced by women and children in their homes across rural India, is the preferred tobacco product of more than 100 million Indian smokers because of its affordability and accessibility. But the nicotine and tar in bidis is more concentrated than in conventional cigarettes, and could thus be more harmful to people who smoke them. Teams are challenged to develop innovative, low-cost business and technology solutions to help reduce bidi consumption, especially among vulnerable populations susceptible to the adverse health effects of both bidi use and production.
“The students who participated in the last Conrad Challenge truly impressed us with their talent, enthusiasm and innovative thinking,” said Dr. Derek Yach, president of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. “Their generation is going to play a key role in solving this global health issue and we look forward to seeing the solutions they develop to not only eliminate the use of cigarettes and other forms of combustible tobacco worldwide, but to also help smallholder tobacco farmers who will be negatively impacted by the declining demand for tobacco.”
While this special category focuses on problems targeted to different countries, any team from any country can create solutions in any of the problem areas. Teams who are already registered in another category of the Conrad Challenge are encouraged to also enter this special category. Teams entering in multiple categories must submit a registration form for each category, but will receive a discounted registration fee for the second category.
In addition to Smoke-Free World, the 2018-19 Conrad Challenge will feature five more categories: Aerospace & Aviation; Cyber-Technology & Security; Energy & Environment; Health & Nutrition; and Transforming Education with Technology, a special category sponsored by SMART Technologies. Interested participants can learn more about each category by visiting this page.
Throughout the competition, experts and judges from business, industry, research and academia worldwide will serve as guides to the teams. The special categories will follow the traditional guidelines of the Conrad Challenge and adhere to the same timeline. In February 2019, five teams in each challenge category will be chosen as finalists and travel to the annual Innovation Summit April 24-27, 2019 hosted at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Entries in the Smoke-Free World category will be judged based on the same Challenge criteria and a Pete Conrad Scholar will be selected within this category. This special category will also have judges from FSFW with the potential for additional prizes and awards.
Interested teams should visit the Registration Form and 2018-2019 Conrad Challenge Overview for more information on this year’s competition. Registration will remain open until Friday, October 19, 2018 at 11:59 PM ET. Expert judges will then select semi-finalist teams in each challenge category who will be invited to develop comprehensive business plans for their innovation.
About The Conrad Foundation
The Conrad Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting collaborative, student-centered, real world-relevant learning that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship. Through its programs, the Foundation unleashes students’ potential to create impactful solutions and a sustainable society for generations to come. For more information, visit www.conradchallenge.org.
About the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Inc.
The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is an independent, non-profit organization with the purpose of improving global health by ending smoking in this generation. The Foundation supports its mission through three core pillars: Health, Science and Technology; the Agriculture Transformation Initiative; and Industry Transformation. The Foundation’s health, science, and technology work complements ongoing tobacco control efforts and focuses on countries where most smokers live, bringing a smoker-oriented agenda to accelerate quitting and switching to reduced-harm products. The Agricultural Transformation Initiative aims to diversify tobacco dependent economies, and the Foundation’s Industry Transformation efforts focus on attaining change within the entire global tobacco industry and nicotine ecosystem.
The Foundation has received a pledge of $80 million annually for 12 years, beginning in 2018 from Philip Morris International (PMI). Under the Foundation’s bylaws and Pledge Agreement, PMI and the tobacco industry, generally, are precluded from having any control or influence over how the Foundation spends its funds or focuses its activities. The Foundation’s acceptance of the annual pledge does not constitute an endorsement by the Foundation of any of the pledgor’s products.
For more information about the Foundation, please visit www.smokefreeworld.org.
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