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37 International Finalist Teams Will Compete in Conrad Challenge’s First-Ever Virtual Innovation Summit

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Challenge has innovated to take the Summit online for the first time, bringing together teams from nine nations

Houston, Texas – May 7, 2020 – The Conrad Challenge, a year-long annual event that inspires students to combine innovation and entrepreneurship to address some of the most pressing global challenges, recently announced that its Innovation Summit, the culminating event for finalist teams, will be held completely online for the first time. The 2020 Virtual Innovation Summit will take place from May 27-29 and will include 37 international finalist teams–who emerged from more than 600 teams that entered the Challenge in August 2019–from nine different countries. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the global landscape and prevented the Conrad Challenge from hosting its typical in-person Innovation Summit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, the Challenge is putting its core values into action by quickly innovating to find a solution. The Virtual Innovation Summit will be hosted on Hopin, a live online events platform, and will give each finalist team the opportunity to interact with a panel of expert judges who have reviewed their video power pitch, the culminating presentation of the team’s nine months of work. The judges will decide the award winners in each Challenge category. 

The event will also feature a variety of sessions available to all finalist teams, coaches, judges and partners, which are designed to give participants a full experience and reflect the social and learning opportunities provided at the annual in-person event. These include special opportunities with the Alumni Leadership Council (ALC), Cosmic Chats with event sponsors and the highly-anticipated award ceremony. In addition, the summit will feature breakout sessions for each category to host Q&A sessions with all of the finalist teams and the expert panel of judges. Each of these will be supported by Hopin’s features that enable attendees to learn, interact and connect with people from anywhere in the world.

“Our students–the Conrad Innovators–are global game-changers whose creativity is shaping the world of tomorrow. The COVID-19 pandemic is a significant world-wide threat that we are all facing together.  Because we cannot travel or be in the same physical space, the Conrad Challenge is following our own mission of innovation to solve this challenge. We are pivoting from our live event at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to our first-ever Virtual Innovation Summit. Our 2019-2020 finalists have worked so hard and developed an extraordinary portfolio of innovations,” said Nancy Conrad, founding chairman of the Conrad Foundation. “I am excited to meet the finalists and to spend time with them at our Virtual Innovation Summit at the end of May.”

Each Conrad Challenge team consists of 2-5 students between the ages of 13-18 who have innovated a new product in one of six categories: Aerospace & Aviation; Cyber-Technology & Security; Energy & Environment; Health & Nutrition; Transforming Education through Technology; and Smoke-Free World (Eliminating & Reducing Teen Vaping and Repurposed Farmlands & Tobacco Crops). 

The winning team in each category will be recognized as Pete Conrad Scholars, the competition’s top award named in honor of Apollo 12 astronaut Charles “Pete” Conrad and his three-decade pursuit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Teams will also compete for “Power Pitch” awards, presented to the teams who best deliver their pitch in the virtual setting to the judges, their peers and industry professionals. In addition to the awards presented by the Conrad Foundation, a number of special awards will also be distributed.

The 37 finalist teams in the 2019-20 Conrad Challenge hail from nine different countries: Australia, Canada, India, Nigeria, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Vietnam and the United States. Students and teachers from 70+ countries and all 50 U.S. states have participated in the Challenge over its 14-year history. 

To follow the main sessions of the Virtual Innovation Summit live, visit the Conrad Challenge on YouTube. In addition, there will be B-roll footage distributed following the summit via Dropbox. To learn more about the competition’s history and impact, visit www.conradchallenge.org

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

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