Innovation Summit Coming to the Kennedy Space Center

Registration is now officially open for the 2015-2016 "Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge" (also known as the Conrad Challenge). Student teams from around the globe will be competing in the tenth annual, multi-phase competition that challenges high school students (between the ages of 13 and 18) to use STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), innovation, and entrepreneurship to develop world-changing solutions for global sustainability.

Participants work together in teams of two to five members to develop solutions in one of four categories: Aerospace & Aviation, Energy & Environment, Cyber Technology & Security, and Health & Nutrition. The culmination of the annual Conrad Challenge – the Innovation Summit – will be held at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.

“As we enter our 10th year of the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge, we continue our belief in supporting the development of innovative thinkers and a future workforce capable of tackling the global challenges of the 21st century,” said Nancy Conrad, chairman of the Conrad Foundation. “I am thrilled to announce our permanent home at the Kennedy Space Center, the site where my late husband Apollo 12 Commander Pete Conrad launched on all four of his missions into space. Thanks to our partners NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for making this our home. I cannot think of a more appropriate place to showcase innovation and entrepreneurialism than America’s multi-user spaceport.” 

The Conrad Challenge champions collaboration and teamwork with student teams working together, looking to their coaches and mentors from government, academic and commercial organizations to assist with their research, planning and prototyping phases.

Teams have the opportunity to progress though three rounds of online submissions in the fall, winter and spring. The 2nd and 3rd rounds are independently judged and selected teams are invited to streamline their concepts. The teams with the highest-scoring submissions will be invited to the experiential Innovation Summit held at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in April 2016 as Conrad Diplomats.

Entry Round – Teams submit their “Investor Pitch,” a brief written abstract and a short video about their concept to explain its viability to solve a real-world problem in one of the Challenge categories. All teams that submit a complete Investor Pitch are invited to advance to the Semi-Final round. The entry round ends on Dec. 1, 2015, when Semi-Finalists are named.

Semi-Final Round/Part 1 – In the Semi-Final Round/Part 1, selected teams are invited to further build-out their concept in an “Innovation Portfolio” via the Project Lead The Way Innovation Portal, which uses an embedded Engineering Design Process Portfolio Scoring Rubric (EDPPSR). Top-scoring teams from this Round are invited to attend the Innovation Summit as Conrad Diplomats and to complete Part 2 of the Semi-Final Round. The deadline for students to submit Part 1 of their Innovation Portfolios is Jan. 19, 2016.

Semi-Final Round/Part 2 – In the Semi-Final Round/Part 2, the top teams are invited to complete additional elements of their Innovation Portfolio for the potential to be named Pete Conrad Scholars at the Innovation Summit. Summit teams are selected and the deadline for students to submit Part 2 of their Innovation portfolios is Feb. 22, 2016.

2016 Innovation Summit – Hosted at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida on April 20-24, 2016, the Innovation Summit showcases the Conrad Diplomat teams, as they present their innovations live to a panel of expert judges. The best teams in each category are selected and teams with the highest scores throughout the competition are named Pete Conrad Scholars at the prestigious closing ceremony.

“The competition engages and challenges students to open the aperture of their minds and to critically examine the world in which they live. We invite our students to use the knowledge they gain in the classroom, and to combine this knowledge with their passion to create a better world,” said Conrad.

Registration for the 2015-2016 Spirit of Innovation Challenge closes at 5:00 p.m. EST on Oct. 19. A nominal registration fee of $95 (U.S.) per team is required to defray administrative costs.

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