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We partner with the UW community on their innovation journey, providing tools, connections, and acumen to transform ideas into economic and societal impact.

Entrepreneurship/Innovation Competitions

Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship

The Dempsey Startup Competition (Dempsey Startup) is a platform for student-led ventures. The competition provides student teams with mentoring from entrepreneurs and investors, the opportunity to tell their stories to the Seattle startup community, and the visibility they need to get going. More than 5,190 students have participated in this annual new venture competition since its inception in 1998, and the Buerk Center has awarded 183 teams with $1,458, 240 in seed funding awarded.

The Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge (EIC)   mobilizes students to apply their knowledge and ingenuity to solve environmental problems. Since 2009 the Buerk Center has awarded $416K in prototype funding and prize money to teams whose innovations address alternative energy production, clean water, fuel efficiency, etc. This annual challenge is open to students from colleges and universities across the Pacific Northwest.

The Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge (HIC) builds on the strengths of the University of Washington to provide a platform for interdisciplinary student teams to work on new solutions to existing health/healthcare problems, new approaches to helping people live healthier lives, new opportunities for care and treatment, and new product or services to bring to market.

Other competitions

DubHacks is a 24-hour collegiate hackathon held at the University of Washington in Seattle. We bring together undergraduate students of all backgrounds to inspire individuals to develop creative tools to solve society’s biggest issues.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), offered through the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering, is designed with the aim to develop hardware and software which would make putting a robot in a disaster situation instead of a human, not only viable, but the most obvious solution.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers offers an annual Student Design Competition, open to ASME Student Members, while the American Institute of Steel Construction and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) offers an annual Steel Design Student Competition to architecture undergrad and grad students.

Undergrad Research Program

Funding to support undergraduate research is available through opportunities managed by the Undergraduate Research Program, other UW programs and organizations beyond campus. The funding may take a variety of forms, such as:

  • Fellowships, scholarships and awards that provide assistance with tuition and fees
  • Direct grants for research materials
  • Other awards that provide assistance for specific activities like travel to a research site or travel to professional conferences

Learn more on the Undergrad Research Program website.