Problem pitch competition information

Our relationship with technology

Identify an important problem linked to human-computer interactions. Develop a deep understanding of this problem and you may be able to win support for the research and development necessary to prototype a solution to the problem.

It must be the kind of problem that involves humans engaging with technology, which could include hardware or software. Problems within this topic could involve different disciplines, like engineering, design and psychology.

If you can persuade a panel of judges that you have identified an important problem for which an invention should be created, and that you thoroughly understand the problem, you can win a financial award to help you and your team create a solution to the problem.

First place winners receive $3000, with an additional $3000 for demonstrated progress. Second place winners receive $2000, with an additional $2000 for demonstrated progress. A funding pool of $10,000 is available.

JOIN the Problem Pitch Competition for First-Year Students. 

How to apply

  1. Fill out an application - NOW OPEN.
    1. Wait to hear back from our team about whether you have been selected to move into the next round.  

Important dates

Event Date
Application opens Monday, January 6, 2020
Research Workshop  Monday, January 27, 2020 (from 4:30 p.m.-6:20 p.m. in AL 124)
Application closes Sunday, February 2, 2020
Top 10 Teams are Selected Thursday, February 6, 2020
1-on-1 Mentoring Session February 7 -14, 2020 (scheduled with each team for 1 hour)
Optional Additional 1-on-1 Sessions February 18-28, 2020 (up to individual teams, but Problem Lab staff are available)
Pitch Deck Deadline Sunday, March 1, 2020 
Finalists Notified Friday, March 6, 2020
Practice Pitches Monday, March 16, 2020 (V1 Multi-Purpose room from 4 - 7 p.m.)
Optional Additional Practice Pitches March 17 and March 18 (up to individual teams, but Problem Lab staff are available in MC 2057)
First-Year Problem Pitch Finals Thursday, March 19, 2020 (V1 lobby from 7 - 8:30 p.m.)

Students that that are selected as one of the top 10 teams are encouraged to reach out to other resources available to them on-campus and in Residence. If you would like to speak with one of the Entrepreneurs in Residence, you can find their contact information on the Concept Website here.


The Pitch

The six teams with the strongest analysis of a problem for which an invention should be created will be asked to pitch on March 19 2020. Your five-minute problem pitch will present your understanding of the problem. The two teams with the most persuasive and documented analysis will win.

If you have any questions please email Jessie Snyder at



This competition is open to teams of 1 to 4 people. We encourage your team to bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds and areas of study. The majority of the team participants must be first-year students living in a University of Waterloo Residence. All team members must be a current full-time, or part-time University of Waterloo first-year students.

Not a first year student but still interested in participating? Check out the campus wide Problem Pitch Competition here.