How do I get 100 hours of free application development?

If you’re accepted and complete the requirements, we will build you a minimum viable product (MVP)

What happens if I get accepted?
We help you size up a project that’s small enough to get done, but big enough to have something meaningful show for it.

  • Some ideas are at the proof-of-concept stage, some are further along and need a minimum viable product, and others are ready to beta. We will help you build what’s appropriate.
  • You present your project to your peers.
What happens if I don’t get accepted?
Do I have to be a programmer or fancy entrepreneur to enter? Nope.

It’s easy to develop something, but it’s hard to get a good idea. UChicago and Chicago Medicine students, faculty, staff alumni, and Polsky members are all eligible to apply.

What kinds of ideas are you looking for?
We are most interested in building applications which will benefit the University community. If your app would be useful for research, teaching, learning, or student life and engagement, we’ll be more likely to work on it with you.

Take a look at some of our past projects to see the types of ideas that we accept.

Does it have to specific to UCHICAGO?
No. We’re looking for ideas of all kinds, but if you’ve got a cool idea for campus or the community, submit it!
What do I need to prepare to enter?
It depends on the idea. The application form will ask you to explain the problem/opportunity and how your idea uniquely addresses it. If you have access to research or data on the topic, be sure to include that information. You can send in sketches, but they’re not required.

See our submission form for details. 

How much work does it take to enter?
If you have detailed knowledge of the problem and the research to support your solution, your application can take as little thirty minutes.
What could I win?
You could win 100 hours of free programming, free professional scrutiny, and more!
Who’s sponsoring? Is this a new thing?
IT Services and Polsky Exchange.  It’s our eighth year of the program!
Who owns what in the process?
According to the guidelines, if IT Services codes the software, the code will be owned by the University.  If the entrants want to use this code following the UChicago App Challenge, then the code can be transferred under different scenarios, including the following:

  • if the code is only to be used as part of an ongoing University project for an app that will be offered from the University’s iTunes account, it will be transferred internally (for subsequent external distribution of the code, contact the Polsky Center).
  • if the app will be owned by you and is not part of a larger University project involving other University-owned intellectual property, then the code will be licensed to you without charge.
  • if the app is part of a larger University project involving other University-owned intellectual property (e.g., a patent or other software), then ownership of the code may be licensed to you under terms consistent with the licensing of the other intellectual property.

For further details, contact the Polsky Center.

How big can my team be?
Up to four people can be on a team.  Every person on your team must meet the entry requirements.
Can I submit more than one entry?
Yes. You also can enter both the App Challenge and Cognitive Computing Challenge simultaneously.
Can I be on more than one team?
You can be on multiple teams when you apply, but if more than one of your team entries is chosen, you’ll need to choose one team to work with.


Can I enter and win both the New Venture Challenge and UChicago App Challenge?
Yes.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?
If I’m developing a tool already, with my own resources and programmers, can I enter the UChicago App Challenge?
Yes, under certain the following conditions:

  1. Your app must not be published in an app store until after the NVC.
  2. You will still need to submit an entry for the UChicago App Challenge. Under the question “Do you already have resources for your idea?” choose “I’m already working on this app….”.  We’ll follow up with you afterwards to talk about the tool in greater detail.
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