ISU Innovation Prize


One weekend, three bold challenges, an abundance of rewards

Friday, September 15 – Saturday, September 16, 2023

Register for the 2023 Event

The ISU Innovation Prize is an incentive competition at Iowa State University on the weekend of September 15 – September 16, 2023.  The Iowa State Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and Start Something – Agriculture Program are co-hosting the event.  It will be held at the ISU Research Park Core Facility.

The competition theme for the seventh annual event is Innovation at Iowa State.  There will be three focus areas for participants to solve: AgTech, EdTech, and Global Impact.

  • AgTech:  How do we increase the productivity of the global agricultural system with a less negative impact on land, energy, water, and Mother Earth?

    • Possible focus: Food Security; Food Waste; Water Quality & Availability; Keep Life Below Sea Habitable for Humankind; Combat Deforestation & Life on Land; Sustainable Agricultural; Renewable Energy in Wind, Solar, Hydropower; Energy Crops; Carbon Sequestration; New Public Policy; and Private Investment Options.
  • EdTech: How do we design & reinvent learning for a better experience (quality & value) in an age of accelerating technology?

    • Possible focus:  Nontraditional Classroom Experiences & Models; Breakthrough Experiential Learning; Latest Brain Science & Learning Technologies; Innovative Funding Formulas; Offline & Online Learning–New Technologies, Analytics, & Robotics; When and When Not to use Assessments; Great Transformations–Shrinking Demographics in Local Schools; Life-Long Learning.
  • Global Impact: How do we improve the quality of life and continue to help solve urgent issues all around the globe?

    • Note: This category is meant to be broader and to challenge yourself to think big!  Possible focuses:  Fighting Poverty & Reducing Inequalities Within Developing Countries; Ensure Healthy Lives & Well-Being; Achieve Gender Equality & Empower All Women and Girls; Ensuring Affordable & Clean Energy to Transform Lives, Economics & the Planet; Overcome Urban Cities Congestion & Shortage of Adequate Housing & Declining  Infrastructure; Sustain Life on Land & Combat Deforestation.
Register for the 2023 Event

What to Expect?

During the event, participants will form in small groups, based on their interests and abilities, then choose one of the three Bold Challenges.  Why small groups?  With little to lose, entrepreneurial small teams are able to brainstorm and consistently outperform large groups when it comes to innovation.  Incentive prizes are perfectly designed to harness this energy!



5:00 PM – 5:30 PM | Kick-off

5:30 PM – 7:30 PM | Creative Session

7:30 PM – 8:00 PM | Team Formation

8 PM  | Team Kick-off + Active Work (building closes at 11:00 PM)


9:00 AM – 10:00 AM | Group Instructions

10:00 AM- 12:00 PM | Group Work Time

12:00 PM | Boxed Lunches

12:00 PM – 12: 30 PM | How to Pitch Like a Pro

12:30 PM – 2:30 PM | Pitch Refinement + Active Work (mentors available for virtual help)

2:30 PM – 3:00 PM  | Instructions for Final Presentations

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM | Final Presentations

4:00 PM | Judges & Awards

Register for the 2023 Event



  • BEST AgTech: $2,500
  • BEST EdTech: $2,500
  • BEST Global Impact: $2,500
Register for the 2023 Event

Please contact:  Megan Graettinger, ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship at