The Simon Nehme COVID-19 Design Challenge

A woman, behind blurred wires, looking at a computer

The Centre for Entrepreneurship and Engineering Design (CEED) at the University of Ottawa is looking to our students and the community to develop innovative solutions and prototypes to address some of the post-COVID-19 challenges. Funding for this challenge was made available through a generous donation from Simon Nehme.


Participants, competing in teams or individually, will choose a challenge focused on one of the following 3 themes:

Theme 1: Education

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a crisis in education, as school/university buildings sit empty and many educators struggle to teach lessons, give tests and convene classes online. It’s a crisis, yes. But it’s also an opportunity for a revolution in the education sector.

Theme 2: Autonomous Services

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced social distancing and self-isolation. It has forced us to look at different ways to deliver services from curbside pickups, to home deliveries, to the use of  machines and robots to limit human interaction and the spread of the virus.

Theme 3: Resilient Supply Chain Ecosystems

Global supply chains have long been geared towards keeping quality relatively constant while driving lower costs at every step. This has resulted in significant concentration of risk in terms of geography and vendors for most companies. There is a need for a more distributed, coordinated and trackable supply of components across multiple geographies and vendors while maintaining economies of scale. 

Important Dates

Phase 1 (May 31st –June 30th)

The submission must include the idea proposed, any available designs, funds required, team involved and equipment needed.

Deadline: June 30, 2020

  • Results of this phase will be announced on July 3, 2020.
  • The top 5 submissions of this stage will be provided with a budget to develop the prototype and access to CEED facilities if required.

Register now

Phase 2 (ends August 31st)

The submission will be in the form of a functional prototype with all design files and source code. All submissions will be tested and a winner(s) will be announced on Sept.15th and will receive $20,000. All submissions will be verified and available in the form of open source for the community to use.

Winners will be required to share their work and be available to assist in turning their prototypes into real-world solutions.

*For any questions regarding the challenge, please contact Midia Shikh Hassan.

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