Stanford Center on Longevity Global Design Challenge 2021 For Students ($17,000 prize)

Application deadline: 10 December 2020

About the challenge

The Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge is now open. It is a global contest open to all university students across the world who want to design products and services which improve well-being across the lifespan. Therefore, this year’s challenge centers on building longevity solutions stimulated by cultural changes during the COVID-19 pandemic that support long, healthy, and happy lives for every one of us.

The theme of the competition is “AFTER THE PANDEMIC: DESIGNING THE NEXT VERSION OF OUR WORLD.” This year, the Center is challenging students to design solutions for this new post-pandemic future, bearing in mind both how these solutions impact people all accross the lifespan and how they can be designed in ways that are accessible to all.

The Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge Details

  • Organizer: Stanford University, Center on Longevity with multiple sponsorships
  • Finalist teams (5-8) announced: January 2021
  • Number of winners: 3
  • Announcement of winners: April 2021


  • Cash prizes: $10,000 (1st place), $5,000 (2nd place), $2,000 (3rd place).
  • Finalists receive mentorship and special coaching from industry specialists and researchers.
  • Winners receive airfare and hotel payment (limited max value) for a student to attend the Finals at Stanford University, where they will unfold their designs to prominent industry, academic, and government leaders.
  • And, finalists attend an entrepreneurial workshop at Stanford and learn how to make a business plan to turn their concept into execution.

Challenge objectives

  1. Produce well-made, practical solutions that optimize welfare across the lifespan
  2. Inspire a new generation of students to become knowledgeable about issues related to long lives
  3. Generate promising designers with a path to affect change in the world


  • The contest is open to teams of 2-5 students enrolled during the 2020-2021 academic year, studying at any recognized university or college worldwide.
  • Every team must have at least one full-time student, and if the team is chosen as a Finalist, only students may present.

What kinds of designs are included?

Solutions for distant or virtual access will be included in the scope of the challenge, but participants are encouraged to think more broadly. The products, programs, or services created by design can be for work, school, healthcare, fitness, personal relations, or any other dimension of life.

Here are some examples of questions arisen by the pandemic that could be addressed: 

  • If remote work is to be more common, are there ways in which we can re-strengthen local community relationships as people spend more time at home?
  • How can more people of any age get access to quality education from anywhere?
  • How can healthcare be administered equitably with inadequate resources?
  • What are the best alternatives for different generations to connect when they live separately?
  • How can we keep our health and fitness without going to the gym?
  • What have we learned from our transformation in the activity about how we can lessen our effect on the environment, and how can we apply those lessons in the future?

Visit A New Map of Life – After the Pandemic, where expert opinions and views about how our social and cultural norms might alter due to the COVID-19 pandemic are reflected. Designers can use these perspectives as a source of inspiration and ideas.

Judging Criteria

  • 40% Impact – will the design improve lifespan outcomes?
  • 30% Novelty – has this idea been seen before? Is there something analogous to it on the market?
  • 20% Feasibility – will the design work? Can it be produced at scale?
  • 10% Affordability – teams must determine their target population for the design. Would the measurable cost of the design make it a viable product for that population?

Challenge timeline

Phase I:  September – December 2020

During this time, teams will learn about the topic and prepare their solution concept. The Challenge organizing team will be accessible during this time for questions and to provide contacts for mentoring when possible. Students may submit solutions during this period, but no judging feedback will be available until January.

Judging Period: December 2020 – January 2021

During this period, the judging jury will select a small number of finalists. Finalists will be published in mid-January.

Phase II: January 2021 – April 2021

During Phase II, finalists will be asked to broadly expand on their idea and to prepare a presentation to be given at the Awards Ceremony at Stanford University in April of 2021. Mentors and experts will be available to help here too.


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