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SIPA Annual Global Policy Challenge

Applications for the AY24 (2023-2024) Challenge will open September 11, 2023-October 2, 2023.


  • The AY24 Challenge is open to teams of Columbia University students or recent alumni (within the past five years). At least one member on each team must be a current student at SIPA.

To apply, please submit your materials via email to: [email protected]

Timeline & Deadlines

SIPA’s Annual Global Policy Challenge consists of three rounds of increasingly demanding competition.  The rounds correspond approximately with the “concept,” “design” and “prototype and pilot” phases of enterprise development. 

Round One Application due October 2, 2023

Teams should submit an application describing an innovative idea that leverages technology and/or data to advance a public policy objective focused on the themes of: (1) Geopolitical Stability; (2) Democratic Resilience; (3) Climate and Sustainable Development; (4) Inclusive Prosperity and Macroeconomics Stability. Note: one team will be selected to focus one of these areas on Brazil. Other teams may focus on geographies across the globe.

Documents to submit for round one: startup competition

1. Startup Idea

Format: PDF

Naming Convention: TeamName_SIPA_Challenge.pdf

  • 2 page overview:
    • Problem you are solving, data on the problem
    • Initial idea for solving the problem 
    • Potential outcomes and impact
    • How solution is innovative and leveraging tech and/or data
    • Next steps and why you want to join the Challenge and what you will work on (e.g., research, business model development, stakeholder engagement, etc.)
  • Attachment (if applicable) to include photos, charts, and diagrams 
  • Resume of each team member

2. 1-Minute Video/Pitch Describing the Problem You are Solving and Your Innovative Solution

  • Include a hyperlink to your video in your PDF.
  • The video should only contain team members talking.

Judging Criteria

Winners of Round One will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Significance of the problem, both in its severity and those affected.
  • Innovative idea and leverages tech and/or data.
  • Potential impact of the solution.
  • Clear plan for testing your idea.