Rules and judging criteria


The IEEE Presidents’ Change the World Competition is a contest designed to recognize students who identify a real-world problem, apply engineering, science, computing and leadership skills to solve it, and, thereby, benefit humanity or their community.

The IEEE Presidents’ Change the World Competition is being held in conjunction with IEEE’s 125th Anniversary celebration.


The contest is sponsored by IEEE, 445 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, New Jersey USA  08854.


Participants may compete as an individual or as a team.

Individuals: Individuals who compete must be IEEE Student Members [who are at least 18 years of age].

Teams: Teams must include an IEEE Student Member in a lead role, but may include non-members. [All team members must be at least 18 years of age.]  Teammates do not need to be from the same country or region. However, an entry may be submitted to only one region for judging.

Individuals or team members must be IEEE student members at the time their entry is submitted.

The students must play the primary role in the problem-solving; however, they may receive technical and financial assistance from others.

Please note that the intent and spirit of the competition is for the students, not others, to solve a problem. Persons acting as team mentors or in a mentorship role must limit the level of support provided to general guidance and must not contribute in any other form that might be considered original authorship, or in any way that may enable claims of rights or ownership to the submitted entries. In no case will work-on-behalf of teams or individuals be allowed.

Agreement to Official Rules

By participating in this contest, participants agree to abide by the terms and conditions as established by IEEE.  IEEE reserves the right to qualify all submissions and to reject any submissions that do not meet the requirements for participation as established by IEEE.


Entries must be submitted using the form housed on the competition Web site at  Requirements include the following:

  • Project title
  • Problem description
  • Solution
  • Impact on humanity or a community
  • Primary leader with name and contact information, namely Full name, college/university, address, phone number and email address. Other major student contributors and their contributions;
  • Other contributors

Incomplete entries are void and will not be eligible to win.

IEEE assumes no responsibility for computer system, hardware, software or program malfunctions or other errors, failures, delayed computer transactions or network connections that are human or technical in nature, or for damaged, lost, late, illegible or misdirected entries; technical, hardware, software, electronic or telephone failures of any kind; lost or unavailable network connections; fraudulent, incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmissions whether caused by IEEE, participants, or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in this contest; or by any technical or human error that may occur in the processing of submissions or downloading, that may limit, delay or prevent a participant’s ability to participate in the contest.

IEEE reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel or suspend this contest or terminate the contest and award a prize from entries received up to time of termination or suspension should virus, bugs or other causes beyond IEEE’s control, unauthorized human intervention, malfunction, computer problems, phone line or network hardware or software malfunction, which, in the sole opinion of IEEE corrupt, compromise or materially affect the administration, fairness, security or proper play of the contest or proper submission of entries.  IEEE is not liable for any loss, injury or damage caused, whether directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from downloading data or otherwise participating in this contest.

Selection criteria

The winners shall be selected based on the results achieved and their impact on humanity, or, on a community.

Sustainability, reusability, transportability of the results to other parts of the world, entrepreneurship, originality, creativity and leadership shall be important but secondary evaluation factors.

Selection of the winners

Entries will be accepted between 1 September 2008 and 28 Feb 2009 through the competition website,, where participants will register and submit their entries.

Contestants are encouraged to register in advance of submitting their entries.

Submissions will be evaluated and ranked by IEEE Regional Student Activities Chairs by 30 March 2009.

A global competition judging committee (appointed by the 2009 IEEE President) will review the entry rankings and select the top 15 finalist projects which best meet the competition criteria by 20 April 2009.

These 15 projects will be posted on the competition website and there will be a campaign to encourage participative voting for a People’s Choice prize.

The 2008, 2009 and 2010 IEEE presidents will evaluate the 15 projects and select the prize winners by 10 May 2009.

In the event that similar entries are submitted by multiple participants, IEEE reserves the right to select the prize winners based on the criteria listed above.

The odds of winning are not capable of being calculated due to the uncertainty over the number and quality of the entries received.

Notification of Prize Winners

Prize winners will be notified by phone and/or email within 10 days of the selection date.  If any winner does not acknowledge receipt of a prize within seven days after being notified that he or she is a winner, another winner will be chosen using the same procedure specified above.

Requirements of Prize Winners

IEEE may, within its sole discretion, require each prize winner to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility and liability and publicity release, in which each winner consents to the use of his or her name, age, hometown and photo by IEEE for advertising and promotional purposes, without any additional compensation, wherever lawful, as a precondition to award of a prize.  If any prize winner fails to sign and return the requested affidavit of eligibility and liability/public release as requested by IEEE, that winner may be disqualified, and his or her prize will thereafter be awarded to an alternate winner from the remaining valid entries using the criteria specified above.  IEEE may also require each winner to assign all rights in any submission that is chosen as a winner to IEEE as a precondition to award of a prize.  If any prize winner fails to assign all rights in the selected submission to IEEE, the winner may be disqualified, and his or her prize will thereafter be awarded to an alternate winner from the remaining valid entries using the criteria specified above.


Leaders of teams or individuals whose entries are chosen for the top three prizes  will be invited to receive their prizes* on 25 June at the 2009 Honors Ceremony in Los Angeles CA, USA. Roundtrip coach airline tickets for each winner from winner’s preferred major metropolitan airport to Los Angeles and a two night stay at the Hyatt Regency Century Plazain Los Angeles (confirmation pending) will be provided by the IEEE for winners, if individuals, or for one representative of each winning team. Costs of meals, transportation to and from each winner’s airport of origin and between the airport in Los Angeles and the hotel, ground transportation between the hotel and the event, gratuities, and all other expenses not specified as part of the prize package are the sole responsibility of each winner.  Travel documents including passports and visas, if required, are the responsibility of the winners.

All remaining prizes will be presented by a local IEEE representative. (IEEE Region Director or a designee such as the IEEE Student Activities Chair, a Section Chair or a Student Branch Counselor.) Prizes to winning teams will be split equally among the team’s registered student members*.  Winners are encouraged but not required to use the funds for an IEEE related purpose, such as furthering their project or traveling to IEEE conferences.

IEEE Student Humanitarian Supreme US$10,000
IEEE Distinguished Student Humanitarian  5,000
IEEE Exceptional Student Humanitarian  2,500
Up to five Outstanding Student Humanitarian prizes  1,000
People’s Choice Prize   (online vote) 500

*As permitted by law.

Taxes, if any, are the sole responsibility of each prize winner.

Use of entries

No entries will be returned.  All entries become the property of IEEE.  By entering, all participants consent to the use by IEEE of all the information provided in the entries for marketing or sales promotion purposes without any attribution, identification, right of review or compensation.  All entrants agree to release and hold harmless IEEE and its officers, directors, employees and agents from and against any claim or cause of action arising out of participation in the contest.

Disputes Concerning the Contest

These rules shall be construed and governed by the laws of the State of New Jersey.  Participants hereby consent to the personal jurisdiction in and venue of the courts located in the State of New Jersey for the adjudication of any and all claims arising out of or relating to the subject matter of this contest, and the interpretation or enforcement of the official rules thereof.

Funding source

IEEE Life Members Fund, as administered by the IEEE Foundation

Contest Results and Official Rules

To obtain the names of any winners and/or a copy of these Official Rules, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Presidents’ Contest Rules, Corporate Strategy and Communications, IEEE, 445 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854.

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