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Recordings of Q&A Sessions

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will I be required to spend the award money in accordance with a project plan?

No. This is prize money provided with the intention to foster innovation, not a project grant with expected deliverables. However, award winners will be asked to provide updated information on the outcome of their solution later on, and teams with a stronger plan will likely get more points for “readiness”

  • When will the prize money be awarded?

Winners will be notified in advance of the November Summit, and announced publicly at the Summit. Following the announcement, award payments shall be rendered.

Questions about the Phase II Submission

  • Question: How do I fill in the second phase submission form? There is no link.

Answer: The second phase questions are actually a continuation of the original phase I form that you already filled out. When you log into EasyChair, you should go to “Author” for your submission and then to the right of your submission there should be a “View” column with an option to click. Then to the right you should find a clickable option “Update Information” — then scroll down and you will see all of the new information requested.


  • Question: If I work on some questions, but not on all, there is no save button, only the “Update Information” button at the end. I’m putting an “x” on the questions I haven’t filled out yet, but I just wanted to make sure my answers are not considered as submitted so I can keep on editing.

Answer: You can continue to update your submission as many times you need until the phase 2 deadline of August 28. All the updates are saved, and none will be reviewed by the selection committee prior to August 28th.


  • Question: Who do we contact if we have questions while filling out the form?

Answer: write us at ieee-ctu@ieee.org


  • Question: I receive many emails about events with IEEE. Are they related to this Competition Summit?

Answer: No, IEEE has many events that it publicizes. The Summit information related to this competition can be found here: Summit – IEEE Connecting the Unconnected


  • Question: Does my submission have to be in English?

Answer: Yes, but we may have some facility to answer questions in other languages.


  • Question: Can you share examples of what would be considered a “high risk” solution/initiative?

Answer: An example might be if you are creating completely new type of infrastructure (think Elon Musk low earth orbit satellite). Perhaps where the technology is totally new. Or where there is little to know evidence, including of whether people will adopt it. You do not have to make that assessment, our selection committee will. However, if you tell us about risk factors, you also have an opportunity to tell us how you might mitigate them and that is recommended. Other examples given on high risk include things that either aren’t allowed under current regulation or could prove detrimental:

  • We intend to make a signal reach further; don’t have the spectrum rights/not easy to achieve;
  • I’m going to put a 30 m tower, but it is not something that I can easily get a license for and could be a problem;
  • My solution would require a device to be within a certain distance of a user at all times but regulatory agencies do not currently allow this.


  • Questions: What about standards and the questions about new standards?

Answer: It is optional to highlight if you would like the IEEE Standards body to consider the creation of a new standard/s based on your solution. That is not linked to the competition itself and has no bearing on the judging. IEEE does not require you to know whether there is/is not an existing standard in place.  If there is no standard that might currently impact on your solution, and that is potentially problematic, that could be something to indicate in the challenges section.


  • Question: Can the amount on the budget I propose on my concept make me automatically disqualified if it is beyond your expectation?

Answer: We are not expecting to fund a particular project and then expecting to come back and audit it. This is not a grant proposal. This is an award competition. We are looking to acknowledge good ideas and bring attention to it. We care about sustainability and the ability to move it forward, but we are not interested in a budget and it is not requested in the Phase II Submission.  We hope that the prize money can help support your initiative, and we look forward to an update in a year. Prize money cannot exceed $10,000 per award.


  • Question: Does Easy Chair enable references/where do we add them? What about charts?

Answer: It is possible to include hyperlinks in the text. Charts can’t be added in the main section, but you can tell judges to reference a chart in attached supporting information

There is also an option to provide charts or other supporting documentation.


  • Question: On financial sustainability, should we indicate if we are trying to raise funds (from venture capital companies, angel investors, foundations, or any other source)?

Answer: Yes. Any confirmed sources of funding is useful to know. But if not certain, share where the discussions are at. What is official and what is hoped for.


  • Question: How do the KPIs work? Are they all the same?

Answer: All KPIs are weighted equally.


  • Question: in the nontechnical description of the project, do I need to rewrite what I initially proposed?

Answer: No, your original abstract description will still be visible to selection committee. In the additional/new description section, you can provide more detail about how the solution works, why it works, etc.


  • Question: We’ve recently had new partners come on board. Should I highlight what benefits they are going to provide/why that would make it better?

Answer: Yes. You could also add it into the “updated information” section.  


General questions

  • Question: What is the acceptance rate from Phase I?

Answer: We received 257 submissions in Phase I, and of that we have 104 submissions that have been invited to participate in Phase II


  • Question: How many people will move on to Phase III (presentation to judges)?

Answer: That is up to the selection committee. The submissions will be funneled into different categories, and they will make a determination about how many will be considered semi-finalists. It is up to their discretion based on the total number of competitors in each bucket


  • Question: How many final awards do you intend to give, and for how much?

Answer: This is up to our selection committee and based on the total amount available, we do not yet know. It will be more than two. There will be a maximum of 12-14 prizes, but it is not guaranteed that IEEE will give this number of awards. We know that we do have 2 tracks, and 3 subcategories for each track, which the selection committee will evaluate. But it is possible that one category/subcategory does not have sufficient competitors to award a prize. $10,000 is the maximum prize we will give out this year.


  • Question: Do I need to be available in person for the Summit in November in order to present?

Answer: No. The Summit will be an entirely virtual. We do expect prize winners to present their solutions virtually and be recognized


  • Question: If I want to partner with IEEE in any way, is there a way to do it? Are there any other resources? Types of partners? Building relationships would be helpful on this project in order to scale.

Answer: We would like to foster this. IEEE has networks around the world, and hence there is some matchmaking we could do at a regional level as well as within other IEEE global committees (such as a Humanitarian committee). We are also looking at adding mentorship, if we can identify a sufficient number of mentors. Or add on to an IEEE Smart Villages initiative


  • Question: Have we considered network events where participants could speak with others who are working in the same space?

Answer: The Summit will have a program that will allow some type of networking. Our hope is that all competitors will attend. IEEE also has a Connect the Unconnected working group, that we encourage people to join. They are working on a technical roadmap that looks into the future. But we are open to considering other ways that we can involve/engage competitors.