Applications Open Now through January 11th, 2019
Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2018

$300,000 in Prizes • Calling Students and Recent Grads

How can your innovative technology solution solve the world’s most pressing social and environmental problems?


The Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2018 is a worldwide search for early stage technology-enabled solutions and services that can enable economic development and/or benefit society and/or the environment. This challenge is open to individuals and teams of students or recent alumni from any college or university.

Here’s a brief description of how you can participate in the challenge. Click here for the full participant guide.

Register to Participate

You can participate as an individual or as part of a team. Teams may have a maximum of 5 members. Individuals, or at least half of a team’s members, must be currently enrolled as students or have received a degree (undergraduate or graduate) after March 1, 2016. If you are registering as part of a team, your team leader will need to register first and then you can register using your email address. For detailed eligibility requirements, please visit our Rules page. Once you are ready, click here to register.

Prepare your Submission

There will be two distinct submission rounds.

Round one opens October 9, 2017 at 9:00 AM PST and closes January 12, 2018 at 5:00 PM PST. To prepare your submission you will need to complete an online questionnaire which will cover the following topics:

  • Defining the problem you are solving
  • Explaining the solution, including:
      • Its benefits and how it uses digitization/IoT
      • How it is unique and will be taken to market
      • Risks associated with the solution
  • Optional, but recommended, a 90 second pitch video of team member(s) explaining the solution
  • Additional supporting documentation:
      • Contact information for faculty advisor
      • Proof of eligibility (student or degree status)

Once you are ready, click here to register (or log in) and prepare your submission.

Submit Your Solution

Once you’ve prepared and double-checked all your materials, have your team leader log onto the challenge website here. You must upload all materials and submit them before January 12, 2018 at 5 pm PT. Remember, you must click submit before the deadline in order for your entry to be considered.

Please check your entry for completeness and if you include a video, ensure it does not exceed 90 seconds. Also, do not use unlicensed images, music, or video content in your submission.

Judges evaluate submissions and are looking for ideas that are especially innovative and which clearly articulate their use of technology, feasibility and scale of impact.

On February 19, 2018, semifinalists will be invited via email to submit a more detailed proposal.

The round two application window opens February 19, 2018 at 9 AM PST and closes March 30, 2018 at 5 PM PST. Finalists will be announced on April 30, 2018.

In addition to the information provided in round one, the online questionnaire for semifinalists will include the following sections:

  • Required video pitch: 90 second video pitching the solution (can use previous or different video; will be posted for public voting if chosen as finalist)
  • Problem and solution summary explanation (up to 250 words, will be posted for public voting if chosen as finalist)
  • Detailed technical explanation of solution
  • Addressable market
  • Dependencies
  • Financial model
  • Work plan
  • Sustainability plan
  • About the team

Be sure that you or your team leader logs in to the challenge website here before the March 30, 2018 at 5 PM PST deadline to double check all of the materials and click submit in order to be considered for the finalist round.

If your expanded application is not submitted by the deadline, it will not be considered. Be sure to check that your content meets the submission guidelines, which can be found here, or your submission will be disqualified. Check for completeness, appropriate content, video length, and unlicensed images, music, or video.

Vote and Promote

Share your participation in the Cisco Global Problem Solvers Challenge with your supporters and invite them to vote for their favorite entries. Voting for the People’s Choice Award takes place from April 30 - May 18, 2018.

Celebrate the Winners

Once the submission period for semifinalists closes on March 30, 2018, our judges will begin evaluating the submissions, looking for solutions that are especially innovative and which clearly articulate their use of technology, feasibility and scale of impact. Winners (including the People’s Choice Award) will be announced on May 21, 2018!