The Conrad Challenge is an annual innovation challenge designed for students within the ages of 13 – 18 years to apply Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to solve real-world problems around them. Founded by Nancy Conrad, wife of late NASA astronaut Charles ‘Pete’ Conrad to continue his legacy of innovation and entrepreneurship. The challenge three stages, the opening round, the semifinals, and the finals.
The challenge debuted in Nigeria in 2018. Teams competed through the different stages to which saw them make elevator pitch videos about their ideas to creating business plans. By December, ten teams were announced as finalists and they would compete at the National Innovation Summit in Lagos from January 17th – 19th.
The summit took place over the course of three days. The first day was for the arrival of the student teams and their coaches in Lagos. The teams visited the General Electric Garage in Victoria Island. There, they saw first-hand how 3D printing worked, exchanged ideas with the experts at the garage and got invaluable feedback on their ideas. It was a very interactive session that the students enjoyed.
Each team had five minutes on stage to pitch their idea to a panel of judges, then answer further questions the judges may have concerning their innovation.
The first award of the year went to TopFaith International School in recognition of the outstanding participation of their students.
Next, was the award for the second runner up which went to Team Green of Pegasus Schools, Eket (IDONGESIT BILLY, OLAOLUWAPO AJAYI, TAOFIQ TAOFIQ, GIDEON MONDAY, AISHAT TAOFIQ) for their idea of recycling waste into electricity.
The first runner up went Team Five Ions of Greensprings Schools (ISAAC IBIDUN, ATONBARA DIETE-KOKI, DABERECHI ONYEACHOLEM, ILERIOLUWA OLAGBAIYE, OLAOLUWA OLUGBENLE) for their idea of converting heat energy from exhaust gases into electricity.
The overall winners were the aptly named Team Innovation of Pegasus Schools Eket (MARY ESSIEN, KENECHUKWU OKAFOR, ANNE ESSIEN) for their idea of using a mobile app to fight digital piracy by providing a means for content creators and publishers to validate digital content. The team will be representing Nigeria at the International Innovation summit in April 2019 at the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida.
To learn more about the finalists, winners, and their innovative projects, visit the website.
In addition to the invaluable experience at the summit, the session on Rapid prototyping at General Electric Garage for all students and finalists, the overall winning team also won an all-expenses paid trip to represent Nigeria at the International Finals at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Also, each student member of a finalist team received $60,000 dollars in undergraduate scholarships to Clarkson University, New York. Totalling close to 2 million dollars in Scholarship.
Visit here to learn more about the challenge and how your school can get involved in the next challenge coming up September 2019.
Techpoint Build 2020 is holding virtually in August 2020. You can register now to attend for free.
Subscribe to the Techpoint Africa weekly newsletter here.
Nigerian startups raised $55.4m in Q1 2020; over 99% of which came from foreign sources. Find out more when you download the full report.