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Contest phases

The Climate CoLab seeks to harness collective intelligence through online contests. Anyone in the world can contribute to Climate CoLab contests, and experts play an important role, too.

Contests involve five main phases:

Proposal creation

In contests, members of the Climate CoLab community create proposals. Proposals:

  • describe future actions to be taken,
  • outline how those actions can be accomplished,
  • explain why the actions are desirable, 
  • quantify the impact the actions will have.

 Some proposals also include a model run.

Proposals can be created by individual community members or by teams. Some proposals describe actions the proposal team themselves would like to carry out if they had the needed resources.  In other cases, proposals describe actions that other people or organizations (such as governments or businesses) could take.

See example proposals

See contest rules

Community members can support proposals they like, add comments, and contribute to proposals created by others. 

People with expertise in areas related to climate change, serving as Climate CoLab Advisors and Fellows, provide overall guidance for the contests. 

Advisors are experienced professionals who decide on a contest's focus, recruit judges, provide input on proposals, and help to bring the bring good ideas from the contests to the attention of potential implementers.

Fellows are students and concerned citizens who oversee contest activity on a daily basis

Semi-Finalist selection

For each contest, the Advisors recruit expert Judges to evaluate entries. After the submittal deadline, the Judges select finalists based on:

  • novelty
  • feasibility
  • impact
  • presentation

Proposal revisions

The Semi-Finalists will have an opportunity to refine their proposals prior to the second round of judging, where Finalists are selected.  They can also add new team members (called Contributors) to their proposals.


In this phase, members of the Climate CoLab community vote on the Finalists.
The top vote-getters receive Popular Choice Awards.

The Judges also select Judges' Choice winners.

Presentation to potential implementers

Contest winners present their proposals, in person or virtually, as a part of the MIT Solve conference on October 5 & 6, 2015.  Some contests will hold separate additional meetings where winners will also present.

The primary target audience at these meetings will be potential implementers: people in a position to act on the best ideas, including policymakers, business executives and investors, officials at non-profits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and citizen groups.