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.

Impact Assessment Fellows helps authors estimate the impact their proposal will have on greenhouse has emissions. Some proposals also include a model run.

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

The Judges' and Popular Choice Winners will be invited to MIT to present their proposal, enter the Climate CoLab Winners Program and be eligible for the $10,000 Grand Prize. All award winners will receive wide recognition and visibility by the MIT Climate CoLab. See last year's conference.

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.

Continue to Why these contests?



Proposals from past contests

Improve Building Energy Performance: Green Job Skills Training
2014 Grand Prize winner, 2014 Buildings contest Judges' Choice winner
by Danielle Dahan

Whose Home is wasting more energy, yours or your neighbours?
2013 Grand Prize winner, 2013 Reducing consumption Judges' Choice winner
by Dr Geoffrey J. Hay

A Carbon Tax in Pro-Growth Fiscal Reform
2014 Judges' Choice winner US Carbon Price contest, Honorable Mention
by Adele Morris

Democratic Finance: Energy Of the People, By the People, For the People
2014 Judges' and Popular Choice winner U.S. Government contest, Honorable Mention
by Job Taminiau, Gordon Schweitzer, Kathleen Saul & Sardar Mohazzam

A collaborative solutions communication platform
2014 Judges' Choice winner, Honorable Mention
by Anne-Marie Soulsby


Sample model run