Global Innovation Challenge

a team of students receives feedback on their project from a mentor.

Participate in UB's annual Global Innovation Challenge to design effective ways to communicate science in a complex world.

Project description

The 2020 Global Innovation Challenge (January 21-25, 2020) will focus on how we communicate complex issues. For example, how should we share new genetic and genomic research and information, reveal the hidden dangers of pollutants in our food, homes, and neighborhoods, and ethically persuade people to heed warnings of imminent threats, such as epidemics and extreme weather events?

Communicating these complex issues, while separating fact from fiction, is challenging. Cultural differences, literacy levels, political motivations, and new media platforms complicate this further. The public is uncertain whom and what to believe. We need innovative, novel ideas from all UB students.

The annual Global Innovation Challenge is a competition and course open to all undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and nontraditional students.

In Spring 2020, for this one week, participants will engage in team-building and creative problem-solving activities with international experts and UB faculty. The winning team receives mentorship and funds to implement their ideas.

The course aligns with UB Curriculum pathways. Undergraduate students can register for 1 credit (END 418) or 3 credits (END 357). Similarly, graduate students can register for 1 credit (END 518) or 3 credits (END 557). All students registering for 3 credits will complete additional activities in a distance-learning format during the spring semester. Alternatively, students who do not enroll in the course can register for a fee.  

Learn more about the course and register for the event

Project outcome

Students will work in teams, each team will be encouraged to focus their proposed strategies toward a manageable scale—a project that the team can carry out over the next two semesters. After a week of creative problem solving, team-building, and collaboration with a multidisciplinary group of students, faculty and international guests, teams will compete for chance to win funding to implement their ideas. More information is available on the website.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment One week to one semester, depending on level of engagement
Start time January
Level of collaboration Small group project (2-3 students)
Benefits Academic credit; Funding for the winning team
Who is eligible All undergraduate, graduate, and PhD students from all disciplines
Support Funding is available after the completion of the preparation badge. See below.

Core partners

Project mentors

Korydon Smith

Professor and Chair

Dept. of Architecture

127 Hayes Hall

Phone: (716) 829-5908


Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah

Assistant Professor

Dept. of Urban and Regional Planning

226 Hayes Hall

Phone: (716) 829-5930



To engage with this project, you will work through a series of Project-Based Collaboration digital badges to guide your experience. 

To get started, contact the project mentor using the contact information above to discuss availability and after you’ve received approval, you can start the Project Preparation Digital Badge. Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor

Preparation guidance

Once you have registered for the Project Preparation Digital Badge, you will receive further instructions related to the activities you will need to complete. In addition, you will also complete the following preparation activities for this particular project: