DifferenceMaker Francis College of Engineering Prototyping Competition

This event has ended. Please check back in fall 2024. In the meantime, please apply to the spring $50,000 Idea Challenge!

This program is supported by the Francis College of Engineering and the DifferenceMaker program.

Do you have a great idea? Are you wondering if it can be turned into a real product that customers would buy and use? If so, then this is for you: a competition to push you to think about an idea and bring it to life.

What is the difference between this competition and other innovation and entrepreneurship competitions on campus? This competition is more than just generating an idea; it is about generating a product - whether it is a mechanical/electrical device, a software application, or an integrated system. After all, ideas are great but we want you to be creative and build it, sketch it, etc., with the resources you have!

    • Kick-off Event: September 20, 5-6:30 p.m.
    • Application Registration Opens online: September 20, 5 p.m.
    • Application Registration Deadline: October 27, at 5 p.m.
    • Executive Summary: Due November 17, by 5 p.m.
    • PowerPoint Presentations and Posters: Due November 17, by 5 p.m.
    • Preliminary Round Competition: December 6, 3-6 p.m.
      • Judges and Teams only
    • Final Competition and Finalists Announced: December 6, 6-9 p.m.
      • Open to the public at 6 p.m.
    • Eligibility
      • Applicants must be students (graduate or undergraduate) at UMass Lowell and at least one team member must be from the Francis College of Engineering.
      • Students are encouraged to form interdisciplinary teams with all team members taking part in developing the executive summary submission and prototype development.
      • Each team should identify a faculty advisor from the Francis College of Engineering.
    • Application and Team Registration
      • Opens: September 20, 5 p.m.
      • Deadline: October 27, at 5 p.m.
      • Create a team using the Idea Platform.
      • After you have created a team, log back into the Idea Platform and apply to the Engineering Competition.
    • Executive Summary
      • Due: November 17, by 5 p.m.
      • Once your application is approved, then you can submit an executive summary via the Idea Platform.
      • Teams submitting plans past the deadline will not be included in the competition.
    • PowerPoint Presentations and Posters
    • Pitch Competition Event:
      • Preliminary Round: December 6, 3-6 p.m.
        • Judges and Teams only
    • Final Competition and Finalists Announced: December 6, 6-9 p.m.
      • Open to the public
    • Resources
      • Teams submitting a proposal by the deadline are eligible to submit receipts of expenses incurred in their prototype design.
      • A maximum of $100 will be reimbursed, with valid expenses including material costs, equipment rental, etc. Student teams must approach engineering faculty and/or technical staff for the use of laboratory facilities (if necessary) in their designs and prototyping.
      • All registered teams are invited to attend DifferenceMaker events during the semester to learn relevant skills and techniques, from idea generation to writing a business plan.
    • Prizes
      • $2,500 award for 1st place team
      • $1,500 award for 2nd place team
      • $1,000 award for 3rd place team
      • $500 award for the people's choice award (crowd voting)
  • 2023 Winners

    • 1st Place, $2,500, as well as advancing directly into the DifferenceMaker Preliminary Pitch-off in April: Team ZipperBuddy; Sandi DeRuntz, Jason Lucier, Haydn Hammill, and Chibudom Azikiwe
    • 2nd Place,$1,500 and Fan Favorite, $500: Socket Tech; Tyler Fanuele, Benjamin Romanek, Coleman Nee, Hayden Dolan, James O'Sullivan, Nishanth Potturu, Sarah O'Meara, and Devansh Sethia
    • 3rd Place, $1,000: Sparkcell; Joshua Landis
    • Fan Favorite and 2nd Place, $500: Socket Tech (See above for team info)
    Thank you to all the preliminary and finalist judges!