DifferenceMaker Francis College of Engineering Prototyping Competition

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

The Competition

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!


  • 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.

Important Dates

  • September 20: Application Registration Opens online. Create a team and apply using the Idea platform.
  • October 27, at 5 p.m.: Application Registration Deadline
  • Due November 17, by 5 p.m. online: Executive Summary
  • Due November 17, by 5 p.m., due to Paulette Brooks, Francis College of Engineering Program Coordinator via email: paulette_brooks@uml.edu or UMass Lowell OneDrive:
  • December 6, 6-9 p.m. (open to the public): Final Competition and Finalists Announced. Please note, all competing student teams must arrive at 3 p.m.

Application Registration and Deadline Instructions

  • 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.
  • Once your application is approved, then you can submit an executive summary via the Idea Platform.
  • Questions? Please contact Paulette Brooks, Francis College of Engineering Program Coordinator via email: paulette_brooks@uml.edu

Executive Summary

Executive summaries will be submitted online in the Idea Platform. Teams submitting plans past the deadline will not be included in the competition.

Available Resources

  • Teams that submit 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.
    • Please contact Paulette Brooks, Francis College of Engineering Program Coordinator via email: paulette_brooks@uml.edu
  • All registered teams will be invited to attend DifferenceMaker events during the semester to learn relevant skills and techniques, from idea generation to writing a business plan.


  • $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)


2022 Winners

  • 1st Place, $2,500, as well as advancing directly into the DifferenceMaker Preliminary Pitch-off in April: Team Catnap; Majd Elhachem, Michael Ciampo, El Hadad, Fritznere Brutus, and Matheuas Fonseca
  • 2nd Place, $1,500: Solar Sails; Quin Liang and Aalap Patel
  • 3rd Place, $1,000: Rehaband: Alexa DeVito, Maria Ferreira, Helen Kham, Timothy Roach, and Ardon Zibel
  • Fan Favorite, $500: Project Poseidon; Abdullah Jasim, Dylan Cormier, Abdelsalam Abutabikh, Amr Elkordy, Jeswin Jees, Jessica Borst, Charles Kenny, and Mustafa Al Hado

Thank you to all the 2022 preliminary and finalist judges!