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U21/PwC Innovation Challenge

The U21/PwC Innovation Challenge for 2019-2020 offers unique professional development training for U21’s network of graduate students and gives them exposure to new global employment opportunities. This year, three winners will be awarded an expenses-paid trip to Dubai (7 days) courtesy of PwC where they will get the chance to explore the city and also see some of the innovative projects taking place there.

Universitas 21 (U21) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) are two globally-focused organizations who have come together to offer exclusive professional development opportunities for U21’s graduate students through the Innovation Challenge.  As a member of Universitas 21, University of Maryland has registered to participate in this competition.  The competition is open to all registered graduate students in Master's or doctoral programs. The University of Maryland can submit four nominees.

Please consult the U21 / PwC Innovation Challenge competition booklet for guidelines and information about the competition.

The question for the 2019-2020 U21 / PwC Innovation Challenge is as follows:

We invite master's and doctoral students from all disciplines to prepare a three-minute presentation to respond to this prompt. 

Eligibility:  Students must be currently enrolled as a master's or doctoral student for Fall 2019 AND for Spring 2020.  The global U21/ PwC Innovation Challenge competition takes place during the Spring 2020 semester, so students must be currently enrolled at that time. Students with plans to graduate in December 2019 are not eligible to participate in this year's competition. Students enrolled in online-only programs are not eligible for this year's competition.

Register to compete!    
Please go to the Graduate School Awards Portal at and select “Fellowship and Award Nominations” to enter registration information.  


  • Prepare your three-minute presentation
  • Prepare a single slide that will complement your presentation
  • Record your three-minute presentation in MP4 format
  • Submit your video by the deadline.  (Submission instructions will be sent to students who are registered for this competition)  

Deadline:  Please register by November 1, 2019.  The three-minute video submissions must be submitted to the Graduate School using UMD BOX by noon, November 13, 2019.  (Submission instructions will be emailed to all registrants)

Workshop: November 7, 2019, at 10:00 am, in 2124 Lee Building.  The Director of the Graduate School Writing Center, Dr. Linda Macri, will hold an Innovation Challenge Workshop which will provide students with guidance on how to prepare an effective 3-minute talk and how to create a complementary slide. Please RSVP at

Graduate School Writing Center:  If you are not able to attend the workshop and would like a one-on-one consultation about how to prepare an effective presentation, please schedule a time with the Graduate School Writing Center.
A 5 member multidisciplinary faculty panel will review all video submissions based on the criteria found on page 8 of the competition booklet.  The panel will select up to four students as campus-level winners who will be notified by November 30, 2019.  Campus-level winners will be the UMD nominees for the U21 / PwC Innovation Challenge Competition which takes place in February.     
The Graduate School will arrange for campus-level winners to receive professional coaching, and the Graduate School will arrange to produce the 3-minute video that will be submitted to February's international competition.
Please direct questions to Robyn Kotzker at or 301-405-0281.



Contact Information

The Graduate School, University of Maryland

2123 Lee Building
7809 Regents Drive
College Park, MD 20742