Randy Guthrie – Microsoft Academic Developer Evangelist
Blog: blogs.msdn.com/MIS_Laboratory

The deadline for registration and submission of a concept for the Fall round of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup technology competition is this Friday, October 9th at midnight.  There are two competition categories that have deadlines this Friday; the Software Design and Game Design categories. Last year, students from the United States did very well in the world-wide finals in Cairo, Egypt capturing two first place and two second place wins in nine events.  Like last year, we are having our own “United States” competition that has two rounds from which winners will be selected. The first round is this fall; and the registration/concept milestone is this Friday.  Ten winners will be selected this fall and another ten winners in the Spring.  Teams that are not selected this fall can resubmit an improved project in the Spring that incorporates feedback received in the Fall rounds.

Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition provides a unique opportunity for students to learn valuable entrepreneurial skills, while casting your department and schools programs in a very positive light.  The University of Arkansas has seen a 20 percent jump in enrolment this Fall which they attribute to all of the positive press their last year’s team received competing both in the US and at the World Wide finals.  We at Microsoft recognize the value this competition can add to your program, and if you are able to get students from your school to participate (either on their own or incorporating the competition as a class assignment) then we can help provide local PR, and even have a competition “kit” that you can use to host a local on-campus competition.

The theme for this year is the same as last year: “Imagine a World Where Technology Helps Solve Some of the World Toughest Problems”.  Student projects have to have some bearing on education, eradicating hunger, health care, environment or “world peace” as described in the United Nations Millennium Development goals.

The process for participating is simple and straightforward:

1. Register as an individual competitor at http://www.imaginecup.us/Signup.aspx

2. Create a team (can be up to four individuals; cross disciplinary teams are welcome and encouraged)

3. Brainstorm and create round one documentation and submit

4. Refine your ideas and start to prepare for round 2

You do not have to have a fully-developed idea or technology for round one. It is primarily a registration milestone where you have to form a team and submit high-level concept documents that can be modified (or even replaced) before the next round.  There are lots of online training and design resources to help you with your project.  Register and get started today.

Cheers!

Randy