DHS COE Summit – Student Grand Challenge
July 29 – August 1, 2019
The Summit Grand Challenge is a DHS Center of Excellence (COE) sponsored event designed to draw upon the innovative spirit and diverse student talent across the COE network. Similar to a hackathon but without an emphasis on programming or coding, the Grand Challenge will engage COE-nominated undergraduate and graduate-level students in a collaborative team-based competition to develop new approaches and strategies to the following challenge prompt: Identify an emerging threat to homeland security posed by Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and develop a strategy to counter it.
The sequence of student Grand Challenge activities will include the following:
• COEs nominate two to four students each to participate in the Grand Challenge
• The Summit Education Committee will organize the collection of students into diverse teams of three to five students.
• Students participate in a sequence of DHS component agency informational webinars described below.
• Student teams begin to communicate, exchange information and brainstorm via a collaborative web-based chat room, e.g. Slack.
Informational Webinars: Starting the month of June, the COE-nominated students will participate in a series of informational webinars designed to expose them to DHS Component Agency missions, roles and responsibilities, and challenges as they pertain to UAS threats. The hour- long webinars will be held a minimum of once a week and are intended to provide the students with the necessary background and context needed to begin to formulate ideas and innovative approaches to the Challenge prompt. A schedule of the webinar events are forthcoming.
• The student teams will meet face-to-face for the first time at George Mason University on Monday, July 29, to begin formulating their approaches to the Challenge prompt. The students will be given roughly 36 hours of preparation time to develop and pull together their project pitches for presentation.
Student deliverables will include a 5 to 8 minute elevator pitch, including power point slides and a project abstract.
Student presentations should address the following:
- How does the team’s project solve existing problems?
- Which specific mission of DHS does it most impact?
- What are the costs and benefits of incorporating it into DHS strategic thinking?
- How will DHS benefit from this new approach?
On Wednesday, July 31 the teams will face-off in a pitch competition to present their ideas, tech development and/or approaches before a panel of DHS judges.
The student teams will be assessed according to the following criteria:
• Value to DHS
• Level of Innovation
• Feasibility of Implementation
• Pitch & Delivery
• X Factor – Extraordinary attributes
The judges will select first place and second place winning teams based on the highest-ranking scores.
On Thursday, August 1, the first place and second place winners will present their project solutions to the broader Summit audience. The teams will receive prizes and will be formally recognized by Mr. William Bryan, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for S&T.