Student teams and faculty from around the globe will compete, learn, collaborate, and network virtually at the 2021 Virginia Tech Global Case Challenge in August.

Hosted by the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center and Outreach and International Affairs, the Global Case Challenge offers student teams from around the globe the opportunity to present solutions to real-world industry problems. 

Teams of between two and four members must be made up of students or recent graduates from Virginia Tech or any colleges or universities outside of the United States. Team members must be between the ages of 18 and 26.

Companies from within the CRC and area stakeholders detailed a challenge or opportunity within their organization or industry. Four cases have been selected for students to develop solutions to by Aug. 2. The teams must develop research-driven, scalable solutions that have the potential to be implemented by each respective company. A finalist will be chosen from each case, and one overall winner will receive a $40,000 prize.

The cases selected for the Global Case Challenge are:

  • CELLINK Life Sciences, creating the future of medicine by providing technologies, products, and services to create, understand, and master biology. The CELLINK Green Initiative case challenges students to create and develop a solution to effectively reduce waste products generated from the biotechnology industry, with emphasis on plastic and chemical waste.
  • Cowden Technologies, founded in 2015 with a primary focus on providing software engineering services for external clients. On top of providing software consulting services, Cowden Technologies is developing autonomous drone technology that can enable remote environment management without requiring human supervision. The Cowden Technologies case challenges teams to create a practical, cost-effective, and environmentally conscious solution for powering remote docking platforms for small drones, with emphasis on renewable energy and remote technology.
  • The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conducts research to save lives, time, money, and the environment. VTTI is continually advancing transportation through innovation and has affected public policy on national and international levels. The VTTI case challenges students to create and develop a solution to successfully deploy driverless operations while improving accessibility and mobility for the disabled, with emphasis on accessibility for disabled riders, international outreach, and efficient driverless technology.
  • Carilion Clinic, a nonprofit health care organization based in Roanoke, Virginia. Through its comprehensive network of hospitals, primary, and specialty physician practices and other complementary services, Carilion provides quality care close to home for nearly 1 million Virginians. Carilion’s case challenges teams to develop an intervention that can help exhausted clinicians communicate and ensure safety behaviors are occurring (e.g., washing hands, wearing a mask, staying home when feeling sick) with their patients and colleagues on a just-in-time, user-tailored way.

The 2021 Global Case Challenge runs in conjunction with the Corporate Research Center’s Game Changer Week, set for Aug. 23-27.  Bringing together a diverse group of industry disruptors, the week will feature a variety of events held virtually and in person across the region, with many taking place at the research park. Attendees will receive access to events corresponding with tracks and have the opportunity to create connections with thought leaders, creators, and influencers along the way.

Tracks include aerospace, biotechnology, university, software, technology, design, blockchain, startups, and early seed.

Global Case Challenge competitors will have access to virtual networking and mentorship from CRC tenants and to view recorded sessions. The winners from each case will be announced during Game Changer Week and their solutions presented to all attendees.

Sponsors of the Global Case Challenge include the town of Blacksburg, Carilion Clinic, SunTrust Bank, Branch Builds, LewisGale Regional Health System, and VPT.

For further information, contact global partnership coordinator Nicole Luth.

Written by Becca Halm