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Information and communications technology (ICTs) and data have helped many cities become more responsive; more prosperous and sustainable; safer; better governed, better educated, and healthier. There is no question that new and innovative approaches to using digital technology and data can be devised to solve urban problems. 

The Public Policy Grant Program of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) invites students to form teams to propose student-designed projects and prototypes that use ICTs and/or data analytics to solve global policy problems.  Solutions may be market-based, public/philanthropic supported, or a mix.  The Program encourages the formation of teams that integrate students of public policy, computer science, engineering and other fields across Columbia University. All teams must include at least one SIPA student in a substantive role.

The Program’s goal is to identify and support projects that have a high potential to be implemented and produce a meaningful impact on the target problem in relatively near term.

The Program will run one competition per academic year. Each competition is composed of 3 rounds with the same process, focus, and judging criteria. A total of $50,000 will be awarded to two or three winning teams from each competition. Teams must be set up as a legal entity to receive the prize money.

Partners and Funding

Start-up funding for the Challenge Grant Program has been provided by various friends including the NASDAQ Educational Foundation and the Lemann Foundation. The SIPA Public Policy Challenge Grant Program is produced in collaboration with Columbia Entrepreneurship.


SIPA Courses and Workshops

See Tech & Policy @SIPA - Courses

SIPA students are also invited to participate in Columbia Venture Competition events.