The Grand Challenge will bring together multidisciplinary minds from across our community to explore solutions around one of the more perplexing problems of our time.

Over $50,000 in funding is available to teams who submit the most innovative proposals addressing the challenge of controlling mosquitoes. Participants will be supported with a range of events and workshops to help ensure their proposal has the best chance of securing funding.

The Grand Challenge is a great way to meet new people, be exposed to fresh ideas, learn new skills and build creative, original work while having real-world impact. Great ideas come from everywhere, so no matter your background or experience you’ve got everything to gain by participating.

About the Challenge

There are two problem statements to this Challenge. Proposals should include responses to one or both of the following questions:

  • How might we reduce the health risks that certain species of mosquitoes pose to humans?
  • How might we lessen the nuisance factor imposed by urban and invading mosquito populations?

All proposals are required to be socially and environmentally responsible and work towards the benefit of either local or global communities. Interdisciplinary teamwork is encouraged. It’s a complex challenge so participants are recommended to identify a potential ‘step along the way’ that works to achieve the ultimate outcome of controlling mosquitoes.

Why mosquitoes

In the warmer months, mosquitoes can be a major annoyance in Australia, and staff and students would love to find ways to reduce their number. In some parts of the world, mosquitoes pose a major health risk as they carry diseases like malaria, dengue and Zika virus. This makes the mosquito the most dangerous animal on the planet. But there are hundreds of species of mosquito and most are neither a nuisance nor a threat to humans and in fact, are an important part of the wetland ecosystem.

Key dates

Mon 21 Sep Submissions open

Mon 19 Oct How to Pitch at Idea Workshop (optional) 

Sun 25 Oct, 11:59PM AEDT, Submissions close. All team members must be registered here.

Tue 27 Oct, Applications reviewed, funded projects notified

Thu 5 Nov, Pitch Competition via Hopin

9-11 Dec, Navigator for finalists (optional)

Feb-Apr 2021, Validator for finalists (optional)

3 May 2021, Final reports from finalists due




  • All Team members must be registered by 11:59 PM (AEDT) Sunday 25 October 2020.
  • Teams must consist of a minimum of three to a maximum of five members.
  • At least one team member must be a University of Newcastle student, staff, or alumni based in Australia.



All team members registered and have profiles on DevPost.

All teams must submit their proposal to the University of Newcastle Grand Challenge Devpost page by 11:59 PM (AEDT), Sunday 25 October 2020.

The Devpost team page must include the following:

  • Team name
  • Team member’s full names
  • Team Lead’s name
  • Name of Project with a one-sentence description
  • A longer description of what your Project is about, including these headings (no more than 1,000 words in total):
    1. Define the problem you are seeking to solve.
    2. Describe your big idea (what is the vision?).
    3. Describe and illustrate (if possible) your proposed solution.
    4. What is the core foundation of your research or solution (this could be technology, research, know-how, etc.)?
    5. Describe who you think your end-user and/or paying customer could be.
    6. Describe your Technology Readiness Level or Research Literature Level.
    7. Describe the top three critical hypotheses you want to explore, including:
      • How you will test them;
      • Describe your experimental plan, including any new technologies or tools to be developed; and
      • If your experiment/s in the testing phase is/are successful what are the next steps?
    8. Describe how would use the funding to progress your hypotheses, including:
      • How will the work described be performed within the budget (up to AU$5,000) and time period (5 months) allocated for the testing phase (resources, capability, etc.)?
      • What essential outcomes will you generate during your testing phase?
      • Include a brief breakdown of allowable costs.
    9. What you’ve done to date, including challenges and wins.
    10. Why your idea is an unconventional or creative approach to the problem.
  • A graphic that best captures your concept i.e. a logo or image
  • Create a link from YouTube to a video of no more than 3-minutes duration that outlines your project and its proposed outcomes.


Hackathon Sponsors


$55,000 in prizes

Project Funding (9)

There is a total funding pool of $45,000 with projects eligible for up to $5,000 in funding. This means at least 9 projects will be funded, more if projects submitted require less than $5,000 in funding.

Judges Choice (3)

The most outstanding funded projects will be invited to a virtual Pitch Competition on Thursday 29 October where they will be in the running for the Judges Choice Award in three categories:
- Best social enterprise proposal
- Best business idea proposal
- Best research project proposal

Peoples' Choice

The most outstanding funded projects will be invited to a virtual Pitch Competition on Thursday 29 October where they will be in the running for the People's Choice Award.

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


Siobhan Curran

Siobhan Curran
Manager, Integrated Innovation Network, University of Newcastle

Richard Berry

Richard Berry
I2N Program Coordinator, University of Newcastle

Judging Criteria

  • Preliminary discovery
    Demonstrated progress the team has achieved during the application window.
  • Clarity of Problem
    Ability to describe well the part of the problem the team is looking solve.
  • Vision / Solution
    Exciting, innovative and unique aspects of the proposal.
  • End-user / Customer / Beneficiary
    Demonstrated understanding of the end-user and/or paying customer and the benefits of the proposed solution or research for them.
  • Testability
    Shows a clear, logical and thoughtful description of up to three hypotheses to be tested and potential results that will be produced.
  • Expected Outcomes
    Describes with clarity what the expected minimum viable product will look like or how the minimum viable experiment will be performed within budget and the 6-month timeframe allocated, including what value and/or learnings are planned to be achieved.
  • Action Plan
    Clearly articulates next steps and how the funding will be used.
  • Team
    Demonstrates the uniqueness of the team to tackle the challenge and their commitment to their proposal.

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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