March Madness


March Economic Madness ran in 2021 and 2022 and was the first interscholastic student team competition to address problems of small or remote communities. It gave university students an opportunity to form teams and compete across universities in a hackathon style to come up with solutions for real communities seeking both sustainable growth and good quality of life for their citizens. Challenge participants addressed problems related to the need for small or remote communities to grow and thrive, while maintaining unique community identities and good quality of life for their citizens. We awarded over $50,000 to winning teams through this competition. 


Competition Design

Student Team Criteria

Participating University’s formed teams of students from at least two colleges/schools. 


The top teams from each university competed in a final round. The team selected as winner of the final round will be awarded $25,000. The winning team will also “bring home” the March Economic Madness trophy to the team’s university to be displayed for one year.

Communities for Study

Registered teams will be randomly assigned to communities. Each team will study a different community.  Communities will be cities, outside of major urban corridors, with populations numbering between 15,000 and 90,000. Although Round 2 will involve a different question from Round 1, teams who qualify for Round 2 will continue to study the community to which they were originally assigned. Click here to view an example Round 2 prompt

Past Judges

The March Economic Madness program was honored to have the following judges form the panel in 2022.

Linda Matthew, Ph.D
Associate Professor, Department of Population Health, Chief,
Division of Community Engagement and Health Equity, Faculty
Director, Community-Driven Initiatives




Joshua B. Barbour, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Dept of Communication Studies
UT Austin





Nishi Viswanathan, MBBS, MBA
Director of Texas Health Catalyst, Health Ecosystem,
UT Austin
Austin, TX





March Economic Madness (2021)

2022 Student Finalist Presentations

      First Place:

    Round 2 Finalists:

Click here to see other news regarding the March Economic Madness Challenge in 2021.