Kozmetsky Student Challenge

Our student challenges allow our students to take on problems related to the needs of small or remote communities and bring fresh and innovative ideas of growth and sustainability while maintaining unique community identities and good quality of life for their citizens.

The George Kozmetsky Memorial Student Challenge is named in honor of the founder of the IC² Institute.  As with Kozmetsky’s original work at the institute in the 1970s, the Challenge requires an interdisciplinary approach.  Although students from any major are eligible to participate, student teams must represent more than one school or college at UT Austin, and the members of each team cannot be all graduate students or all first-year students. The top ten student teams deliver live presentations before a panel of three expert judges, and at the end of the day three teams walk away with a total of $15,000 in cash prizes. Student teams register this fall and begin research for their communities in late September.  Ten days before the October 23rd final, each team will have a specific problem brief and had to define a creative but realistic approach.

Final Info Session, Sept 21st at 6PM: Click for Zoom link.

Student Challenge 2021 Info Session

Complete this form to connect with other interested students: 

Find a Teammate

Complete one application for each team by October 7th

Team Applications 


Sept 8, 2021    Attend information sessions at the Blackstone Launch Pad in the FAC 6-7pm

Sept 14, 2021  Attend information sessions at the Blackstone Launch Pad in the FAC 6-7pm

Sept 16, 2021 Team Applications due by Midnight (Priority Deadline)

Oct 7, 2021     Team Applications due at midnight (Final Deadline)

Oct 8, 2021     Each team will receive their city and the assignment.  Attend one info session for additional details, 12pm or 5pm

Oct 8-23, 2021 Teams conduct primary and secondary research on their city

Oct 18, 2021   Presentations due by 12pm

Oct 20, 2021   Finalist teams notified

Oct 23, 2021   Finalist team present to panel of judges from 12-3pm.  Winners announced for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

Team Criteria

Any currently enrolled student UT Austin is eligible to join a team.  However, each team must include representation from at least two colleges/schools.  Additionally, no team may include more than two graduate students or more than two first-year undergraduate students.  Teams must have 4 or 5 members.

For more information on joining Student Challenges contact info@ic2.utexas.edu


Cash prizes will be given to the top three teams:

1st Place: $7,000

2nd Place: $5,000

3rd Place: $3,000


To make the final decisions on awards, IC² recruit an external judging panel.  Past Judges have been Wynn Rosser, President and CEO of the Temple Foundation, Jordan Scott, a community advocate and investor, and Dr. Erin Hogue, Director of Community Operations & Northwest Arkansas Giving for the Walmart Foundation. Judges evaluate student work and presentations. 

2020 IC² Institute GK Student Challenge Finalists

  • First prize winners: Jonathan Du, Matthew Piotrowicz, Iann Karamali, Joshua Klein, and Thomas Adkins (Harlingen team).
  • Second prize winners: Heath Edwards, Kaitlyn Harris, Kathryn Johansen, Scott Winton, and Jocelyn Yao (Menard team).
  • Third prize winners: Amy Simpson, Sashank Macharla, Alexandra Byrnes, and Nicole Domingo (La Grange team) and Evan Pan, Shashwat Pandey, Aniket Matharasi, Chris Morphis, and Kisara Dang (Tyler team).

Other finalist teams