Students and faculty of Wisconsin’s technical colleges encouraged to enter Foxconn’s “Smart Cities – Smart Futures” competition

By Erin Eagan

Foxconn Technology Group recently launched its “Smart Cities – Smart Futures” initiative in which the company will provide up to $1 million in prizes over the next three years to students, faculty and staff at Wisconsin colleges who generate winning ideas for projects to help develop needed housing, infrastructure and other systems.

At a press conference to formally announce the initiative, Alan Yeung, Foxconn’s director of U.S. strategic initiatives, said he believes the initiative will inspire and enable the “immense talent available in the Badger State to participate, submit ideas and potentially see them come to life.” According to Yeung, the ideas could be anything from “developing attractive streetscapes, building transportation networks, designing innovative living spaces, improving the way we learn or enhancing healthcare.”

The themes for the competition include: Optimizing Our Resources and Strengths; Improving Quality of Life, Performance and Collaboration; Enhancing a Sustainable Economy and Environment; and Advancing Smart Manufacturing, Services and Infrastructure.

Foxconn’s three-phase initiative will begin in October with subsequent phases coming in February and April of next year. The first round will have Foxconn paying $150 prizes to an estimated 300 participants submitting essays, pictures, emails and other forms of proposals. Submissions can be made in late September, and the deadline for the first round of entries is Oct 31.

The next round will have the company awarding $1,500 to 50 participants while the last phase will have Foxconn awarding each member of a “Sweet 16” group $5,000.

The company states that its mission is to attract, reward, and invest in innovative ideas and concepts created by students, faculty and staff and not to assert ownership rights to intellectual property. Rather, ownership and management of intellectual property rights will be treated in accordance with normal and existing practices.

This competition is open to everyone affiliated with the Wisconsin Technical College System, the UW System and the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. For more information, visit the Smart Cities-Smart Futures website and sign up for the e-newsletter to stay in touch with the competition moving forward.