University of Newcastle (Australia) students, staff, and alumni are invited to submit their spark of an idea for how mosquitoes might be controlled. Ideas must be expressed in fewer than 500 words or within a 1-minute video.

Judged by an expert panel, the top 10 most innovative and creative ideas that are grounded in knowledge of current constraints in controlling mosquitoes will each win a $500 School Locker voucher. There is no limit to the number of entries or prizes per person.

Idea Spark is a pre-Grand Challenge competition and has the aim of generating creative and innovative ideas that address the challenge of controlling mosquitoes. Who knows, your Idea Spark submission may be the seed for a great proposal into the Grand Challenge!

All you need to do is submit your spark of an idea for controlling mosquitoes in fewer than 500 words or in a video less than 1-minute in length before 24 August 2020.

About The Grand Challenge

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.

A combined $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. For more information on the Grand Challenge to go or watch the recording of the information session.

Key dates


Mon 10 Aug - Idea Spark Competition submissions open

Mon 10 Aug - Design Thinking Workshop

5PM, Mon 24 Aug - Idea Spark submissions close

Wed 26 Aug - Idea Spark winners announced


Mon 31 Aug - Build an All-star Team Workshop

Wed 2 Sep - Ask Me Anything webinar with Nothing but Nets

Mon 7 Sep - Create Real-World Value Workshop

Wed 9 Sep - Ask Me Anything webinar with 2019 Winners

Mon 14 Sep - Create Sustainable Impact Workshop

Thu 17 Sep - Ask Me Anything webinar with Dr Cameron Webb, NSW Health


Mon 21 Sep - Grand Challenge applications open

Mon 19 Oct - How to Pitch an Idea Workshop

Sun 25 Oct - Grand Challenge applications close

Tue 27 Oct - Grant recipients announced

Thu 29 Oct - Pitch Competition for grant recipients to win extra funding


All grant recipients undertake research and market testing with the option to participate Navigator (Dec) and Validator (Feb-Apr).



  • Participants must be a University of Newcastle (Australia) student, staff or alumni (verified by the submission of your student or staff number at registration)
  • All submissions must be made via Devpost by 5:00 PM (AEST) Monday 24 August 2020.
  • Submissions must be expressed in fewer than 500 words or within a 1-minute video


All participants must be registered with Devpost and submit their ideas to the University of Newcastle Idea Spark Devpost page by 5:00 PM (AEST), Monday 24 August 2020. Each submission must include the following:

    • Idea name
    • Participant's full name
    • Idea expressed in your choice of:
      • Fewer than 500 words (text only); or
      • A link from YouTube to a video up to 1-minute in length

You may wish to add a graphic that best captures your concept i.e. a logo or image, but this is not compulsory.


Hackathon Sponsors


$5,000 in prizes

School Locker Voucher (10)

Voucher to be spent at any School Locker store or web store.

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


Siobhan Curran
Senior Manager, I2N Operations and Innovation

Judging Criteria

  • Clarity of Problem
    Ability to describe well the part of the problem the participant is looking to solve.
  • Vision / Solution
    Exciting, innovative and unique aspects of the proposal.
  • End-user / Customer
    Demonstrated understanding of the end-user and/or paying customer and the benefits of the proposed solution for them.
  • Realistic
    Submission is grounded in knowledge of current constraints in controlling mosquitoes.
  • Responsible
    Submission is socially and environmentally responsible.

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