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Discovery Competition

With the goal of promoting new and innovative discoveries to solve challenges or needs, the School of Engineering & Applied Science created the Discovery Competition in 2012. This special opportunity provides engineering undergraduate students the forum to explore their entrepreneurial interests with support from mentors, to use their creativity to develop solutions for real-world problems and to compete for financial resources that could help turn their ideas into businesses.

  • The Discovery Competition is an annual experience for Washington University undergraduate students.
  • The competition includes multiple rounds held during the fall and spring semesters.
  • At least $25,000 will be awarded to the winning team(s) each spring semester so the competition winner(s) can continue developing prototypes and ventures.
  • The competition is fully funded by generous alumni donors.
  • Students interact with mentors, advisers, judges and other students through several events held during the academic year.


Information Sessions
Attend an information session at 7 p.m. in Bryan Hall, Room 305 on the following dates:

  • Monday, Sept. 15
  • Tuesday, Sept. 16
  • Wednesday, Sept. 17

Team Requirements

  • Teams must be composed of currently enrolled Washington University undergraduate students, with at least one engineering student and at least one non-engineering student.
  • Undergraduate students can compete each year they are enrolled at Washington University.
  • Faculty and graduate students are not eligible to compete and cannot join teams.
  • Eligible undergraduate students may be added to a team at any time, at the team's discretion and with approval from the competition director.
  • Teams must produce original work and must adhere to competition deadlines.
  • All selected teams will be required to enroll in a one-hour pass/fail course, which will meet 5-6 times during the semester.



  • Register by completing the form on this page.
  • Teams must submit a one to two page description of their ideas. Descriptions should include the problem/need and proposed solutions: at this stage of the competition, teams should focus on the problem/need and the solution-not the business plan.
  • Requirements for the semifinalist presentations, the feasibility studies and other written deliverables will be available soon on this webpage.

For any questions or inquiries concerning the Discovery Competition, please contact:

  • Dennis Mell
    Professor of Practice
    & Discovery Competition Director
    (314) 935-4876
    Bryan Hall, Room 307C
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