Teams and eligibility

Who is eligible to participate in the Longevity Design Challenge?

The Challenge is open to teams of 1-5 members and is primarily a competition for university students: at least one team member must be a student enrolled at an accredited university or college from anywhere in the world during the 2021-2022 school year. Students may be undergraduate or graduate (e.g., masters, PhD) students.

Can my team consist of students from multiple universities?

Yes! Teams may consist of students from multiple universities, from anywhere in the world.

Can non-university (e.g., high school) students participate?

Other (non-university) students may participate in the Design Challenge, but only as part of a team which contains at least one university (undergraduate or graduate) student.

Can a team have members who are not students?

Yes! A team may be a mix of students and non-students (of any age).

If a team is chosen for the finals, only team members who are students may participate in the final presentation.

Can I submit a design by myself?

Yes! You may be a “team” of one.

Can I/my team submit more than one design?

Yes! You may be a member on multiple teams and/or submit multiple designs. In the submission portal you will need to submit each design under a different email address. We do, however, recommend spending more time on one design in order to make sure your submission is high quality, rather than submitting many designs.


What kinds of materials do I need to submit to participate in the Longevity Design Challenge?

All materials are to be submitted through the submission platform: You can view a copy of the entry form under the “Resources” tab. There is a link to a copy of the entry form called “Entry form (for reference only).” It has all of the questions you need to answer, along with file types and sizes accepted for supplemental materials.

When is the last day to submit a design?

The submission deadline for the 2021-2022 Longevity Design Challenge is Thursday, December 2, 2021. The submission portal will close at 11:59 pm (23:59) Pacific time on December 2.

What types of designs are accepted by the Longevity Design Challenge?

Many types of designs are accepted in the Longevity Design Challenge. It could be a program you implement in your community, an app or software, a product for people to use, or anything else that will help people live long and healthy lives under the current topic, “Longevity-Ready Environments: Rethinking Physical Spaces for Century-Long Lives.”

Do I have to produce/implement my design for the competition?

You do not need to have a product made for the December submission deadline. We are just looking for a thorough explanation (text, and pictures/video if applicable) of what your product will be. Then, if your idea is chosen as a finalist, that’s a great time to start developing it more fully.

If you are able to make a prototype before the December deadline and able to conduct some user testing, it can help to share your results in your submission. It can be really early stages user testing, like with family and friends (who hopefully fit into whichever demographics you are designing for). Or if you don’t have a product to test yet, you can also do user interviews to get feedback on your idea.

What are the judging criteria, and what do they mean?

Longevity Design Challenge submissions are scored on 5 criteria:

Impact: The primary question behind the “impact” criteria is “will the design improve long life outcomes?” Because this is a longevity design challenge, we want to know if the design will help people be healthier (physically, emotionally, socially, etc.) or more purposeful in a way that will help improve their lives.

Originality: Does your design represent an original idea? Has your idea been seen before? Is there something similar to it on the market? A new design will earn a higher score in this criterion.

Feasibility: Will your design work in the real world? Can the design be produced at scale (e.g., for most/all of the population it is meant to serve)? Your design may be a very interesting or compelling idea, but it needs to be feasible to bring it to life to get high marks in this criterion.

Affordability: Will your users be able to afford your design when it is produced at scale? This is why the judges want to know who your design is for: e.g., Is it for children? Older adults? People with low incomes? They will also want to know how much your design will cost its users when it is produced at scale.

Fit to theme: Is your design relevant to this year’s design theme, “Longevity-Ready Environments: Rethinking Physical Spaces for Century-Long Lives”? You can read more about this theme on our website.

What is expected in a submission video?

On the entry form you have the option to upload a video. This is not required. If you choose to upload a video, we recommend keeping it short (e.g., no more than 2-3 minutes) and make sure it is relevant to understanding the idea of your design. In the first round the judges review many designs and do not have time to view long videos.

The entry form asks for “documentation that will help evaluate your proposal.” What type of documentation?

This field is meant for any materials you think might present your idea more clearly alongside the text answers you have given in the other fields. For example, you might describe how your idea works in the “Describe the design fully” section, but you think it would be helpful to include a visual or flow chart of it, so you could include PowerPoint or PDF slides that contain visual mock-ups of how your idea works. It is not required to include any extra materials.

What is meant by the question “What is the expected per person cost of the solution?”

Consider the “per person cost of the solution” to be what most users would have to pay to start using your design. For example, if your design is a product, how much would you charge people to buy it? Or if it’s a program people participate in, what is the membership cost? An estimate is fine here – this question is a way for the judges to discern how “affordable” your design is. You’ll want to consider how much it costs for you to produce your design, who will be using it (and if they will be willing or able to pay for it), etc. You should make these estimates based on what a “production” version of the design should cost – not the prototype.

For the following question about how you arrived at that number, you can describe all that background information you used to decide the “per person cost.” You can also describe who your “target audience” is – meaning, the people who will be buying and using your design (for example, students, older adults, or people living in a certain city or community). If you are going to try to make your design “free” to users, which is not obligatory, this is a good place to describe how you or an organization will cover the cost of producing the design.

Do I need to include citations in my design description?

This may not apply to everyone. If you would like to include citations, don’t worry too much about including a lot of citations (the judges just need enough information to understand your idea), but if you feel that there are sources that are important to include, please include some kind of citation along with the links so that we can see the title, publication year, and authors (in case the link doesn’t work for us). You can use any citation format.

Is there mentorship available during the submission process?

The Longevity Design Challenge team isn’t big enough to offer general mentoring in the first phase of the competition, but if you have a specific question about your project, you may email us at [email protected] and we will do our best to answer it or to try to help find a resource. This is also a great time to take advantage of your university’s resources. The 6-8 teams that are selected for the finals will each be paired with a mentor.


What are the cash prizes for this competition?

  • Finalist teams (announced in January): $1000 US
  • Grand prizes (determined at the final competition in April):
  • 1st place: $10000 US
  • 2nd place: $5000 US
  • 3rd place: $2000 US

How are the cash prizes paid out?

Each finalist team is asked to designate one team member to receive prize money and that person is responsible for disseminating it to the other team members. That person will be asked to provide bank information for a wire transfer, and a tax identification number (if applicable).

Is the prize money subject to US taxes?


US-based teams comprised of US citizens receive the gross amount which will be reported on tax form 1099.

International teams are subject to 30% US federal tax withholding, and 7% State of California withholding if the prize exceeds $1500.

For international teams, the Center on Longevity will gross up the $1000 finalist award so that all teams (US and international) receive the full $1000 before the finals. This is to assure that each finalist team is not at a disadvantage to other finalist teams based on tax status.

The recipients of the grand prizes receive tax forms at the beginning of the following calendar year. US taxes are filed before April 15 for the prior year. If international teams would like to try getting some of the tax-withheld money refunded, the recipient of the award must have or apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Eligibility depends on the country of residence.