Challenge Overview

Key Dates



What is the Invent It Challenge?

The Invent It Challenge is an annual competition that inspires students around the world to unleash their inner inventor! Using Smithsonian’s Spark!Lab Invention Process, students brainstorm new inventions to solve global problems. For the 2018 Dr. InBae Yoon Challenge, participants will focus their minds and talent on generating new solutions to problems related to natural disaster preparation and relief such as predicting disasters, creating warning systems, engineering, providing search and rescue services as well as immediate relief (food, water, shelter, medical care, evacuation), and enabling communities to rebuild and recover.

Who can join the Challenge?

Young inventors aged 5 to 21, either individually or on teams, compete in four age divisions:

● Ages 5–7

● Ages 8–10

● Ages 11–13

● Ages 14–21

What types of entries are accepted?

We welcome any slide show or video presentation of an invention idea that solves an problem related to natural disaster preparation or relief, as well as the process used to develop it. Entry should document completion of the 7 Key Steps of the Invention Process.

How will winners be selected?

A panel of Smithsonian and ePals judges review all entries using the evaluation criteria outlined in the Scoring Guide. While all entries are honored through publication in our online gallery, judges identify our winners by looking for young inventors that excel at explaining the problem, innovating on past ideas, sketching and prototyping their invention, testing and tweaking their idea and explaining how the invention solves a problem related to natural disaster preparation or relief in an innovative way. As a culmination of the Challenge, each year an ‘ePals Choice Award’ winner is chosen for the highest honorary award by popular vote.

What are the prizes?

In addition to the amazing Camp Invention® Scholarship, the STEMIE Coalition Scholarship to the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo, Faber-Castell Art Supplies, Smithsonian Books and Washington D.C. Trip, and Cricket Magazine prizes, Nelson Mullins offers a patent consultation to winners, to help turn winning ideas into patented real-world solutions.