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CoLab contests

The Climate CoLab seeks to harness collective intelligence through online contests. Anyone in the world can contribute their ideas to CoLab contests, but experts play an important role, too.

Contests involve five main phases:

Proposal creation

In contests, members of the Climate CoLab community create proposals. Proposals:

  • describe future actions to be taken,
  • outline how those actions can be accomplished,
  • explain why the actions are desirable. 

Some proposals also include a model run.

Proposals can be created by individual community members or by teams.

See example proposals

See contest rules

Community members can support proposals they like, add comments, and contribute to proposals created by others.

People with expertise in climate change, serving as CoLab Advisors and Fellows, provide overall guidance for the contests. 

CoLab Advisors are experienced professionals who decide on a contest's focus, recruit judges, provide input on proposals, and help to bring the bring good ideas from the contests to the attention of potential implementers.

CoLab Fellows are students and concerned citizens who oversee contest activity on a daily basis.

Finalist selection

For each contest, the Advisors recruit expert Judges to evaluate entries. After the submittal deadline, the Judges select finalists based on:

  • feasibility
  • novelty
  • potential impact on climate change
  • presentation

Proposal revisions

In most cases, the finalists will have an opportunity to refine their proposals prior to voting. But in some instances, due to time constraints, finalists will move directly to the voting phase


In this phase, members of the Climate CoLab community vote on the finalists. 

The top vote-getters receive Popular Choice Awards.

The judges also select Judges' Choice winners.

Presentation to potential implementers

Contest winners will be invited to present their proposals, in person or virtually, at the Crowds & Climate Conference at MIT.  In 2013, the conference was held on November 6-7.  Some contests will hold separate additional meetings where winners will also present.

The primary target audience at these meetings will be potential implementers: people in a position to act on the best ideas, including: 

  • policymakers,
  • business executives and investors,
  • officials at non-profits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs),
  • citizen groups.