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Contests and Workspaces

Activities on Climate CoLab are divided into contests and workspaces: 

  • Contests contain several phases, including evaluations, as outlined below. Proposals entered into active contests will be evaluated by expert Judges following the deadline, and are eligible for awards.
  • Workspaces are open spaces where people can work on proposals between contest cycles. Workspaces contain one phase which is open indefinitely. Proposals are not evaluated by Judges or Impact Assessment Fellows, and no prizes are awarded.


Contest Phases

Contests typically involve the following six phases:

Accepting Proposals

Anyone is invited to submit proposals and participate.

Authors can edit proposals until the deadline and add new team members to co-edit their proposals.

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


Semi-Finalist Selection

Impact Assessment Fellows work with authors to estimate the impact their proposal will have on greenhouse gas emissions and reducing climate risks. Some proposals also include a model run.

After the impact assessment, the contest's judging panel will evaluate the entries and select Semi-Finalists based on predetermined criteria, typically:

  • Novelty
  • Feasibility
  • Impact
  • Presentation

(See a contest's Details page for the specific criteria for that contest.)


Proposal Revisions

The Semi-Finalists will have an opportunity to refine their proposals and add Contributors prior to the second round of judging.

Finalist Selection

The Judges review the revised proposals and select contest Finalists. 



In this phase, members of the Climate CoLab community vote on the Finalists.
The top vote-getters for each contest receive Popular Choice Awards.

The Judges also select Judges' Choice winners.

Occasionally, the phases are different than what's above, so check a specific contest for full details.


Winners Announced

Each year, we give away prizes to people and teams who develop -- or contribute to -- top-rated climate change actions and implementation plans. From 2013-2018, we've welcomed our community and winners to MIT for the Crowds & Climate conference and other activities around the Boston, MA area, where we awarded one $10,000 Grand Prize.  Contests that we run with partners offer separate prizes, such as cash awards, seed funding, opportunities to meet senior officials and implementers, and more.  Check out our open contests for this year’s activity and prizes.


Climate CoLab Proposals 

Proposals suggest specific actions that can be taken to address climate change and, for most contests, they have the following properties:

Any type of action

Proposals are not limited to just business ideas or technologies.  Contests typically welcome proposals for policies, technologies, public engagement projects, research, businesses, and any others.

Specific projects or general practices

Starting in 2017, authors are asked to specify if their proposal is for a project or a practice.

  • A practice suggests actions that could be taken, but not the specific people or organizations who will take them. (For example, a proposal for how solar energy could be installed in developing countries using a franchise business model.) If the practice has already been implemented with very good results in one (or, preferably, many) places, it could be called a best practice.
  • project suggests actions that could be taken and the specific people or organizations who will take them. (For example, a proposal that outlines how CompanyX will work with the Indian government to launch solar energy franchises.)

For any implementer

Proposals may outline actions that the author intends to take, such as a business they wish to scale or a campaign they wish to run.  Proposals may also detail actions that the author suggests that others take, such as a specific policy they believe should be passed or a corporate practice they wish one or multiple companies employ.

For any location

Climate CoLab accepts proposals for anywhere in the world, at any scale.  Refer to the contest prompt to see if there are any geographic limitations for a specific contest.

Detailed and actionable


  • describe future actions to be taken;
  • outline how those actions can be accomplished;
  • explain why the actions are desirable; and
  • quantify the impact the actions will have.

See winning proposals from previous contests.