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SPARK Innovation Competition

SPARK: solve with

What is it?

SPARK is a 24 hour (Nov. 8 - 9) think-tank style competition giving you the chance to solve real-world problems alongside professional engineers, scientists and corporate representatives. Hosted by Drexel’s Institute for Energy and the Environment, Villanova University, Temple University, Penn State University and national engineering company O'Brien & Gere (OBG), students will be asked to present solutions to meet industry needs.

Who should participate?

The competition is open to all Drexel, Villanova, Temple University and U. Penn undergraduate and master-level students interested in creating solutions to real world energy, water and environment issues.

Why should you participate?

  • Prize money
  • Chance to develop a solution that may be implemented
  • Networking with industry professionals
  • Improve consulting and presentation skills
  • Enhance your resume

How does it work?

Working in groups, students will be provided problem statements and given just under 24 hours to come up with a solution. Guided by subject matter experts from participating universities, OBG and industry partners, the student teams ideate, develop solutions, and finally pitch their solutions in front of a panel of academic and private sector judges. Students will be selected through an application process and matched to a multi-disciplinary team that can bring a range of expertise to a problem. Problem statements will focus on solutions that address needs arising from the energy, environmental and water sectors.

Welcome and Kick-off (Thursday, Nov. 8 - Villanova University)

At the evening kick-off students gather, divide into their assigned teams and are given their problem statements. Students, representatives from OBG and other subject matter experts meet each other and receive details about the competition.

Competition Day (Friday, Nov. 9 - Villanova University)

This is the time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Teams break into groups to brainstorm their problem statements. Subject matter experts are on hand to guide and mentor the teams as they work through their ideas. Food will be provided throughout the day.

The Pitch

The pitch is the highlight of the competition and the teams’ chance to convince the judges their solution is the most innovative. The pitch is a short, 10-minute presentation where students have the flexibility to use whatever tools they choose to share their solution. Similar to the consulting industry, the work culminates in the power of the solution and the delivery.


Following the judging, an informal networking event gives participants a chance to celebrate the excitement of the day and the opportunity to further discuss ideas with the industry partners and judges. To see a draft agenda click here.

How do I apply?

Complete the short application. In addition to some basic information that will help us create strong-multidisciplinary teams, you’ll also be given the opportunity to list other applicants who you wish to potentially have added to your team. For questions, email

For more information about the Spark Competition visit the website.