Coaches & Mentors


How can you help students get in the game?

Step 1

Help the students on your team come up with a team name and brainstorm project ideas – anything related to the following Innovation Award categories.

The A.H. Nickless Innovation Award allows students to develop their products, ideas and inventions around the following categories. These categories are intentionally broad to allow student teams the freedom to be creative with their different ideas. These descriptions are for illustrative purposes and are not to be considered as comprehensive.

Energy and the Environment – alternative energy (solar, wind, battery), renewable energy, energy storage, energy efficiency, environmental management, environmental sciences, environmental health, recycling strategies, waste management solutions, water resources and conservation, climate change, etc.

Medicine and Health Services – animal science, plant science, microbiology, cellular and molecular biology, chemistry, food product development, nutrition science, behavioral innovations, exercise equipment, etc.

Engineering – mechanical, electrical, materials, bioengineering, aeronautical, chemical, sound, automotive (including smart cars) and environmental engineering, etc.

Science and Technology – computer science, Earth and planetary science, bioinformatics and genomics, biochemistry, etc.

The Phase Two and winning teams in the competition are selected without regard to the categories, so each category will not necessarily be represented in the various phases, and some may be represented more than once.

Step 2

Sign up to participate. You, along with each student on your team, must create an individual profile.

Step 3

Students are required to obtain parental consent to participate. After they sign up to participate, their parent or guardian will receive an email with instructions for providing consent.

Step 4

Encourage and inspire students to make their idea come to life! During this phase, direct them toward resources, set up meeting times, keep them on track, and offer practical suggestions as well as encouragement to keep going.

Each team will submit a two-page description of its project idea by the Phase One deadline. The teams submitting the top project abstracts (up to 20 teams) as chosen by regional experts will continue in the competition. Each of those teams will receive $1,000 to develop their projects and cover their expenses.

For complete contest requirements, download the A.H. Nickless Innovation Award Official Rules and Regulations.