Science is about communication. But if you want to make money... you need to understand the business side of science. This is the basis of Scinapse's Briefcase competition.
Like the USCC, participants work in teams of 2-4 to solve an multi-faceted case problem. The ideal solution relies on an interdisciplinary approach from various fields including chemistry, engineering, Earth sciences, biology, computer science, and physics. This year's case is specifically designed to tackle an industrial problem to counter the USCC healthcare topic.
Teams must then present their solution in a multimedia format for public viewing. It can be a video. It can be an infographic. Ultimately, your idea has to be understood by a theoretical business partner who may or may not be science-literate.
Lastly, teams must submit a budget report. Where are their funds being allocated? What is the justification? This is akin to grant writing or justifying the future industrial tycoon's financial expenses in your project.
Can your team be innovative and business savvy enough to create a research-based proposal that is both practical & full of ingenuity to solve our problem? Scinapse Briefcase 2017 will be open to students in their first or second years of study at Western University & the University of British Columbia only, with registration beginning December 9th, 2016.
Step one: Register
Register for the competition in teams of 2-4. For the inaugural year, Scinapse Briefcase 2017 will be open to students in their first or second years of undergraduate study only at the University of Western Ontario. Briefcase runs independent of the USCC: you can participate in both if you wish. Registration will begin December 2016, ending December 20th, 2016.
This year's case title: "The Balance of Power: The Energy Industry meets Environment." It tackles issues involving triggering earthquakes, water pollution, air pollution, chemical and bioremediation, and our society's high demand for energy.
Step Two: Written Round & Graphic Poster
On December 21st, we will be releasing the case, which includes an outline of the problem your team will tackle, as well as competition outline. You then have three weeks to propose a solution that tackles the real-world problem with support from scientific literature. The competition consists of three parts.
The case will be released online on December 22nd, 2016. Written submissions and budget reports will be due online January 13th, 2017. The multimedia presentation is due January 16th, 2017. For more details regarding submissions, please see the case.
Step Three: Judging
Unlike the USCC, there will only be one round of judging by two groups of judges. Faculty judges will score the submissions and budget reports based on a defined rubric. Meanwhile, all multimedia will be showcased online for public viewing. Anyone can vote for their favourite submission over the course of two weeks.
Winners will be announced on February 15th. Teams ranked within the top 25% will receive the title of "Distinguished Successes." The top three ranking teams will be based on faculty evaluations while the "crowd favourite" team is chosen from online voting. Winning Western teams will be invited to the USCC Conference during the weekend of March 24th – 26th, 2017; the weekend is an opportunity to network with other science students, as well as receive awards for their category. Winning UBC teams will be shipped their awards.
Research & Internship Opportunities. Individuals who are successful in competing in the Mini Case demonstrate teamwork, creativity, and drive. Such traits are recognized in research institutions in hospitals & universities, and are prioritized for research opportunities. In addition to research institutions, our partnering corporations may provide internship or job opportunities to past competition winners.
Learn the business side of science. The moment you have a viable and lucrative application of science, you can have a lot of industrial power! Even if you do not pursue entrepreneurship, the skills you hone will be handy tools in grant applications and research.
Connect & learn with capable and like-minded peers. You may be talking to your future partner, collaborator, or colleague. You will learn about ideas outside your area of study and meet some of the brightest minds across the province to engage in scientific dialogue.
Engage in scientific innovation. The greatest scientific discoveries begin with one idea, and you never know where yours might lead you.
Win. The top teams will be awarded medallions signifying their achievement.
Who is eligible for the competition?
Scinapse Briefcase 2017 will be restricted to students at Western University & UBC, and encourages the participation of students from any educational background to participate. The Briefcase is designed for interdisciplinary ideas to solve real-life problems. This year's problem tackles our society's fight for energy and with it, the detrimental effects on our environment.
What is the competition topic and challenge like?
The topic will vary from year to year. Do not be concerned if the mini case topic is not your “specialty”. The challenge is designed so that all participants have an equal opportunity of succeeding. Please see case files when released for further details.
Who judges the competition?
Professors and graduate students from hospitals, universities and research institutes across Ontario who are studying the area of interest.
Is there a competition fee?
$35 per team (2-4 members).
How are the top scoring teams determined?
Your submission will be judged multiple times by different professors and graduate students from related faculties. The statistical average is then ranked with other submissions to determine the top scoring teams.
What happens to our submissions?
The submissions are your own intellectual property. Hence, you are free to use it in labs, applications, and publications. We will ask for your explicit permission should your work be chosen for a publication by us or any of our affiliates. The multimedia submissions will be removed in March 2017, after the winning team is presented their awards.