Frequently Asked Questions

Note that this page has not been updated for the Fall 2021 competition.

Q: Who can participate in the JUMP into STEM challenges?

A: JUMP into STEM is for undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in a U.S. college or university and who are 18 years of age or older. Be sure to read the JUMP into STEM Terms and Conditions for specific rules and requirements. Also review the JUMP into STEM Building Technologies Internship Program (BTIP) application. The internship opportunity must be declined or internship applications must be begun when the ideas are submitted.

Q: When do I need to submit my internship application?

A: You must begin your internship application or decline to be considered for an internship before or at the same time as you submit your idea. All internship applications must be complete by November 20, 2020. Be sure to visit the JUMP into STEM Terms and Conditions for specific rules and requirements. Also review the JUMP into STEM Building Technologies Internship Program (BTIP) application.

Q: What should my submission look like?

A: Please review the Submission Requirements and Rules document.

Q: What do I gain from participating?

A: Finalists from the “What if” Challenge Series will be invited to participate in a virtual JUMP into STEM finalist event to compete for the Grand Finalist Award: a 2021 paid 10-week summer internship (subject to eligibility and available funding) at either Oak Ridge National Laboratory or the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Winners will be invited to collaborate on a JUMP into STEM webinar to present on their idea and opportunities for high-performing buildings and sustainable communities. The winners and the webinar will be promoted on social media. The best ideas may also be considered for future research and development collaboration.

Q: Can I participate as an individual?

A: No, participants must submit ideas as a team of 2-4. Diversity of disciplinary field and gender within the team are part of the judging criteria. Participants must all be 18 years of age or older and currently enrolled in a U.S. college or university. See the Terms and Conditions for more information.

Q: What are the review criteria for participating teams?

A: Team submissions will be evaluated for impact on technical potential, innovation, and diversity. Complete evaluation criteria for the challenges and final event can be found in the Rules document.

Q: I am not a legal resident of the United States. Can I participate in JUMP?

A: Yes! Non-U.S. residents may apply as long as they attend college in the United States!

Q: What type of ideas should I submit?

A: JUMP into STEM challenges are generally focused on cultivating innovation for energy-efficient technologies for the residential and commercial building markets. These could be related to equipment and appliances, system/buildings integration, sensors and controls, and/or envelope technologies. Submitters may post more than one idea within the same call-for-innovation category. Qualified ideas must follow these guidelines:

Q: I would like to participate and submit an idea, but I am concerned about the security of my intellectual property. How does this work?

A: All submissions to the JUMP into STEM challenges remain the intellectual property of the individuals or organizations that developed them. By providing a submission to a challenge, you grant to UT-Battelle, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the other supporters a royalty-free license to (i) use your submission; (ii) post your submission(s) on and other DOE and associated sites; and (iii) publicize the names, likenesses, photographs, voices, opinions, and/or hometowns and states in any media, worldwide, of call-for-innovation participants (including the individual members of a team) through social media and events of UT-Battelle’s or DOE’s choosing without any payment or other consideration. Such license shall remain in force in perpetuity. In addition, no submissions to calls for innovation amount to any express or implied contracts with any of the supporters of such challenges, including, but not limited to, UT-Battelle or DOE.

Q: Can I include pictures, drawings, and videos with my idea submission?

A: If a picture or drawing would add value to your submittal we encourage you to include it; however, your submission must still be within the page limits. Unless specifically requested in the challenge description, videos (or links to videos) should not be included.

Q: Can I include an appendix with my submission?

A: Yes, you may submit an appendix. However, the appendix is optional and might not be reviewed by the judges.

Q: Can I edit my idea after submitting?

A: No, you may not edit your idea after submitting. If an error was made during the upload process, please contact us.

Q: I posted an idea, but I can’t see it. What do I do?

A: All of the ideas posted on the JUMP website must be approved by a moderator. Additionally, each team member must have begun their internship application or declined to be considered for an internship prior to the idea being posted. Please allow the moderators up to 2 business days to review and approve your idea and confirm that each team member has begun their internship application or declined to be considered for an internship.

Q: I work at one of the labs or DOE. Can I participate?

A: Employees of the U.S. Department of Energy, UT-Battelle LLC, and its parent and affiliate companies, its subcontractors, as well as immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings, and children) and household members of each such employee, may participate in the JUMP into STEM challenges; however, their ideas are not eligible for awards. See official Terms and Conditions.

Q: What role do judges play?

A: The judges follow a general review process:

The judging panel includes at least 3 judges:

Q: What does the schedule look like for each JUMP into STEM Challenge?

A: Each challenge adheres to the following general schedule:

Visit the Schedule page for current dates.

Q: I have a question unique to me or not addressed elsewhere.

A: We encourage you to submit your question through the “Contact Us” link below. A moderator will respond to your inquiry within two business days.