• Array

2020 Go Carbon Neutral!
A Transportation Challenge

Supported by General Motors

In partnership with Greentown Labs

New England college students — are you up for an exciting undergraduate STEM challenge? Create a winning solution for reducing carbon emissions in Boston's atmosphere and you could win a cash prize.

Apply Now

+ - Background

In 2017, Mayor Walsh set forth the goal for the City of Boston to be carbon neutral by 2050. The Green Ribbon Commission recently released a report that identifies specific and measurable steps the City of Boston must take to meet this goal. To achieve this, our community needs the fresh perspective of future STEM professionals.

We are excited to connect with our region’s ambitious STEM students—all undergraduate students currently enrolled at accredited New England colleges or universities are invited to participate.

According to the recently released Carbon Free Boston: Summary Report 2019, Boston’s transportation sector accounts for 29% of the city’s emissions. Challenge participants will be tasked with creating a strategy to reduce the greenhouse gases produced by Boston’s transportation systems. Transportation categories may include but are not limited to energy, fuel, infrastructure, alternative vehicles, or modes of transportation.

Applicants will choose a transportation challenge and propose a strategy and/or solution, and semi-finalists will present their ideas at a culminating event at the Museum of Science on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22. Winners will receive cash prizes, and opportunities to promote their work within the STEM community!

+ - Registration and Project Proposals

Students interested in competing can register between January 15 – February 28, 2020. Individuals or teams registered by the deadline will be prompted to complete a project proposal by March 20, 2020. Project proposals will be reviewed upon receipt and semi-finalists will be notified on a rolling basis. Information gathered during the application process will be private and confidential and used only for semi-finalist selection purposes and not shared beyond the Museum of Science Go Carbon Neutral! Challenge review committee. Semi-finalist teams should be expected to produce a poster explaining your proposed strategy for a transportation challenge. Projects must be completed by April 17, 2020.

Semi-finalist teams should be comprised of 1 – 4 people. Schools may be represented by more than one team, and students on a given team may represent different schools. We strongly encourage students' teams to have diverse STEM majors and perspectives.

Each team will require 1 student team leader.

+ - Poster Session and Presentation

Each Go Carbon Neutral! semi-finalist team must design a visual display about your selected carbon neutral challenge and the impact of your proposed strategy and/or solution. A poster PDF must be submitted on or before April 17, 2020, prior to the poster presentation and judging which will take place at the Museum of Science on April 22, 2020.

+ - Important Dates

  • Friday, February 28: Deadline to begin application
  • Friday, March 20: Deadline to submit final application
  • Wednesday, March 25: Semi-finalists informed of elections
  • Friday, April 17: Deadline to submit final poster PDF
  • Wednesday, April 22: Poster and pitch presentation event, followed by judging and awards ceremony

+ - Judging Criteria and Process

Your final poster will be judged on the following:

  • Name of team members and school affiliations
  • Transportation system challenge addressed
  • Abstract and proposed strategy
  • Technologies required for strategy — those that exist, those that still need improvement, and those still to be developed
  • Efficiency/sustainability of strategy
  • Data or physical model of strategy and/or solution (as appropriate and if resources allow)
  • Benefits and challenges of implementation
  • Accessibility for user group
  • References cited

All semi-finalist teams are required to present their posters to judges and general Museum audiences on April 22, 2020. At least one member from each team must attend this event. The announcement of finalists and an awards ceremony will follow.


All competition materials will be checked will be checked for eligibility and rules compliance by the Museum of Science Go Carbon Neutral! Challenge staff.


In consultation with outside experts, the Museum of Science Go Carbon Neutral! Challenge staff will select 10 – 20 semi-finalist teams based on completed applications.


In consultation with a panel of judges, the Museum of Science Go Carbon Neutral! Challenge staff will review electronically submitted poster PDFs (due April 17, 2020) and in-person poster session (on April 22, 2020) in order to select one (1) grand prize winner, one (1) runner up, and one (1) second runner up.

During the culminating event on April 22, 2020 semi-finalists will bring posters and set up at the Museum of Science in the afternoon with final judging to follow. The distinguished judging panel for the competition will include science researchers, science communication professionals, community members, and industry experts. After the judging session all semi-finalists are invited to stay at the Museum for the awards ceremony where three finalists will be announced.

+ - Prizes

All semi-finalists receive:

  • Go Carbon Neutral! Challenge award certificates
  • Professional photos
  • Acknowledgement of participation through Museum of Science social media
  • $500 per team for materials and transportation
  • Monetary gift card

All finalists receive a cash prize (split equally among team members).

+ - Complete Rules and Eligibility

Eligibility Requirements

Each team member must be:

  • Currently enrolled (full-time or part-time) as an undergraduate student for the spring 2020 semester at an accredited New England college or university.
  • 18 years or older.
  • Available (at least one member of the team) to facilitate their poster presentation at the Museum of Science on April 22, 2020.

Ineligible: employees of the Museum of Science, Boston; minors (younger than 18).


  • To enter, you must complete a Go Carbon Neutral! Challenge application by 11:59 p.m. EST on February 28, 2020.
  • Semi-finalists must create a 48 by 36-inch poster including title, abstract, proposed strategy, team member names, and team school affiliations. See suggestions under “Judging Criteria and Process" for more detailed information on what to include.
  • Semi-finalists may — but are not required to — use slides, props, and/or demos.
  • All material must be original or used with permission, with rights cleared for worldwide internet posting and/or with appropriate acknowledgment and credit.
  • Specialized materials and equipment are permitted, as long as they can be safely transported to the Museum and pose no safety risks in a museum environment. For specific guidelines, see the Guest Educator Safety Program or consult with Museum of Science Competition staff. (For example, liquid nitrogen and open flames are prohibited.)
  • All material must be suitable for family audiences.
  • Semi-finalists will allow the Museum of Science to make use of their posters and associated materials for educational purposes, with appropriate credit.
  • At least one person from each team must be present on April 22, 2020 for the poster presentations and judging session.
  • Prizes will be split evenly between team members; each team member will be paid separately.
  • Semi-finalists will sign a photo/video release.
  • The Museum will reimburse semi-finalists for up to $500 in documented expenses for materials used in their presentations and travel expenses. Reimbursement may take up to 30 business days.
  • Reasonable accommodations will be made for semi-finalists with disabilities. Deaf and hard-of-hearing entrants may request an ASL interpreter; please request at least two weeks in advance.
  • The Museum cannot be responsible for loss or damage to materials or equipment.
  • Finalists living and working in the US on certain types of visas may be subject to restrictions regarding the cash portion of the prizes.
  • The Museum of Science reserves the right to modify or cancel the competition at any time for any reason, including but not limited to an insufficient number of qualified entries received.
  • The Museum of Science has the final say on any point not clearly outlined in the entry rules.