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Go Carbon Neutral! Challenge 2022

To achieve a carbon neutral future, it is critical that governments, industries, and individuals consider the impact of transportation on our overall carbon footprint. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, transportation accounts for roughly 28% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. In response, communities and organizations have begun to consider specific and measurable steps that can be taken to meet the goal of carbon neutrality. The Museum of Science, Boston firmly believes that, as with all ambitious goals, we will only achieve success if our communities broaden their perspectives and include diverse and fresh voices from future STEM professionals.

To that end, the Museum is proud to partner with General Motors, a company that shares our commitment to promoting and fostering tomorrow’s STEM leaders, as well as institutions across the United States to connect with ambitious STEM students. All undergraduate students currently enrolled at an accredited New England college or university are invited to participate. In 2017, Mayor Martin J. 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.

According to the recently released Carbon Free Boston: Summary Report 2019, Boston’s transportation sector accounts for 29% of the city’s emissions. Go Carbon Neutral! 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. Selected competitors will then network with green technology entrepreneurs and STEM professionals about their ideas, as well as receive training before presenting their ideas to the public at the Museum. Winners will receive cash prizes and opportunities to promote their work within the STEM community!

  • -   Registration and Project Development

    Students interested in competing can register August 19 through September 23, 2022. Individuals or teams registered by the deadline will be prompted to complete a project proposal by September 23, 2022. Project proposals will be reviewed upon receipt and semi-finalists will be notified by September 26, 2022. Information gathered during the application process is 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 are expected to produce a poster presentation explaining the proposed strategy for a transportation challenge. Posters must be completed by October 19, 2022. Semi-finalist proposals will be judged during a poster session display for the general public at the Museum of Science, Boston on October 22, 2022. At least one member of each team must be present at the poster session. Finalist teams from each institution will be selected and informed of their elections by October 24, 2022.

    Finalist teams are expected to produce a three-minute visual presentation of their proposal for display on the Museum of Science, Boston website for public view, as well as a stage presentation of their proposal at the Museum during a Final Competition and Awards Ceremony. Projects must be completed by November 2, 2022. Finalist teams will meet with a judging panel during their final presentations at the Museum on November 12, 2022. Grand prize winners will be informed during an Awards Ceremony on the evening of November 12, 2022.

    Competing teams should be comprised of one to four 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 one student team leader.

  • -   Mentorship During Project Development

    The Museum of Science is excited to connect participants with a range of networking and mentorship opportunities through our variety of local government, transportation, and corporate partners. Semi-finalists will be invited to share their projects and work directly with partnering mentors to better develop and promote their proposals. Finalists will be paired directly with a mentor working within their field of interest.

    The Museum of Science, Boston will host networking and mentor sessions throughout this year’s challenge, both in-person and virtually.

  • -   Semi-Finalist and Finalist Project Design

    Each Go Carbon Neutral! semi-finalist team must design a poster presentation (no larger than 48” x 60”) about their selected carbon neutral challenge and the impact of their proposed strategy and/or solution. A PDF of the poster must be submitted to Museum of Science representatives no later than 11:59 pm ET on October 19, 2022. The poster produced will be presented to the public at the Museum of Science on October 22, 2022. At least one member of each semi-finalist team must be present for this event. During the event, a judging panel will view the posters and competitors will have the opportunity to clarify project specifics and address project strengths and weaknesses. Competitors will be scored by their judges in order to determine teams that advance as finalists.

    Each Go Carbon Neutral! finalist team must design a (maximum) three-minute audio/visual presentation of their selected carbon neutral challenge and the impact of your proposed strategy and/or solution. Video presentations must be submitted on or before 11:59 pm, November 2, 2022. The video presentation will be posted on the Museum of Science, Boston website for a public vote. In addition, finalists will be asked to present their proposals on stage at the Museum of Science to a public audience and judging panel on November 12, 2022. At least one member of each team must be present for this event, and stage presentations should not exceed three minutes. A second judging panel will score finalist projects based on strengths and weaknesses, and how well they have adapted their proposal since the semi-finals. The Awards Ceremony will immediately follow presentations on November 12.

  • -   Important Dates
    • Friday, September 23: Deadline to register and submit project proposal
    • Monday, September 26: Semi-finalists informed of elections
    • Wednesday, October 19: Semi-finalist posters due
    • Saturday, October 22: Semi-finalist poster session at the Museum of Science
    • Monday, October 24: Finalists informed of elections
    • Wednesday, November 2: Finalist digital presentations due
    • Saturday, November 12: Finalist Judging and Awards Ceremony
  • -   Judging Criteria and Process

    Semi-finalist proposals 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
    • Inclusivity and accessibility for user group
    • References cited

    Final presentations will be judged on the previous criteria, as well as on the following:

    • All of the previous judging criteria
    • Creativity of presentation
    • Overall understanding of transportation sector and impacts of their proposal
    • How well the team adjusted their proposal to feedback given during the semi-finals

    All finalist teams are required to present a (.mov) file of their video for a public audience on November 2, 2022. The announcement of grand prize winners and an awards ceremony will follow on November 12, 2022.


    All competition materials 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 up to 45 semi-finalist teams based on completed applications. A maximum of 10 finalists will be chosen from completed semi-finalist submissions.


    In consultation with a panel of judges, the Museum Go Carbon Neutral! Challenge staff will review competitor proposals during the public poster session on October 22, 2022. The distinguished judging panel for the competition will include science researchers, science communication professionals, community members, and industry experts. A maximum of 10 finalists will be selected to compete for the grand prize.


    In consultation with a panel of judges, the Museum Go Carbon Neutral! Challenge staff will review all submitted materials to select one (1) grand prize winner, one (1) runner up, one (1) second runner up, and one (1) “People’s Choice” award winner. The distinguished judging panel for the competition will include science researchers, science communication professionals, community members, and industry experts.

    Winners for each of the grand prizes will be announced during an Awards Ceremony on November 12, 2022.

  • -   Prizes

    All semi-finalists receive:

    • Acknowledgement of participation through Museum of Science social media
    • Monetary gift card ($100)
    • $150 in materials reimbursement

    All finalists receive:

    • Monetary gift card ($250)

    Grand prize winners receive:

    • A cash prize (split equally among team members)
      • $3,000 grand prize
      • $2,000 runner-up
      • $1,000 second runner-up
      • $100/team member “People’s Choice” Award
  • -   Complete Rules and Eligibility

    Eligibility Requirements

    Each team member must be:

    • Currently enrolled (full-time or part-time) as an undergraduate student for the fall 2022 semester at an accredited college or university.
    • 18 years or older.
    • Ineligible: employees of the Museum of Science, Boston; minors (younger than 18).


      • To enter, you must complete a Go Carbon Neutral! Challenge registration by 11:59 p.m. ET on September 23, 2022.
      • Semi-finalists must create a single-page poster proposal including team name, team members name, abstract, proposed strategy, and team school affiliations. Semi-finalists must submit completed posters by October 19, 2022 (An electronic PDF of the poster can serve as final submission prior to the public poster session).
      • Finalists must create a maximum 3 min audio/visual presentation of their proposal (.mov format). Finalists must submit completed video files by November 2, 2022. See suggestions under “Judging Criteria and Process" for more detailed information on what to include.
      • 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.
      • All material must be suitable for family audiences.
      • Finalists will allow the Museum of Science to make use of their videos, proposals, and associated materials for educational purposes, with appropriate credit.
      • 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 finalists for up to $150 in documented expenses for materials used in their presentations. Reimbursement may take up to 30 business days.
      • Reasonable accommodations will be made for semi-finalists and 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.
      • Semi-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.