AEM’s Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge offers $150,000 in prizes for infrastructure improvement ideas

Updated Jan 21, 2016

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The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has a launched the Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge  offering $150,000 in prizes for “innovative ideas to overhaul the crumbling infrastructure that Americans rely upon to move people, materials, products, services and information.”

The competition is open to anyone and is categorized in three phases.

The first phase, launched Jan. 19, is the “Complain Phase”. It’s aimed at engaging the public to describe the biggest infrastructure problems facing their specific community. The total prize is $5,000, with the overall winner receiving $2,500 and 10 finalists receiving $250. The deadline is March 15.

The second phase is the “Dream Phase.” Also launched Jan. 19, this phase is designed to solicit new thinking and solutions from non-experts in particular. The total price is $45,000, with five winners each receiving $9,000. The deadine is May 31.

The third phase is the “Build Phase”. The launch and deadlines dates will be determined at a later time. This phase will involve solicitation of plans to implement the solutions from the second phase on a larger scale. The total prize will be $100,000 going to a single winner.

“The United States is the strongest and largest economy in the world and yet the overall quality of our infrastructure is falling dramatically behind our global competitors,” says AEM President Dennis Slater. “AEM’s members thought it was time to break the cycle of patchwork fixes and deferred maintenance and lead the conversation in a different direction. We need to engage innovators who we haven’t heard from before and who have the ability to imagine how people, freight, energy and information will move in the country of tomorrow – even as far out as the year 2050.”

AEM is using the HeroX crowdsourcing model for the competition. More information about the model is available here. “With the HeroX crowdsourcing model, we’re confident we can bring these solutions to life,” Slater says.

“HeroX was founded on our conviction that the crowd – everyday people with great ideas – can and will solve the world’s most pressing problems,” says HeroX CEO, Christian Cotichini. “The Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge moves the U.S. infrastructure conversation beyond traditional political channels for the first time and gives everyone affected by these issues a chance to voice their opinions and find solutions.”