Frequently Asked Questions

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. To enter and participate in JUMP into STEM, all team members must have an IdeaScale account.
Visit and create an account using your university or college email address. 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. Applications must be submitted at the same time as ideas.

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

A: You should submit your internship application before or at the same time as you submit your idea to IdeaScale. You will be eligible for internships even if you do not become a finalist or winner. 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 do I gain from participating?

A: Finalists from the “What if” Challenge Series will be invited to participate in a JUMP into STEM finalist event to compete for the Grand Finalist Award: a 2020 paid 10-week summer internship (subject to eligibility and available funding). 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. Diversity of disciplinary field and gender within the team are part of the judging criteria; this is a change from previous years. Participants must all be 18 years of age or older and currently enrolled in a U.S. college or university. All team members must have an IdeaScale account. 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.

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

A: Yes! Starting with the 2019–2020 challenges, 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, DOE, or IdeaScale.

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

A: Yes! We encourage you to do so. Anything you can provide that provides a clearer understanding of your idea is welcome.

Q: Can I include an appendix with my submission?

A: Yes, you may include additional information for clarification in an appendix. However, it is not guaranteed that your appendix will be reviewed by the judges. The judges are only guaranteed to review your 3–5 page submission.

Q: Can I edit my idea after submitting?

A: Yes, you can simply click on your idea on your idea page, unless you submitted a hidden idea.

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

A: All the ideas and comments posted on the JUMP website have to be approved by a moderator. Please allow the moderators up to 2 business days to review and approve your comment or idea.

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, including, but not limited to, offering and voting on ideas; however, their ideas are not eligible for awards. See official Terms and Conditions.

Q: What impact does voting have on my idea?

A: One of the unique advantages of the JUMP crowdsourcing community is that it engages users in evaluating and reviewing the ideas through the “voting” and “discussion” functions. The labs, the U.S. Department of Energy, and partners use this information to gauge the market’s interest in the topic. However, a leading number of votes does not guarantee advancement.

Q: I would like to vote, comment, or share an idea. Do I need to register?

A: Yes, only registered IdeaScale users may vote or comment on ideas. All team members must have their own IdeaScale account.

Q: What role to 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 Question link below. A moderator will respond to your inquiry within two business days.