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University of South Carolina - Clemson COVID Challenge

We are in this together! Ready to be a part of it?

The UofSC-Clemson COVID Challenge is a collaboration between our institutions and more across the state. Our faculty and students will join together in a summer virtual research and design challenge for teams of undergraduates to tackle problems related to the current COVID-19 situation as well as future possible pandemics.


The COVID Challenge is a summer virtual research and design opportunity for teams of undergraduates to work on problems related to the current COVID-19 situation that may also be applicable to future possible pandemics. Teams of students will work with mentors to identify problems and come up with proposed ideas and solutions. In mid-summer, students submit a pitch video of their ideas, competing for the possibility to continue projects to implementation, when feasible.

Checkout Clemson's COVID Challenge Webpage HERE
View Clemson's COVID Challenge Web Info Session: Video | Slides  

Participate in a high impact project this summer - from home!

Join the COVID Challenge!
This is a unique opportunity to work on collaborative projects that address issues related to the current COVID-19 situation. No previous experience is required.

You can work on problems and issues you see in your own communities or address some of the needs identified by faculty and students across South Carolina. There are many problems from a variety of fields that can be addressed for the COVID Challenge: issues in healthcare delivery; public policy; social factors; and the economy.

To solve these issues, we need to work together (while still being safely apart!). This will require students of diverse backgrounds, expertise, and majors. While we realize that you will be at home to work on this, there are many ways you can gain practical skills at home to develop ideas, prototype designs, and create models of your solutions.

We will provide you with support to be able to prototype and perform basic testing of the project. You will work with a team of students and a mentor, who will provide guidance and serve as an advisor. The end of the project will culminate in the creation of a video pitch to sell and explain your idea to a panel of judges. The winners of the video pitch will be featured in a virtual awards ceremony in late June. All students will be invited to present at the Clemson CI Summer Showcase in August in the Watt Center.

ACCEPT the challenge - apply here (hosted by Clemson)

FAQs here (bottom of page; hosted by Clemson)

Faculty are needed to mentor students working on the COVID Challenge.

Please consider helping out, it’s a minimal time requirement and will support our students in staying engaged and addressing current, real-world issues.

Reasons to mentor a student team:

You have ideas to address COVID issues. Great! Mentor a team to help you develop a pitch and work through the initial testing and validation of the ideas. There will be an opportunity for the top projects of the pitch competition to receive additional funding to further validate and implement their ideas.

You aren’t working on COVID related research but want to be a part of this. Great!  Sign up to mentor a team of students. Some students have suggested projects and need a mentor, some extra ideas have been generated that need a mentor and student team, and some project topics/activities would benefit from multiple mentors. This is an opportunity to get involved and help solve some of the problems we’re currently facing.

Teams will be created based on applications received.
Please consider mentoring a team to offer our students the opportunity to stay engaged while at home this summer. Many of our students had internships, REUs, study abroad plans cancelled due to the pandemic. This program is aimed at giving them a meaningful summer research experience and connecting them with a mentor (that’s you!) who might be able to provide them with a reference later.

Sign up to be a mentor here (hosted by Clemson)

Congratulations to all teams and participants for taking part in this challenge!

Winning teams are:
See the videos/project pitches of the winning teams on the Clemson COVID Challenge page here.


Clemson Hayek Center Prize:
Team P6: Correlations between Global COVID-19 Rates and Healthcare/Public Policies

Finalists Teams:
C4 - Be well SC: a SC ETV show
P10 - TRACES: an online tool to connect people in their communities
P11 - Model to plan for PPE/equipment/people in hospitals
S12 - Polaris Mental Health App

Third Place:
E2 - Virtual Reality and Global Experiences
H3 - Low-cost negative pressure space

Second Place:
H2 - Radiosensitizer for COVID treatment

First Place:
H11 - BAM: COVID-19 detection test


Tentative Timeline

May 15 : Registration Deadline
May 22 : Project Teams Finalized
TBA : Video Pitch Submission
TBA : Virtual Open House, Keynote Talk, and Awards Ceremony


The program is supported by: 

University of South Carolina Vice President for Research, College of Engineering and Computing, McNAIR Junior Fellows Program, and Office of Undergraduate Research and
Clemson University Ron and Jane Lindsay Family Innovation Professorship, the CECAS Dean’s Excellence Fund, the Vice President for Research, and the Creative Inquiry & Undergraduate Research Program.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.