Chicago Metro

This IBM EdTech Youth Challenge will focus on environmental issues that concern and impact young adults in the Chicago Metro area and how those issues could be solved, in part, with IBM technologies.
Teams of 2 to 5 students ages 16 through 25 and attending high school or college will have the opportunity to think about a problem relating to environmental sustainability and then design possible solutions to these issues through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cloud.
Students enrolled in a high school or college in the Chicago Metro area will be eligible to form teams to compete in the EdTech Youth Challenge, subject to the eligibility requirements listed in the competition rules and regulations.
Our Partners
We're proud to be partnering with the Wildlife Habitat Council for this competition. The Wildlife Habitat Council empowers and recognizes habitat and conservation education programs around the world.

Environmental issue areas

Air quality

Chicago is the 18th most polluted city in the United States. Air pollution can increase the risk of chronic illnesses like heart and lung diseases and contribute to worse outcomes for people living with certain health conditions.

Water quality

In recent years, concerns about lead contamination in the water supply in the Chicago area has resurfaced as an important environmental issue. Other issues facing the community's water quality include plastic pollution in waterways, sewer overflow and regional flooding.

Biodiversity loss

Urbanization, invasive species and other disturbances have caused habitat loss and contributed to population declines of many plant and animals including bird species and pollinators. How can this loss be reversed in the Chicago Metro area?

Access to outdoor recreation

Benefits of outdoor recreation on physical and mental health and overall well-being are broadly established. Unfortunately, in Chicago, like many urban areas, disinvestment in neighborhoods spills over into green spaces, which are then often poorly maintained or nonexistent.

Applying technologies to social issues


Artificial intelligence enables computers and machines to mimic the perception, learning, problem-solving, and decision-making capabilities of the human mind.

Learn more →


Cloud computing is on-demand access, via the internet, to computing resources—applications, servers (physical servers and virtual servers), data storage, and more—hosted at a remote data center managed by a cloud services provider (or CSP).

Learn more →

We understand that AI and Cloud are broad topics. If you are interested in honing your proposal to a more specific technology, you can learn about the following, in addition to the core competencies above.

Blockchain →

Chatbots →

Cybersecurity →

IBM Garage →

Internet of Things (IoT) →

Predictive Analytics →

Competition overview

Competition launch & registration

Details of the competition will be announced, registration will open, and participants can gain access to online resources.


Project exploration, design, & build

Student teams will learn about AI and Cloud and apply their learning to a project.


Submission deadline

Teams submit their final projects for judging in the Chicago Metro EdTech Youth Challenge.



Four (4) teams will be selected as semi-finalists. The semi-finalist teams will then attend a virtual one-day design session to build out their solution ideas with the help of experts from IBM, the Wildlife Habitat Council, and our partners. At the end of the design session, one (1) winning team will be announced.


Awards ceremony

An awards ceremony will be held following the announcement of the winning team.


The prize

The winning team will have a virtual 2 week-long internship with experts from IBM and our partners to implement their solutions.

  1. 01 April 2021Competition launch & registration
  2. 01 April 2021Exploration, design, & building projects begins
  3. 01 October 2021Formal registrations close
  4. 15 October 2021Initial virtual design session and checkpoint #1
  5. 15 November 2021Purpose virtual summit and checkpoint #2
  6. 22 November 2021Submission deadline
  7. 01 December 2021Semi-finalist teams announced
  8. 10 December 2021Virtual design workshop for semi-finalist teams, final presentations, judging, and awards ceremony
  9. To be determinedVirtual immersive experience with IBM and partner experts
Employee participation

Employees from IBM and our partners are eligible to participate in judging, providing technical advisory, design workshop facilitation, and other activities. Please use the link below to register your interest in helping with the Chicago Metro EdTech Youth Challenge.

Register to assist in the Chicago Metro competition →

Rules & regulations

Rules & regulations →