Innovation Challenges

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Solve Challenge: Early Childhood Development (closed)

This challenge has closed.
Owner: Solve
Fields of Research: Sociology, Education Systems
Tags: Childhood developement, Childhood education, Education, Cognitive learning
Audience: Other, Subject Matter Experts, Businesses, Start-Ups, Researchers, Students
Anticipated Funding: $10,000
Applications close: July 1, 2019
Last Updated: July 1, 2019 10:42 PM
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The Challenge

Inadequate early childhood development exacerbates inequality and reduces economic growth. If children do not reach their optimum development—socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively—by the time they enter school, it could mean earning around one-quarter less in income as an adult. If every child in their earliest years receives the quality, affordable support and care to develop the learning and cognitive skills they need to reach their full potential, we can help level the playing field and set them—and our societies—up for a more equitable and prosperous future.

The first few years of life represent the crucial window of peak brain development where more than 1 million new neural connections are formed every second. Yet, millions of children under the age of five—including 250 million in low- and middle-income countries—are at risk of falling behind in their developmental growth due to extreme poverty, lack of early stimulation and learning, poor nutrition, and exposure to violence and neglect. This is particularly true of those most vulnerable to the stress experienced in humanitarian emergencies and conflict settings, which can lead to physical, mental, and behavioral issues in adulthood. Even in developed countries such as the United States, a child who enters kindergarten unprepared is 25 percent more likely to dropout of high school and 60 percent more likely not to go to college.

Children succeed when provided with quality nutrition, protective home environments, opportunities for social and physical exploration, and cognitive stimulation through positive play and responsive caregiver-to-child interactions. In fact, research shows 13 percent in societal returns when communities invest in comprehensive and high-quality early education for children under five. The time is now, and the responsibility is ours to guarantee all children in their earliest years receive the nurturing care, development, and learning they need for bright futures.

Solve is seeking technology-based solutions that improve learning and cognitive outcomes for children under the age of five that:

  • Reduce barriers to healthy physical, mental, and emotional development for all children, particularly among vulnerable populations and those affected by conflict;

  • Enable parents and caregivers to support their children’s overall development and provide positive and safe surroundings;

  • Promote exploration, early literacy skills, and language experimentation in preparation for primary school; and

  • Decrease inequalities, including stereotypes and discrimination based on gender, religion, race, or class, among children beginning at birth.

Eligibility Criteria

Solver Funding, Prize, and Partnership Eligibility for the Circular Economy Challenge

Solver Funding

All solutions selected for Solve’s four current Global Challenges will receive a $10,000 grant funded by Solve. Solver teams will be selected by a panel of cross-sector judges at Solve Challenge Finals during UN General Assembly week in New York City on September 22, 2019.

In addition to Solve funding, Solver teams who also fulfill the criteria below are eligible for the following prizes and partnerships. You do not need to meet these requirements to apply to the Circular Economy Challenge:

Schmidt Futures Prize for AI Innovations

Solutions that are propelled by advanced computing techniques or that leverage artificial intelligence to address the Challenge are eligible for the Schmidt Futures Prize for AI Innovations. This prize is made possible by Schmidt Futures, which aims to advance society through technology, inspire breakthroughs in scientific knowledge, and promote shared prosperity. Up to four recipients will be selected for the Schmidt Futures Prize for AI Innovations and will receive $50,000 each after being selected as a Solver during Solve Challenge Finals in September. Eligible Solver teams may be selected from any of Solve's four current Global Challenges.

Terms and conditions

For complete details on the terms and conditions that govern the Early Childhood Development challenge please refer to the website.

How to apply

To submit an application the Early Childhood Development challenge please refer to the website.

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Click on the page most relevant to you or learn more about how you can get involved:

ACT Government
Australian Access Federation
Australian National University
CBR Innovation Network
University of Canberra
University of Technology Sydney
Western Sydney University
The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
The Conversation Media Group
IP Australia
Clarivate Analytics
The Australian Research Council