The Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge offers cash prizes and free entrepreneur mentorship in a competition open to all university students around the world who want to design products and services which optimize long life for us all. This year’s challenge focuses on building longevity solutions with cross-generational teams. $17,000 in cash prizes will be awarded, and finalists will receive paid travel to Stanford, where they will present their designs to renowned industry, academic, and government leaders.


The Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge is a global competition that encourages students to design products and services to improve well-being across the lifespan. In its sixth year, the Challenge is focused on ideas supporting longevity through multigenerational design.


  1. Create well-designed, practical solutions that improve well-being across the lifespan by engaging teams of multiple generations
  2. Encourage a new generation of students to become knowledgeable about issues associated with well-being
  3. Provide promising designers with a path to driving change in the world

The basic idea of intergenerational design is to create products and services that work for all ages. All too often, design for longer lives is viewed as accommodating in nature – finding ways to make everyday things work for the “older” population. The 2018-2019 Challenge instead asks participants to start from the assumption that people of all ages have contributions to make, both as designers and as users. In doing so, we week solutions that maximize physical, mental, and financial resources for individuals and families of any age.

Making opportunities in longevity design available to all university students

By almost any measure, longer lives and aging populations are one of the defining trends of the 21stCentury. The Stanford Center on Longevity (SCL) Design Challenge reaches out to university students around the world to create awareness of aging in a younger generation, increasing their preparedness to design for this population and offering a low-risk, practical way to gain exposure to longevity-related opportunities.

A Practical and Inclusive Approach
From inception, a key tenet of the Challenge has been inclusivity. With no cost to enter and travel expenses paid, there are no barriers to entry for students from any location and any economic situation. This is only possible through support from industry sponsors.

Each fall, SCL proposes a longevity-related challenge topic. Student teams from any accredited university in the world may enter a design. Submission is free, and any intellectual property developed remains the property of the teams. Throughout the challenge, SCL hosts a website and social media presence, providing background and inspiration to designers. Entry closes in December and a panel of expert judges selects 5-8 finalist teams. They are awarded $1K for prototyping and assigned a mentor. Funding is provided to travel to Stanford in April and present their designs in competition for a $10K first prize. All finalists also participate in a business plan development workshop hosted by the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Through its network of sponsors and collaborators, SCL works to connect finalists to opportunities to bring their idea to fruition.

Strong Record of Success
In its first five years, the Challenge has:

  • Received ≈300 entries from 28 countries
  • Hosted finalists from as far away as China and Pakistan.
  • Helped teams to productize designs
  • Seen young designers use the experience to land jobs at major companies.

For many finalist teams, the monetary prize is secondary to the opportunity to experience the Silicon Valley as an inventor and connect with a network of companies, investors, and fellow young innovators from around the world.

Large and Growing Opportunity
AARP recently estimated that in the United States alone, annual economic activity by those over 50 is at least $7.1 trillion now and will reach $13.5 trillion by 2032.  The opportunity to serve this market is vast for those with the background and skills to reach this population. Young designers can often overlook older users; the Design Challenge was created with this in mind and structured to allow students to learn and become involved in tangible way.

Globally,the twin phenomenon of increasing life expectancies and decreasing fertility are driving a dramatic shift in age distribution. The universality of this shift means that all businesses, governments, and societies must incorporate it into their strategic plans. They will need a workforce trained in the trends and how to design for an older population.

Challenge 2019: “Contributing at Every Age: Designing for Intergenerational Impact”
We propose that the best approaches are ones that bring people of diverse ages together and that ageism barriers are best broken down by positive experiences. To overcome stereotypes and biases, we need new ideas and tools to help generations engage with one other in productive ways. Designers will work to create products, services, and programs that encourage people of all ages to come together for purposes as varied as:

  • Family
  • Art
  • Work
  • Play
  • Service
  • Travel
  • Education
  • Societal/Political engagement

To emphasize the need to include people of all ages as contributors, the Challenge will for the first time also require that teams include contributors from multiple generations.

Sponsorship Opportunities


  • Includes all benefits of Gold Sponsorship plus Platinum Sponsor recognition on Challenge materials
  • Acts as a strategic partner in creating the structure of the challenge and topic selection
  • Option for SCL presentation at Platinum Sponsor meeting or event


  • Includes all benefits of Silver Sponsorship plus Gold Sponsor recognition on Challenge materials
  • May provide a judge at the Challenge Finals.
  • Is offered access to all designs submitted in December 2018


  • Receives branding and Silver Sponsor recognition on Challenge materials
  • May provide content to educate teams through the challenge website
  • Is offered the opportunity to mentor teams during the incubator period


The challenge is organized into two phases that are synchronized with the 2018-2019 academic year.

Phase I:  September 5 -December 8, 2018

Phase I is the open call portion of the challenge. During this time, teams will learn about the topic and create their solution concept. The Challenge organizing team will be available during this time for questions and to provide contacts for mentoring when possible. Solutions may be submitted at any time during this period, but no judging feedback will be available until January.

Judging Period – December 2018 – January 2019

During this period, our judging panel will select a small number of finalists. Finalists will be announced in mid-January.

Phase II: January 2018 – April 2019

During Phase II, finalists will be asked to further develop their idea and to prepare a presentation to be given at the Awards Ceremony at Stanford University in April of 2015 (exact date TBD). Mentors from corporate partners and industry experts will be available during this period. At the Awards, one team representative will present their idea to the judges who will then pick the First, Second and Third place winners.


  • Kick-off: September 2018
  • Phase I submissions due: December 2018
  • Finalists (5-8) announced: January 2019
  • Finals: April 2019


Cash prizes: $10,000 (1st place), $5,000 (2nd place), $2,000 (3rd place).

    • Finalists receive mentorship and personalized coaching from industry experts and researchers.
    • Finalists receive airfare and hotel reimbursement (up to $1,500 value) for a student to attend the Finals at Stanford University to present their idea to investors and potential customers.
    • Finalists attend an entrepreneurial workshop at Stanford and learn how to take their concept into execution.


The challenge is open to teams of 2-5 students enrolled during the 2018-2018 academic year, attending any accredited university or college globally.  Each team must consist of at least one student and at least additional team member who identifies as being of a different generational cohort from that student.


Any intellectual property developed by a team during participation in the Design Challenge will remain the property of the individual design team, or the team members’ universities or employers, as applicable. The Stanford Center on Longevity and Challenge sponsors reserve the right to publicize designs following submission. Teams interested in intellectual property protection should take any steps necessary to protect patentable inventions, copyrighted work or other intellectual property prior to submission. Team involvement with any of the Challenge sponsors is strictly voluntary. Agreements between teams and sponsors are beyond the reach of Stanford Center on Longevity or Stanford University, and should be arranged separately between the teams and sponsors.


The Challenge will be judged by world experts in design and technology including carefully selected academics with expertise on the topic; executives from technology and consumer goods firms; venture capitalists; and senior representatives from related mission-driven organizations.




Total Prize: $17,000