UAF, JEDC launch new Arctic Innovation Competition for cash

Posted: Sunday, September 06, 2009

JUNEAU - The University of Alaska Fairbanks, with support from the Juneau Economic Development Council and its SpringBoard program, has launched a new Arctic Innovation Competition in which participants could win cash for their new, useful, feasible and potentially profitable ideas.

The competition is free and open to the public, and anyone with an innovative idea for solving real life problems and challenges can enter and win. Prize money of more than $18,500 will be awarded to the winners.

The AIC originated from UAF professor Ping Lan's research on ways to stimulate, package and trade innovative ideas. In October, MBA students in Lan's Technology and Innovation Management class discussed and endorsed his idea for launching an idea contest in Alaska.

"The Arctic Innovation Competition aims at engaging the public to generate and commercialize new and useful ideas," Lan said. "Alaska's economy relies heavily on underground resources; it should add more creative components. Good ideas can solve problems, real life problems. More than 50 ideas have been submitted to the AIC as of Sept. 1, and more are expected within the next month."

Volunteers from UAF's MBA program then formed an organizing committee for the competition and set up a website: In addition to providing detailed history about the event, tutorials, and other information, the website is the only means of submitting an idea to the competition.

Financial backing came initially from Superior Coffee Alaska, the Fairbanks Economic Development Corp. and the Juneau Economic Development Council, and has since grown to include businesses, academic institutions and government sponsors throughout Alaska.

Entering the AIC is simple. First, identify a problem (it can be your own or anyone else's). Second, figure out a new, innovative solution-one that could be profitable. Third, use a template provided through the AIC website to describe your solution to the problem. And finally, submit your idea to the AIC before Oct. 1.

"This is a chance for Alaskans to display our innovative culture," said Jason Huntsman, of JEDC/SpringBoard. "Many people come up with new ideas when they are frustrated in certain situations and say, 'There's got to be a better way.' If you have ever been annoyed with a problem and thought of a creative idea to fix it, the AIC is the perfect opportunity to help make your idea a reality."

For more information, contact Dr. Ping Lan at 907-474-7688 or; or Jason Huntsman, JEDC/SpringBoard, at 907-523-2329 or To learn more about SpringBoard, visit To learn more about the Juneau Economic Development Council, visit

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