Eligibility

1. The entry must involve a technology, product, service, or process that belongs to a category (Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, or Infrastructure & Resources) in the 2017 MIT Clean Energy Prize (MIT CEP).

2. Because the MIT CEP is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), to be eligible to win the DOE EERE Clean Energy Prize and go on to represent the MIT CEP at the DOE’s National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition in Washington D.C., the entry must be consistent with the mission and technology portfolio of the EERE.

  • “The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy works to strengthen the United States’ energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality in public-private partnerships. It supports this goal through (1) enhancing energy efficiency and productivity; and (2) bringing clean, reliable and affordable energy technologies to the marketplace.
  • Click here for general EERE restrictions and a more detailed breakdown of example entries that fall either within or outside the scope of the EERE mission space. Note that the EERE excludes fossil (coal, natural gas, oil), nuclear, and carbon sequestration technologies.

3. All entries that fall outside the scope of the EERE mission space will not be eligible for the DOE EERE Clean Energy Prize or be able to represent the MIT CEP at the DOE’s National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition in Washington, D.C.

4. Eligible teams may submit more than one entry in the same or different categories, but they may not submit the same entry to more than one category.

5. It is recognized that eligible entries may fall under more than one category. Entering teams must therefore choose in which category they wish to compete. Teams may consult with the MIT CEP Managing Directors about their category choice before the entry deadline.

6. The MIT CEP Managing Directors reserve the right to re-assign an entry to a different category.

7. Entries must describe an entirely new business. Projects within existing businesses are not eligible for entry.

8. Identical entries may not compete in the MIT CEP more than once. Previous entrants are eligible to re-enter the competition if the business plan has noticeably improved or changed. The MIT CEP Managing Directors have sole discretion to determine whether a business plan is sufficiently improved or changed from a prior entry to be eligible for submission to the competition.

9. To be considered eligible for the competition, teams must be available to attend the MIT CEP Finals judging event and the Grand Prize judging event and clean energy showcase in Cambridge, MA, the weekend of April 14th, 2017.

10.The MIT CEP Managing Directors reserve the right to make a final determination of a team’s eligibility.

Team Membership and Ownership

11. A team must be comprised of at least two individuals.

12. At least 50% of formal team members identified in the competition submission documentation must be enrolled at least as half-time students.

13. Formal team members may be citizens of foreign countries. However, teams with no US citizens may not be eligible for all prizes.

14. U.S. citizens attending universities abroad may participate in the competition, provided that the makeup of the formal team members meets all other criteria.

15. In the case of a for-profit business, (a) for a corporation, Student Members must collectively control at least 50% of the team’s company equity and voting interests upon incorporation; and (b) for other forms of for-profit business entities (e.g., LLCs, partnerships), Student Members must collectively control at least 50% of the voting rights (e.g., to elect the board of directors or other governing body) of the team’s company upon formation of the business entity.

16. In the case of not-for-profit business entities (e.g., 501(c)3), Student Members must collectively control at least 50% of the voting rights to elect the board of directors or other governing body of the team’s business entity upon formation of that business entity.

17. All formal team members must demonstrate ownership by way of right to participate in the election of management in the legal business entity and an equity interest in the case of a for-profit business.

18. Only student members can present the business plan, but all team members (student and non-student) are allowed to answer questions from the judging panels.

19. The Managing Directors and the Judging and Mentor Leads from the MIT CEP Organizing Team may not enter the competition. There are no restrictions for any other members of the MIT CEP Organizing Team, as they will not have access to confidential information regarding the competition or be in a position to influence the judges or judging process.

Team Status

20. Teams that have secured capital in excess of $100,000 prior to the entry deadline are not eligible to enter.

21. Teams that have secured capital less than $100,000 prior to the entry deadline must submit an additional document upon entry disclosing the amounts and sources of capital. (Download Form Here)

22. Teams that have received research or grant funding are eligible to compete, provided that the funding was explicitly awarded for research, technology, or product development activities.

23. Teams that have generated revenue from sales or contracts prior to the entry deadline must submit an additional document upon entry disclosing the amounts and sources of revenue. (Download Form Here)

24. Teams must be incorporated or otherwise organized as a legal business entity in the U.S. and have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) prior to April 14th, 2017, to be eligible to receive the Category Winner and Grand Prize awards. Teams are advised that, in general, the earlier they incorporate or otherwise form their legal entities (e.g., LLCs, partnerships, 501(c)3), the greater the tax benefits.

Content and Intellectual Property

25. All descriptions of business plans contained in competition entries must be the original work of the entrants.

26. All information contained within all materials entered into the competition must be factual.

27. Entrants are not required to be the original creators, inventors, or owners of the intellectual property underlying their business plans. However, teams that rely on intellectual property that has been created or invented or is owned by a third party (“Third-Party IP”) must demonstrate that they have obtained written permission from any such third party to use the Third-Party IP as a basis to support their business plan before April 14th, 2017. Such permission should include not only the general right to rely on the Third-Party IP as a basis for the business plan, but should also include the right to reference or reproduce any figures, images, etc., that are included in the business plan. Full attribution should be given whenever an entrant relies on any Third-Party IP. Teams must also describe the nature and extent of any interactions or agreements they have or have had with Third-Party IP owners as part of the Intellectual Property Disclosure Statement submitted upon entry.

28. Entries should be made with the full understanding of MIT’s regulations on Intellectual Property Rights. It is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure that no third party, such as a research sponsor or research assistant who participated in their research, has any rights on the contents that may prevent its exploitation.

29. Plagiarism of any kind, including reproduction of images or other content without reference to the original source, or without permission from the content owner or creator where appropriate, is strictly forbidden and will result in disqualification from the MIT CEP. The decision to disqualify a team shall be at the sole discretion of the MIT CEP Managing Directors. Any images or other content contained in an entrant’s competition submission materials must include all necessary citations for the team to be eligible for monetary prizes. For more information, please refer to MIT’s Policy on Academic Integrity.

30. Entering teams are expected to take steps to protect the intellectual property described in their entries (whether it be their own intellectual property or Third-Party IP) through appropriate intellectual property filings and notices (patent, copyright, etc.) after seeking independent legal counsel and/or coordinating with the owners of any Third-Party IP. Entering teams are also encouraged to pursue appropriate licensing arrangements with the owners of Third-Party IP, although such licensing arrangements do not need to be finalized to participate in the competition.

31. Entering teams must be prepared to provide documentation to validate any claims that are made concerning the intellectual property underlying their business plans, including any claims concerning the licensing of Third-Party IP.

32. Entries that include software as a component should make clear which elements of the software product have been created by the team. It is the responsibility of such entrants to ensure they have acquired all necessary rights to the elements of the software product that are not the sole property of the team and are necessary for executing the business plan.

Confidentiality

33. Only the MIT CEP Managing Directors, the Judging and Mentor Leads from the MIT CEP Organizing Team, and the Judging Panels will have access to entry materials. Prize sponsors do not have access to entries. Entering teams must recognize that any information submitted through entries is at risk of “public disclosure”.

34. The Organizing Team, Judging Panels, Mentors, Sponsors, and other affiliates of the MIT CEP will not enter into non-disclosure agreements with entering teams.

Judging

35. Written feedback will be provided by the MIT CEP Organizing Team for each entry, irrespective of whether the team progresses through the competition.

36. Click here for the judging criteria against which the Judging Panel will assess all business plan submissions to the competition.

37. All prizes are awarded at the discretion of the Judging Panel and all judging decisions are final and not subject to appeal.

38. The MIT CEP Managing Directors, after consultation with the Judging Panel, reserve the right not to award a prize should no worthy entries be available.

39. Should the Judging Panel identify a concern that, in its opinion, causes the entry to violate the MIT CEP Rules and Conditions of Eligibility then it will advise the Managing Directors as such. The Managing Directors will make the final decision whether to disqualify the entry.

U.S. Department of Energy National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition

40. The top ranked MIT CEP team that falls within the DOE EERE mission space must represent the Northeast region at the U.S. Department of Energy National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition Finals, to be held in Washington, D.C. in June 2017.

41. No Regional Competition business plan (including those entered in the MIT CEP) can win more than one DOE-sponsored prize at the Regional Level (title and money). Click here for a list of the DOE-sponsored competitions. Note, however, that teams are eligible and encouraged to compete in more than one competition. In the event that a team wins another region’s DOE-sponsored Grand Prize prior to April 14th, 2017, the team will still be allowed to compete for the track prize and MIT NSTAR Clean Energy Prize in the MIT CEP Grand Prize judging round on April 14th, 2017. However, in this instance, the team will not be eligible to win the DOE EERE Clean Energy Prize or go onto represent the Northeast region at the U.S. Department of Energy National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition Finals, to be held in Washington, D.C. in June 2017.

Miscellaneous

42. Failure (i) to comply with these Rules and Conditions of Eligibility or (ii) to accurately make any disclosures required by the MIT CEP or its affiliates, as determined at the sole discretion of the MIT CEP Managing Directors, may result in disqualification from the MIT CEP and/or the requirement that any MIT CEP awards be forfeited and/or returned.

43. These Rules and Conditions of Eligibility may be revised periodically by the MIT CEP. In the event that they are changed after an entrant’s contest submission has been received, but prior to the contest judging, such entrant shall have the opportunity to make any changes to its submission to ensure compliance with the most recent Rules and Conditions of Eligibility.

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