Prizes, Rules, and Judging | Information Technology | University of Pittsburgh

Prizes, Rules, and Judging


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  • First Place$4,000 in gift cards

  • Second Place$2,000 in gift cards 

  • Third Place: $1,000 in gift cards


  • First Place$2,000 in gift cards

  • Second Place$1,000 in gift cards 

  • Third Place$500 in gift cards

Innovation Institute Award

  • First place winners in the Code-It and Show-It categories will also be automatically accepted into one of the Innovation Institute’s commercialization programs. They will have the opportunity to work with a business mentor and develop and validate a business plan for their app utilizing the Lean Launchpad methodology. At the end of the program, the app team will have a better understanding of what it takes to get the app to market and can potentially move on to create a startup.



Participation Requirements

  • The Pitt Mobile App Challenge is open to University of Pittsburgh students on all campuses who are active undergraduate Pitt students during the spring 2018 term. Graduate students, faculty, and staff are not eligible to participate.
  • All work on entries must be performed by team members. No work is permitted to be outsourced to other individuals or entities; this includes crowdsourcing. 

Submission Requirements

  • If your entry is based on another entry (for example, if your Code-It entry builds on someone else’s Show-It entry), then your submission must acknowledge the original entry to avoid disqualification. 
  • Entries in this year's Pitt Mobile App Challenge cannot be too similar to the winning ideas, mockups, and prototypes from previous year's Pitt Mobile App Challenges.
  • You may not submit the same app to both the Show-It and Code-It categories.
  • You may participate in both the Show-It and Code-It categories as long as you enter different apps in each category.  
  • The Pitt Mobile App Challenge team will review all entries prior to their publication on the voting site. Entries may be rejected if they do not meet the submission requirements or contain material deemed to be inappropriate.


    • Show-It entries must be submitted as a PowerPoint presentation and contain information about each of the topics described in the template.


    • To be eligible, Code-It entries must not have been submitted to any commercial app store prior to the end of the challenge.
    • Code-It entries must be developed specifically for a mobile platform. Code-It apps must function on a mobile device to qualify as a Code-It submission.
    • The major functionality of a Code-It entry must work for the prototype to be eligible.

Student Voting

  • Undergraduate students will assist in determining the winners in both categories (Show-It and Code-It) through online voting (e.g., “likes”).
  • Voters may like as many submissions as they choose, but they can only like each submission once.
  • Students may promote their submission to gain student votes if they choose to do so. All methods of promotion should follow University policies, guidelines, and standards.   


  • Students' votes will be combined with scores from a judge’s panel vote to determine the winners.
  • Show-It submissions will be judged entirely upon the PowerPoint submission to the contest website.
  • Code-It submissions will be judged based upon a combination of the PowerPoint submission, the uploaded video of the app, and an in-person demonstration of the app and code that one of the team members will present to a judging panel. 
  • The Code-It demonstration must be done on a mobile device or emulator provided by the team that submitted the entry. 

Other Items

  • The identity of entrants will not be revealed to the University community during the voting period. The identities of the winners in each category will be revealed.
  • Team captains are responsible for splitting prizes among team members as they deem appropriate. Pitt Information Technology will not assist teams in prize distribution.
  • The University of Pittsburgh, and Pitt Information Technology, do not maintain the rights to entries made by students into the Pitt Mobile App Challenge. 
  • Pitt Information Technology reserves the right to disqualify any submission or student from the Pitt Mobile App Challenge at any time for any reason. 
  • Pitt Information Technology reserves the right to amend any rule of this competition at any time for any reason. 
  • Students who submit an entry agree to participate in a recorded promotional video, if requested to do so. 
  • Participant contact information may be provided to the University of Pittsburgh's Innovation Institute. The sharing of contact information will provide interested students with an opportunity to take their app submission to the next level and possibly explore options for making their app commercially available. 


Judging Criteria

Winners are determined by a combination of student voting and scores awarded by a panel of judges. Judges evaluate entries using the following criteria. 

  • Originality
    Does the entry have characteristics that make it unique? How does it compare to other apps of its type?  
  • Theme Adherence
    How well does the entry adhere to the theme of the challenge that the submitter selected? Has the submitter successfully identified and communicated a need for their entry? How well does the entry fill the need they have defined?
  • Technical Tie-In
    Does the entry incorporate the best use of technology? Is it missing an obvious enhancement? Does it incorporate unnecessary technology? What technologies does the entry utilize (e.g., Natural Language Processing, Internet of Things, Application Programming Interface, etc.)?   
  • User Experience
    How well can the user intuitively understand how to operate the app? Was everything explained in a clear and complete manner? Does the entry have a "wow" factor?  
  • Completeness
    Is the user left with a lot of questions about the entry's functionality or features? Did the submitter consider all options when creating this entry?  
  • Feasibility
    Does this entry have what it takes to become a marketable app? Is this entry likely to interest potential investors or earn a profit once in an app store? Will consumers actually use this app? Can it be implemented on a large scale?