cappsciIn the Skild supported Children’s Prize presented by CappSci, challenge administrators are looking for the best and most effective project that proposes to save the greatest number of children’s lives. One winner will be awarded a $250,000 prize to directly execute their proposed project, within two years.

This challenge recently concluded the first phase of judging.  Because they're unable to provide personalized feedback to each contestant, the challenge administrators have posted collective comments based upon the submissions they received this year.  The intent is to provide advice to participants to ensure successful future entry submissions.

Below, we've reposted the eight suggestions from the Children's Prize administrators.

  1. In general, we highly recommend that an outside person proofread the material you plan to submit prior to submitting. This will ensure that your application conveys what you intend while being clear and concise on your plan. Also, this may be especially beneficial for non-native English speakers.
  2. The required criteria for the prize was not adequately addressed and/or met. This includes but is not limited to: the under-five children population was not the primary target, the project population to be served was not clearly stated and specified, the project timeline was too long (3 years and over), lack of a data-oriented approach, and proposal submitted in a language other than English.
  3. The majority of applicants emphasized the problem significantly rather than the proposed solution. In this case, a solutions-focused approach is highly recommended.
  4. Lack of clarity, application was too vague when outlining the project plan. There is a difference between a project idea and a project plan that is ready for implementation. Successful applicants were compelling and established clear goals with measurable outcomes.
  5. There were instances where application questions were not answered directly, sometimes ignored completely or response was insufficient. We suggest that each question be answered as direct as possible.
  6. There were credibility concerns associated with number estimates, proposing a fact/science based project, and the extent of links to community partners outlined. Although you don’t have to be a doctor or part of a large organization to be considered or be successful in the prize process, credibility remains important.
  7. Applicants proposed a significantly low overall impact for the prize funds.
  8. Proposals were  experimental or strictly research focused. In general, successful applicants balanced cost-effective approaches while introducing novel elements to their work in serving and saving lives under-five in a data-driven context.

While these comments are specific to the Children's prize, there are some suggestions that can be applied to submissions for many competitions.  Here's the generalized version:

  1. Proofread your entry.  Better yet, have someone else double check your submission before you submit.
  2. Follow all of the rules and requirements outlined in the challenge guidelines.
  3. Submit the information or solutions that are requested.
  4. Thoughtful, quantitative, detailed solutions are preferred.
  5. Completely answer each question as directly as possible.
  6. Be credible by providing truthful and accurate information.
  7. Submit an entry that maximizes impact.
  8. Focused, balanced, yet novel submissions are key.

So, the next time you're submitting an entry for a challenge, remember to execute these important steps.

Thank you to the administrators of the Children's Prize for allowing us to repost their public comments.

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