AI Innovation Challenge

Discover. Innovate. Transform.

Are you an undergraduate, graduate student, or faculty member who is passionate about AI and its potential to augment various aspects of our lives? Then join the UCI ANTrepreneur Center AI Innovation Challenge! 

Open to the entire UCI community (regardless of background or skill level), the AI Innovation Challenge asks participants to form teams and create AI-driven solutions that fall into one of three distinctive categories: Storytelling & Entertainment, Health Impact, and Student Experiences.

In Cash Prizes

For 1st Place

For 2nd Place

For 3rd Place

Our Mission

Our mission is to empower every participant, regardless of their background, to harness the transformative power of AI. Through collaboration, education, and innovation, we strive to address real-world challenges and foster a future where AI not only complements human endeavor but elevates it. Together, we’re not just exploring the potential of AI—we’re defining its future.

Three Tracks for Teams to Pick From:

AI in Health Impact

Sponsored by UCI Health and Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) Research Institute 

This track asks participants to examine the current state of the medical system and develop solutions to empower patients, identify and reduce health risks in the community, and optimize healthcare services.

Solutions in this track should highlight the power of AI in patient care for risk reduction and its instrumental role in enhancing diagnostics and treatment—be it through precise disease identification or crafting personalized treatment plans. Participants are also encouraged to explore how AI can optimize medical practices in various settings, from hospitals to clinics, to ensure the utmost benefit for patients.

*This track has a special team eligibility criteria 

AI in Storytelling & Entertainment

Sponsored by Beall Applied Innovation

This track explores the intersection of AI technology and the art of storytelling. Participants are encouraged to push the boundaries of creativity and narrative innovation with techniques that leverage AI to empower the human creator to enhance and expand their work product and art.

Storytelling includes (but is not limited to) the world of entertainment and gaming and spans all disciplines from social science and humanities to science and engineering. 

AI innovations in this track may include a project that composes music transcending cultural boundaries, a technology that personalizes a child’s reading experience, or tools that revolutionize the way we engage with legal narratives.

AI in Student Experiences

Sponsored by UCI Student Affairs, UCI Student Life and Leadership, Associated Students of UCI (ASUCI), UCI Office of Information Technology, and UCI Office of the Vice Chancellor for Data and Information and Technology

This track focuses on enhancing the university journey for students through the power of AI. Participants will delve into areas that deeply impact student life and beyond, such as personalized campus services, student well-being and mental health, student learning and academic success, and smart campus infrastructure. This track aims to optimize the student experience and empower students to thrive academically, emotionally, and socially.

Entries in this track should aspire to create a more inclusive, connected, and enriching campus environment for all.



Kickoff and Team Formation at the ANTrepreneur Center

5:00pm – 8:00pm

Join us for an exhilarating kickoff event where inspiring voices from both UCI and the AI industry will unite to ignite your creative spark! Recruit a team or join a team. It’s more than an event; it’s the start of your AI journey!

*Teams must be formed by 11:59pm on October 25

(Team registration link coming soon)



Semi-Finals Submission Deadline


Teams will submit a compelling five-minute video pitch introducing their AI solution and describing the positive impact it has on the world. Our esteemed panel of judges will review each submission, looking for the ideas with the most potential and the ideas that best embody the spirit of innovation and align with the Challenge’s mission.

Following the judging panel’s evaluation, the top 15 finalists (three in each track) will be announced on December 6. These teams will move on to the grand finale. So, bring your A-game and let your ideas shine!




The Grand Finale!

4:00pm – 8:00pm

Mark your calendars for the electrifying climax of the AI Innovation Challenge! This is where your team’s hard work, innovation, and vision will take center stage. Hosted at the UCI Beall Applied Innovation (BAI), teams will have seven minutes to deliver a live pitch that could set the course for AI’s future. This pitch isn’t just about the competition; it’s about showcasing your refined, actionable vision for AI solutions that could make a real-world impact. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pitch your idea to a live audience, gain invaluable feedback, and get the chance to bring your AI dream to life. 

Key Sessions



Video Pitch Training

5:00pm – 7:00pm



Hack Day / Mentor Mixer

5:00pm  – 8:00pm


Event Partners and Sponsors

The AI Innovation Challenge is made possible thanks to support from: the UCI Office of Data and Information Technology, UCI Office of Information Technology, UCI Beall Applied Innovation (BAI), UCI Health, the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, UCI Health, UCI Student Affairs, UCI Student Life and Leadership, Associated Students of UCI (ASUCI), Blackstone LaunchPad, Siemens, Mendix, Amazon Web Services (AWS), UCI Division of Undergraduate Education, and UCI Graduate Division.

If you are interested in sponsoring this event, fill out this form for additional information.

Students presenting their product ideas to a panel of judges and a live audience at The Cove at UCI


The semi-finals of the AI Innovation Challenge are a pivotal moment in our competition journey. Scheduled for November 26, 2023, teams are required to submit a compelling five-minute pitch video that encapsulates the essence, potential, and innovation of their AI-driven solution. This stage is designed to test the depth, applicability, and foresight of each idea presented. Our esteemed panel of judges will deliberate from November 27-30, meticulously evaluating each pitch based on its merits, alignment with the challenge’s goals, and potential impact. By December 6, the top 15 finalists will be announced, marking the teams that will advance to the grand showdown on January 12, 2024.

The Pitch Finals 

The finals represent the culmination of hard work, innovation, and the spirit of the AI Innovation Challenge. Set for Friday, January 12, 2024, at UCI Beall Applied Innovation (BAI), this stage is where our finalists will present a refined and polished vision of their AI solution. Teams will be expected to deliver a seven-minute live presentation, supplemented by a comprehensive pitch deck. This is their moment to shine, to showcase the viability, potential, and transformative power of their AI solution. Our judges will be looking for thoroughness, forward-thinking, and alignment with the overarching goals of the challenge. By the end of this exhilarating day, winners will be crowned, marking the conclusion of their journey of creativity, learning, and technological advancement.

Students presenting their product ideas to a panel of judges and a live audience at The Cove at UCI

Workshops for Health Impact Track

Lois Sayrs, PhD, CHOC

10/20/2023 4:00pm – 4:55pm

Donny W. Suh, M.D., FAAP, MBA, CHOC

10/20/2023 5:00pm – 5:50pm

Jonathan H Watanabe, PhD, PharmD, UCI

10/23/2023 5:00pm – 5:55pm

Louis Ehwerhemuepha, PhD, CHOC

12/1/2023 9:00am – 9:55am

Yama Akbari, MD, PhD, FNCS, UCI

12/8/2023 9:00am – 9:55am

Ashish Chogle, MD, MPH, CHOC

12/19/2023 09:00am – 9:55am

Become a Mentor, Speaker, and/or Judge

The AI Innovation Challenge is more than a competition—it’s a platform that propels these bright minds into action. By enabling students to tap into their innate creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, we are not only unlocking the door to the future but also empowering them to turn the key.

– Ryan Foland

UCI ANTrepreneur Center


Who can participate in the AI Innovation Challenge?

In all three tracks, undergraduates, graduate students, Ph.D. students, clinicians, and faculty can participate.

NOTE: If UCI intellectual property (IP) is used by AI Innovation Challenge teams, they will need to consult with UCI Beall Applied Innovation (BAI) to fully understand ownership of the IP.

NOTE: If UCI undergrads recruit UCI faculty and/or grad students to their team, the undergrads might lose control of their idea/IP. For more information about your specific team’s ideas/IP, you will need to consult with UCI BAI.

NOTE: Teams competing in the Health Impact track must have a minimum of two undergraduates and must also have at least one faculty member or graduate student. Teams in the Storytelling & Entertainment and Student Experience tracks must have at least two undergraduates and are able to recruit faculty and/or graduate student team members, but doing so is not mandatory.


How do I form a team?

Teams can be formed with a maximum of five members (and can be six members with an exception). You can start forming your teams or form partial teams prior to the kickoff event at the UCI ANTrepreneur Center on October 16, 2023. You can also show up to the kickoff with no team and find a team to join. We will have a team-building session to help individuals find and form teams. If you don’t find a team at the kickoff, let us know and we can help place you on a team. 

Teams must:

1. Have at least two undergraduate students.

2. Have no more than five core team members (teams can have mentors and advisors that do not count for this number). If your team wants to have six core team members, it must be approved as an exception by the ANTrepreneur Center.

3. Teams in the Health Impact track must have a minimum of two undergraduates, and must also have at least one faculty or graduate student.

4. Teams in the Storytelling & Entertainment and Student Experience tracks must have at least two undergraduates and are able to recruit faculty and/or graduate student team members, but doing so is not mandatory.

Team composition matters. An interdisciplinary team results in a cohesive, synergistic team that correctly utilizes everyone’s strengths for success. Furthermore, having a diverse team can provide insight into potential opportunities. So, consider this while forming your team.

What are the submission requirements for the semi-finals and finals?

For the semi-finals, teams must submit a five-minute video pitch. For the finals, teams are required to submit a 12-slide pitch deck and present a seven-minute live presentation.

What criteria will be used to evaluate submissions?

Submissions will be evaluated based on various criteria, including team and vision, product overview, market analysis, go-to-market strategy, scalability, ethical awareness, security mitigation, and future considerations.

How are the semi-finals and finals judging processes different?

In the semi-finals, evaluation is focused on discerning the depth, applicability, and foresight of each idea. In the finals, the objective is to delve deeper into the potential and viability of each AI solution. Teams are expected to showcase a more polished vision at the finals.

When are the semi-finals judging deliberations and finalist selections?

The deliberations and finalist selections will take place from November 27-30, 2023.

How can mentors support the teams?

Mentors, which can include staff, faculty, alumni, and community members, will act as advisors, providing teams with their expertise throughout the challenge.

For the Health Impact Track, there are six mentoring sessions:

1. Lois Sayrs, PhD, CHOC – 10/20/2023 from 4:00pm – 4:55pm

2. Donny W. Suh, M.D., FAAP, MBA, CHOC – 10/20/2023 from 5:00pm – 5:50pm

3. Jonathan H Watanabe, PhD, UCI – 10/23/2023 from 5:00pm – 5:55pm

4. Louis Ehwerhemuepha, PhD, CHOC – 12/1/2023 from 9:00am – 9:55am

5. Yama Akbari, MD, PhD, FNCS, UCI – 12/8/2023 from 9:00am – 9:55am

6. Ashish Chogle, MD, MPH, CHOC – 12/19/2023 from 9:00 – 9:55am


How can I find clinical mentors at CHOC UCI

Make sure to sign up for a mentor session and please come prepared with questions. To connect with CHOC clinicians, please contact Nadine Afari, Manager, Research Programs at

Are there any restrictions on how the prize money can be used?

There are no explicit restrictions, but the prize money is intended to help bring the winning AI ideas to life.

I missed the Kickoff event. Can I still participate?

Yes, you can still participate. Please review the guidelines and timelines to ensure you’re up to speed.