Singularity University opens Global Impact Competition in Miami seeking innovative ideas to address sea level rise

Knight Foundation invests $70,000 to help entrepreneurs engage in local problem-solving and build global connections

MIAMI—Feb. 23, 2015—Singularity University today launched its Global Impact Competition in Miami calling on innovators to answer the question: How would you solve South Florida’s sea level rise challenge and improve the lives of a million people in three to five years by using technology? The competition is supported by $70,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Two winners will receive full tuition to Singularity University’s 10-week graduate studies program in Silicon Valley where they will work in teams with participants from around the world to build out ideas to humanitarian challenges. The competition is open to all U.S. residents, but ideas must focus on the challenge of sea level rise in South Florida. Applications can be submitted online between Feb. 23 and April 17.  Shortlisted applicants will be invited to pitch their ideas during the closing event hosted in Miami.

“With its growing community of innovators and tech entrepreneurs, Miami shows the potential to produce the kind of ideas that can have positive impact both at home and around the world,” said Rob Nail, associate founder and CEO of Singularity University. “Sea level rise poses a real threat to the future of Miami; we look forward to hearing from the innovators who are working to address this problem with technology and to connecting them with changemakers everywhere.”

“The Global Impact Competition offers Miami tech innovators and entrepreneurs a unique opportunity—inviting them to address a local challenge on an international stage,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami. “The hope is that the competition will help forge new connections between Miami entrepreneurs and their counterparts across the globe, while helping to build the city’s network of innovators and problem-solvers so they can work together to address pressing community concerns.”

Singularity’s Global Impact Competitions help identify promising innovators and connect them with mentorship opportunities and training. Hosted around the world by Singularity University – and in partnership with alumni and local sponsors — the competitions call on innovators to address significant challenges within local communities. Winners of each competition are awarded tuition to the Singularity University’s Graduate Studies Program, hosted at Singularity’s Silicon Valley campus at NASA Research Park in Mountain View, Calif. At the end of the program, participants are encouraged to return to their communities and share lessons learned, while working to implement their ideas. 

“Singularity University’s goal in conceiving the Global Impact Competitions is to attract a multi-cultural, highly diverse cadre of capable, innovative entrepreneurs and future leaders to our Graduate Studies Program, where we can then prepare them to return to their home regions to implement new solutions and train others in social entrepreneurship,” said Nail. “The core curriculum of the Graduate Studies Program is structured to provide a broad, cross-disciplinary understanding of the biggest ideas and issues in disruptive technologies, and to empower participants with the tools, knowledge, skills and mindset for delivering real humanitarian impact at multiple levels.”

The 2015 Singularity Graduate Studies Program runs from June 13 to Aug. 23, 2015.  Participants spend the first four weeks on education and training. The balance of the course is spent developing tech-based solutions to pressing community challenges.  Participants build out their projects with support from university mentors and experts in the tech and entrepreneurial arena.

Support for the Global Impact Competition forms one part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to invest in Miami’s emerging innovators and entrepreneurs as a tool to build community, while fostering talent and expanding opportunity. Over the past two years, Knight has made more than 90 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida. 

To apply to Singularity’s Miami Global Impact Competition visit

About Singularity University

Singularity University is a Benefit Corporation with a mission to educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges. SU is committed to creating positive global impact through the billions of people who benefit from our programs and activities in three core areas: education, innovation and community. Located on the campus of NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley, SU offers educational programs for corporations, entrepreneurs, NGOs and government leaders; SU Labs, a business accelerator for startups and collaboration with Fortune 500 companies; and Global Impact Partnerships. For more information regarding Singularity University’s Graduate Studies Program (GSP), Global Impact Competitions (GICs) and to participate as an applicant or sponsor, contact Regina Njima at [email protected] or visit

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit


Diane Murphy, Singularity University, 202-361-9681, [email protected]

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, [email protected]