The Secretary of Transportation's RAISE Award will recognize innovative scientific and engineering concepts by students that will have a significant impact on the future of aerospace or aviation.

The Secretary of Transportation is announcing a second-annual award competition to recognize outstanding students who develop unique scientific and engineering innovations in aerospace and aviation. 

We're looking for students at the graduate, undergraduate, and high school level to develop innovative solutions to real-world aviation and aerospace issues, and to share those innovations with the broader academic and business community.

Winners will be formally recognized by the Secretary of Transportation on behalf of a partnership of government and private sector organizations.

To learn more about this challenge, you can read the Secretary's blog post on the 2012 winners and his post on presenting the award to the team.

Group shot of RAISE winners with Secretary LaHood and their teacher
2012 RAISE winners with Secretary LaHood

View full rules

Eligibility

  1. Candidates who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and who have been enrolled for at least two semesters at a high school (or equivalent approved home school program), college, or university are eligible to receive the award.

  2. Students may participate as individuals or in groups.  Each member of the group must meet the above criteria. 

 Further, to be eligible for this challenge, every candidate -

  1. Shall first submit a project in the competition under the rules promulgated by the U.S. Department of Transportation;
  2. Shall agree to execute indemnifications and waivers of claims against the federal government  as provided in the registration materials;
  3. May not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of employment; and
  4. May not be an employee of the Department of Transportation or the Federal Aviation Administration.

A candidate shall not be deemed ineligible because the individual used Federal facilities or consulted with Federal employees during a competition, if the facilities and employees are made available to all individuals participating in the competition on an equitable basis.

Federal grantees may not use Federal funds to develop COMPETES Act challenge applications unless such use is consistent with the purpose of their grant award.

Federal contractors may not use Federal funds from a contract to develop COMPETES Act challenge applications or to fund efforts in support of a COMPETES Act challenge submission.

Requirements

Final submission packages shall consist of the following elements: 

  1. Nomination letter from at least one teacher, advisor, faculty member, and others as appropriate.  The nomination letter(s) must communicate the following accomplishments in two areas:
    1. Technical Merit of the Concept
      Evidence of technical merit based upon teacher (parent or legal guardian in the case of home schooled applicants), advisor, or faculty nomination and evaluation of the submitted proposal, written paper, and/or reports.

    2. Professionalism and Leadership
      Evidence of professionalism and leadership may be in the form of, but not limited to:
      1) Membership and offices held in various groups
      2) Presentations made to various groups, meetings, and at symposia
      3) Leadership in student professional activities
      4) Community outreach activities

  2. An overall summary of the innovation, not to exceed one page, which includes a title of the project and statement of the impact that the innovation will have on the field of aviation or aerospace;
  3. A copy of the student’s academic transcript or certified grade report (as applicable);
  4. A copy of the paper(s) and related materials describing the innovative concept written by the student(s) being nominated (no page limit).

Once submissions have been received, the Department may request additional information, including supporting documentation, more detailed contact information, releases of liability, and statements of authenticity to guarantee the originality of the work.  Failure to respond in a timely fashion may result in disqualification.

How to enter

Expression of Interest

While not required, students are encouraged to send brief expressions of interest to the Department in advance of the deadline.  The expressions of interest should be sent to the contact shown below and should include the following summary information: (1) Name of Candidate(s); (2) Name of educational institution(s) with which Candidate(s) are affiliated; (2) Telephone and email addresses for Candidate(s); (3) brief high-level overview of the proposed project.

To Submit:

All materials should be forwarded with a cover letter to the attention of:

Patricia Watts, Ph.D.
Centers of Excellence Program Director

Federal Aviation Administration, L-28
FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center

Atlantic City International Airport,
NJ 08405

Hardcopy is preferred; however, the package also may be transmitted by email to Patricia.Watts@FAA.gov.  The submission period begins on May 1, 2013.  Submissions must be sent by 11:59 pm Pacific daylight time on July 1, 2013.  The timeliness of submissions will be determined by the postmark (if sent in hard copy) or time stamp of the recipient (if emailed).  Award administrators assume no responsibility for lost or untimely submissions for any reason.

What to Submit:

Final submission packages shall consist of the following elements: 

  1. Nomination letter from at least one teacher, advisor, faculty member, and others as appropriate.  The nomination letter(s) must communicate the following accomplishments in two areas:
    1. Technical Merit of the Concept
      Evidence of technical merit based upon teacher (parent or legal guardian in the case of home schooled applicants), advisor, or faculty nomination and evaluation of the submitted proposal, written paper, and/or reports.

    2. Professionalism and Leadership
      Evidence of professionalism and leadership may be in the form of, but not limited to:
      1) Membership and offices held in various groups
      2) Presentations made to various groups, meetings, and at symposia
      3) Leadership in student professional activities
      4) Community outreach activities

  2. An overall summary of the innovation, not to exceed one page, which includes a title of the project and statement of the impact that the innovation will have on the field of aviation or aerospace;
  3. A copy of the student’s academic transcript or certified grade report (as applicable);
  4. A copy of the paper(s) and related materials describing the innovative concept written by the student(s) being nominated (no page limit).

Once submissions have been received, the Department may request additional information, including supporting documentation, more detailed contact information, releases of liability, and statements of authenticity to guarantee the originality of the work.  Failure to respond in a timely fashion may result in disqualification.

Judges

US Secretary of Transportation

US Secretary of Transportation

Judging Criteria

  • Initial Review
    Submissions will be judged by advisory panels consisting of academic experts, government officials including FAA, the Department, and representatives of the private sector. Highly qualified entrants will be presented to the Secretary to select a winner.
  • Overview
    All factors are important and will be given consideration, but the advisory panels will give the “technical merit” factor the most weight in the screening process. The Secretary retains sole discretion to select the winning entrant.
  • Technical Merit
    Presents a clear understanding of the associated problems. Developed a logical and workable solution and approach to solving the problem/s. Clearly demonstrates the breadth of impact of the innovation.
  • Originality
    Is this concept new or a variation of an existing idea, and in what way(s)? How is this work unique? Was the concept developed independently or in cooperation with others?
  • Impact
    To what extent will this project make a significant impact and/or contribution to the future of the aviation and aerospace environment?
  • Practicality
    Who directly benefits from this work? Can this program or activity be implemented in a practical fashion? What are the costs anticipated to be incurred and saved by executing this concept?
  • Measurability
    How has this individual/group measured the impact on the aviation environment? To what extent does the innovation result in measurable improvements?
  • Applicability
    Can this effort be scaled? Is this work specific to one region, various regions, or to the entire nation?