The Center for Technology Licensing (CTL) is Cornell University's technology transfer office. We manage technology for Cornell's Ithaca campus, Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell Tech, and Cornell AgriTech in Geneva.

Pitch for the People Competition

“Pitch for the People” is a virtual pitch competition that allows Cornell students, staff and faculty to present an idea that is poised to solve a social problem for funding of up to $2,000. The competition invites teams of 1-5 individuals from the Cornell community to propose a project or venture to better humanity or to investigate an interesting research question Teams must include at least one member studying or conducting research in the humanities or social sciences.


To enter the competition, teams must complete a short application to provide background information on their pitch and the problem they are trying to solve. Applications are due Saturday, July 25. Submit your Pitch for the People application here.


Applications will be reviewed by a panel of judges who represent expertise in research, humanities and social sciences, entrepreneurship, and investment. Six finalists will be invited to deliver a five-minute pitch before a panel in early August. The pitch must be delivered by a team member in the social sciences or humanities. Pitches must be no longer than five minutes and can take the form of a presentation, video, performance or any other appropriate medium. The judges will ask critical questions and provide feedback to the finalists. Afterwards, judges will allocate awards with

  • $2,000 for 1st place,
  • $1,000 for 2nd place,
  • $500 for 3rd place and
  • $250 for any team that makes it to the final round.

The competition’s funding awards shall be directed towards developing the proposed idea into a real venture or research project. All finalists will be asked to submit a brief report updating the panel six months after the disbursement of funds with the team’s progress, direction, and roadblocks.

Application Process

Applicants will be collected June 1st – July 25th. Teams must be comprised of 1-5 Cornell Community members (students, staff, and faculty), with at least one team member studying or conducting research in the social sciences/humanities who will pitch the idea if selected as a finalist. Note, ideas and innovations funded by “Pitch for the People” are not exempt from University Policy 1.5.


  1. For each team member please list: Expected year of graduation (if applicable), position (if applicable), college, degree:
  2. To be shared publicly, describe the project context, public purpose and what the project team will be doing. (1000 Characters MAX)
  3. What problem does it solve? (1000 Characters MAX)
  4. Who needs your solution and why? (1000 Characters MAX)
  5. Why did you pick this idea to work on? (1000 Characters MAX)
  6. Who are your competitors? (1000 Characters MAX)
  7. If your project was to win, how would funding leverage its success? (1000 Characters MAX)

Submit your Pitch for the People application here.