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The Global Impact Award was founded in 2013 to support the vision and passion of Washington University in St. Louis students, postdoctoral researchers, and recent alumni who are creating ventures that are scalable, sustainable, and quick-to-market with proof of concept and a broad impact.


Applications for the 2023 Global Impact Award cycle will open in November 2022.


Finalists will be selected by judges based on the scoring of deliverables and will be connected to expert mentors in their relevant fields, to improve sustainability of ventures and opportunities for success. Mentorship and training will be offered during the spring semester to help the finalists prepare for their pitch presentation. In April, all finalists will present to an esteemed panel of judges, and the judges will select one or more winners of the $50,000 award.


In order to be eligible to receive the award, the founding team and venture are expected to meet certain criteria.


  • The founding team must include one or more of the following: a current Washington University in St. Louis enrolled undergraduate, graduate or professional student; resident; a postdoctoral researcher; or an alumnus who has graduated within ten years of submitting his or her application for the award.
  • The Washington University-affiliated team members must have a meaningful role in the venture at the time of its application for the award.


  • The venture must have incurred less than million in total debt, equity, grant or prize funding at the time of application.
  • The venture must have completed a proof of concept.
  • The venture may be a commercial or hybrid for-profit/nonprofit legal entity, and is expected to have high impact, be sustainable and scalable.
  • The venture may be based on faculty inventions or IP disclosures, provided the venture includes at least one Washington University-affiliated team member who meets the above requirements and holds meaningful equity (no less than 5%, including options) participation in the venture.

Judging Criteria

Each of the following bullets are worth 10% of a venture's total score.

  • PROBLEM: Clear, concise description, and understanding of the problem
  • SOLUTION: The solution is feasible and has been prototyped, and implementation is achievable by the team and highlighted collaborators 
  • IMPACT: The venture that could make an important or far-reaching contributions in the lives of many persons anywhere…US or abroad.
  • CHALLENGES: The team understands the technical and operational challenges and has a reasonable plan to address them
  • MARKET CONTEXT: The team understands the market and cultural challenges to their solution
  • USE OF AWARD: The budget is appropriate, and a clear plan for additional funding (if needed) is in place
  • TEAM: The team understands their capabilities and have utilized mentors to support their venture
  • SUSTAINABILITY: A sustainable venture would entail a unique application of technology or an innovative process that solves an important problem, perhaps having a barrier to entry (e.g. IP), and have a team with a complimentary set of skills that can effectively execute
  • VIABILITY: This venture has a successful proof of concept, a clear go-to-market strategy, and is scalable. The venture will succeed. 
  • GLOBAL IMPACT AWARD COMMITMENT: The founders are committed to the spirit of the GIA, including giving back to the program to support future ventures


Applications for the 2021-2022 cycle are closed.

If you have questions or would like assistance with your venture, please email