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Hosted by the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (VTCRC) and Virginia Tech Outreach and International Affairs, the Global Case Challenge, held virtually for 2021, offers student teams from around the globe the opportunity to present solutions to real world industry problems. Companies from within the VTCRC and area stakeholders have presented written details of a challenge of opportunity within their organization or industry. Four cases have been selected for students to stive to develop the best solution by August 2, 2021. The student teams must develop research-driven, scalable solutions, which will have the potential to be implemented by each respective company. A finalist will be chosen from each case, and one overall winner will receive a $40,000 prize.

The cases selected for the 2021 Global Case Challenge are:

  1. CELLINK Life Sciences, creating the future of medicine by providing technologies, products, and services to create, understand, and master biology. The CELLINK Green Initiative case challenges students to create and develop a solution to effectively reduce waste products generated from the biotechnology industry, with emphasis on plastic and chemical waste.
  2. Cowden Technologies, LLC, founded in 2015 with a primary focus on providing software engineering services for external clients. On top of providing software consulting services, Cowden Technologies is currently developing autonomous drone technology that can enable remote environment management without requiring human supervision. The Cowden Technologies case challenges teams to create a practical, cost effective, and environmentally conscious solution for powering remote docking platforms for small drones, with emphasis on renewable energy and remote technology.
  3. Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), conducts research to save lives, time, money and the environment. As one of seven premier research institutes created by Virginia Tech to answer national challenges, VTTI is continually advancing transportation through innovation and has affected public policy on national and international levels. The VTTI case challenges students to create and develop a solution to successfully deploy driverless operations while improving accessibility and mobility for the disabled, with emphasis on accessibility for disabled riders, international outreach, and efficient driverless technology.
  4. Carilion Clinic, a non-profit health care organization based in Roanoke, Virginia. Through their comprehensive network of hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices and other complementary services, Carilion works together to provide quality care close to home for nearly 1 million Virginians. Carilion Clinic seeks to advance care through medical education and research. Carilion’s case challenges teams to develop an intervention that can help exhausted clinicians communicate and ensure safety behaviors are occurring (e.g., washing hands, wearing a mask, staying home when feeling sick) with their patients and colleagues on a just-in-time, user-tailored way.

The 2021 Global Case Challenge runs in conjunction with VTCRC’s Game Changer Week, set for August 23-27, 2021. Game Changer Week will bring together a diverse group of industry disruptors. A variety of events will be held virtually and in person across the region, with many taking place at the research park. Attendees will receive access to events corresponding with tracks and have the opportunity to create connections with thought leaders, creators, and influencers along the way.

  • Tracks Include: Aerospace, Biotechnology, University (Virginia Tech), Software, Technology, Design, Blockchain, Startups, and Early Seed.

Global Case Challenge competitors will have access to virtual networking and mentorship from VTCRC tenants and to view recorded sessions. The winners from each case will be announced during Game Changer Week, and their solutions presented to all attendees.

The 2021 Virginia Tech Global Case Challenge is made possible thanks to our generous event sponsors including The Town of Blacksburg, Virginia, Carilion Clinic, SunTrust Bank, Branch Builds, Lewis Gale Regional Health System, and VPT Inc.

For more information on Global Case Challenge, visit