USM Task Force and Corporate Sponsors Recognize Six Outstanding App Technology Innovations to Improve Citizens' Lives During the Health Crisis
Baltimore, Md. (July 9, 2020) – The University System of Maryland (USM) COVID Research & Innovation Task Force is pleased to announce the six winning teams for the USM COVID App Challenge, a competition launched in late May to develop an innovative app to solve a Maryland COVID-19-related problem.
Winning teams come from several USM institutions: Towson University; University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC); University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP); and University of Baltimore (UB).
Each winning team is receiving a cash prize of $3,000, made possible with support from the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship at UMBC.
Participants were encouraged to design an app that could help bring Marylanders together to more effectively respond to COVID-19 and future pandemics. Other solutions submitted included tools to inhibit transmission, support small business while connecting socially isolated Marylanders, facilitate community donations, and keep the public informed of important health information.
"We are proud to have launched this successful App Challenge to bring the entire USM community together to focus on developing technology solutions for COVID recovery and response in the state of Maryland. With this App Challenge we’ve seen a serious and determined response from multiple, competing teams throughout the USM. It is gratifying to see how much progress our task force and the USM community has made, in such a short time," said Laurie Locascio, vice president for research at UMCP and the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the task force chair.
"We want to thank all those who participated in the challenge including our impressive panel of judges, comprised of computer science faculty from several institutions, developers, and IT executives, who volunteered their time to help us with this challenge. The judges were impressed by the quality of the solutions brought to this App Challenge, and the potential these solutions hold to benefit our state."
Participants in the competition included undergraduates and graduate students, faculty, and staff. A diverse panel of judges from large corporations, startups, and academia evaluated the submitted applications.
"IBM was honored to be part of the USM COVID App Challenge that helped identify new coding talent and innovative applications to help keep people safe during our pandemic times", said John Joaquin, Managing Executive – Public Sector at IBM, Inc.
Companies providing technical and other resources to participants include Amazon Web Services and IBM, Inc. Participants could leverage the AWS-hosted COVID-19 data lake that is composed of multiple sources of data, in addition to other training, tools, and mentorship. AWS also offered challenge winners and runners-up AWS credits to further their development and success. IBM, Inc. offered competition participants access to IBM Cloud accounts and COVID-19 Starter Kits, which are quick-start guides to begin creating applications tied to easy-to-understand use cases in just minutes. IBM and AWS experts also participated as USM COVID App Challenge judges. IBM is encouraging participants to enter the Call for Code Global Challenge. Now in its third year, Call for Code is the largest technical challenge of its kind, inviting the world's software developers and innovators to take on society’s biggest issues with open source-powered technology.
"The ideas and interest this challenge generated were inspiring— from our students, faculty and industry alike. It will be through this type of partnership that we will enhance our collective response to COVID-19 and ultimately improve patient and community outcomes," said Tom Sadowski, USM Vice Chancellor for Economic Development and member of the USM COVID Research & Innovation Task force.
USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman announced the formation of the COVID Research & Innovation Task Force in April. The task force is leveraging and mobilizing systemwide research and innovations to engage policymakers, business leaders, and the entrepreneurial community in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses and organizations seeking guidance or the ability to partner with USM institutions on specific initiatives can use the task force website to connect with system experts.