NSF announces 18 teams advancing to final round of the VITAL Prize Challenge

The U.S. National Science Foundation has selected 18 teams for the final round of the $6 million Visionary Interdisciplinary Teams Advancing Learning (VITAL) Prize Challenge, a competition investing in teams developing the next generation of learning technologies.

During the final round of the VITAL Prize Challenge, each team will receive an additional $50,000 in research and development funding to build upon their existing training and mentorship. These funds will specifically enable them to continue to develop a prototype, work with their educator mentor and  test that their solution is market-ready and scalable in inclusive and equitable ways.

"The VITAL Prize Challenge finalists show the tremendous promise of educational technologies driving progress and inclusive practices in learning across many disciplines and fields," said Erwin Gianchandani, NSF assistant director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships. "We are looking forward to seeing the culmination of their hard work and the impacts their projects will have across the education marketplace."

"VITAL Prize finalists are meeting the moment, developing tools and solutions to enhance teaching and accelerate learning," said Romy Drucker, director of the Education Program at the Walton Family Foundation. "With NSF’s guidance and support, VITAL entrepreneurs will be poised to unleash the talent and genius of many promising young minds."

Each of the 18 advancing teams was judged based on whether their solution fulfills a need, has strong potential to impact and improve student learning, and uses participatory and evidence-based design practices. Teams are divided evenly across three technology tracks — Rapid and Continuous Learning Assessment, Mathematical Literacy to Promote a Future STEM Workforce, and Other Innovations in Translational Learning Technologies — to support diverse communities of K-12 students and teachers. 

The VITAL Prize Challenge finalist teams are:

Rapid and Continuous Learning Assessment

  • DivySci Speech Analytics.
  • Dreami.
  • FrenalyticsEDU.
  • Junior Scientist Maker Program.
  • MindsEmerge.
  • Redshift Education.

Mathematical Literacy to Promote a Future STEM Workforce

  • 7 Generation Games.
  • Digital STEAMM Comic.
  • Erudyte.
  • Kasi Math.
  • Trubel&co.
  • Tyto Online.

Other Innovations in Translational Learning Technologies

  • Code to Joy.
  • Dissect 360 Brain Anatomy in 3D.
  • Enlightapp.
  • Outline It.
  • Sing and Speak for Kids.
  • Social Optics.

Upon completion of the final round, the VITAL Prize Challenge judges will identify three leading teams within each of the technology tracks to participate in a live pitch session to a panel of judges, NSF staff, sponsoring partner representatives and private sector investors. The pitch session will determine the selection of a first, second and third prize team within each track, with final prize winnings of up to $250,000 per team. NSF anticipates announcing the winners within each track in winter 2024.

This $6 million prize challenge is made possible through a partnership between NSF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Schmidt Futures and the Walton Family Foundation. To learn more about the VITAL Prize Challenge, please visit https://new.nsf.gov/tip/vital-prize-challenge.