the Visionary Interdisciplinary Teams Advancing Learning, or VITAL, Prize Challenge

VITAL Prize Challenge

The VITAL Prize Challenge empowers teams to develop innovative learning technologies for K-12 students.

A $6 million three-phase, one-year challenge, the Visionary Interdisciplinary Teams Advancing Learning, or VITAL, Prize Challenge, will encourage interdisciplinary teams from the science and engineering research and startup or small-business communities to advance innovative concepts into prototypes for potentially game-changing learning technologies. Read the NSF Dear Colleague Letter.

Emerging technologies continue to advance across a broad spectrum of disciplines. New ways of understanding, connecting, and innovating in our world are being invented and launched each day. The VITAL Prize Challenge will provide funding, resources, and capacity building support for small teams to connect their discoveries with educational and learning contexts to improve the experiences of all learners.


Teams participating in the VITAL Prize Challenge will have the chance to receive over $70,000 in development and commercialization support through the Discovery, Semi-final and Final rounds, and up to $250,000 in prizes.


Teams applying to the VITAL Prize Challenge will submit concept papers to one of three K-12 technology translation tracks, depending on the anticipated application, end user, and area of impact:

  • Rapid and Continuous Learning Assessment: advancing measures and tools that dramatically increase the speed and utility of student learning information for educators, students and families;
  • Mathematical Literacy to Promote a Future STEM Workforce: advancing a student's capacity to employ fundamental critical thinking skills and quantitative reasoning in a variety of contexts;
  • Other Innovations in Translational Learning Technologies: advancing novel concepts and technologies for diverse communities of K-12 student learners and teachers, outside of assessment and mathematical literacy.


The VITAL Prize Challenge will focus on providing interdisciplinary teams the funding and training to build K-12 learning technology innovations at speed and scale for adoption nationwide. The challenge will be composed of four progressive steps:

  1. Concept Paper: A concept paper is submitted by any interested team;
  2. Discovery Round: An invitational opportunity for approximately 100 teams, chosen from those submitting Concept Papers, to participate in customer discovery activities;
  3. Semi-Final Round: Approximately 55 teams are partnered with an educational mentor (e.g., K-12 teacher) for prototype design, feasibility testing, and initial development activities; and
  4. Final Round: Approximately 18 teams will conduct prototype development and validation, culminating with a Pitch Session.


The VITAL Prize Challenge portal will begin accepting concept papers in Winter 2023 and the full prize challenge will run through January 2024. Follow the challenge’s progress, get more details, and submit your concept paper on Digital Promise’s platform. 

Learn More

To receive an email notification about when the VITAL Prize Challenge will be open and how to submit a concept paper, sign up for NSF's email newsletter for VITAL.