Technology for the Masses

IMPAQT Research and development competition and workshop

Call for projects, research papers and start-up pitches that lead to a sustainable business model

It is impossible to imagine the world of architecture and urbanism today without developments such as computer-aided design applications, parametric design applications, smart cities, geographic information systems and building Information modelling. But how many of these applications and tools truly benefit the forgotten 99%? How many of these foci primarily on better quality of life for the underprivileged?

The focus of this call is pilots, ongoing projects, research and pitches for architectural, urban or rural solutions that use technology primarily for the benefit of the masses. Focus is on solutions targeting – or of relevance to - the built environment of Egypt.

In March 2020, in a two-day workshop with presentations and discussions in Alexandria, nine to twelve winning proposals will be chosen to present their work to an audience of international experts, one of which will be an appointed reader charged with giving detailed one-on-one critique. Participants will also be introduced to the NilePreneurs Initiative and the opportunity to win incubation support through their program.The call is open for researchers, professionals, students as individuals or in teams.

This will be followed by a 7-10 day entrepreneurship boot-camp in May 2020 at Nile University in Cairo. One winning proposal will then be selected by the NilePreneurs Initiative. The prize is incubation support for the project up to 200,000 EGP in kind or cash. This support comes in the form of piloting and prototyping, technical support, dissemination, networking and commercialisation.

This is in addition to visibility support from NilePreneurs Initiative for all selected submissions.

Competition themes

  1. Building construction material, technology and finance
  2. This could include innovative solutions to widen the use of traditional building materials such as earth or wood, development of modern materials such as concrete, new solutions for pressing social needs, climate control and improvement of quality of living spaces, or development of new material that could be recycled, more-cost-effective, low tech or zero-carbon. It could also include improvements to how the material is worked, or to the process of construction, maintenance or financing.

  1. Built environment systems
  2. This could include issues related to how the built environment functions; transportation, waste, water supply, sewage and sanitation. It could focus on environmentally savvy innovations involving recycling and zero-waste that link to theme 1. It could also focus on tech-based solutions for better quality of life and issues such as safe streets, inclusive design and equitable place-making.

  1. Tech-based innovations for general underlying issues
  2. The two themes above have intersections between them and integrated solutions for more than one issue are encouraged. This theme also includes underlying organisational practices related to advocacy, participation, networks and mobilisation, governance and equitable economics and finance and how technology may facilitate improvements that focus on the built environment.


Submission format

Two high quality A2 sheets with relevant information including graphics and visuals (free format – max. 5 MB)

A 800 word abstract to be filled through an online form including:

  • Project title
  • Author names and affiliations
  • Short description with intended user and market (400 word)
  • Current level of development of idea (100 word)
  • Development timeframe (100 word)
  • Required support (100 word)
  • Expected output after support (100 word)

*Please fill the form on the following link

*send A2 sheets to with the same title used in form

Make sure to include THE SAME project Name you used here in the email subject and the word TFM_COMPETITION (ex. TFM_COMPETITION_YourProjectName)

Selection criteria (all of equal weight)

The proposal should present solutions that are:

  • Innovative
  • Applicable
  • Relevant to Egypt and equivalent contexts
  • Technically sound
  • Affordable
  • Economically viable

Selection Committee and Respondents

The international committee members including - but not limited to - IMPAQT project partners and will be announced soon.


The two-day workshop and prize giving ceremony will be held at Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria on the 27th and 28th of March 2020.  Transportation by train within Egypt and one night of hotel accommodation will be covered by the organisers for out of towners.

The boot camp will be held at Nile University in Cairo in May 2020 (exact date tba). Participants are responsible for their own expenses.


16 February 2020 Announcement of open call for participants
10 March 2020 Deadline for application
18 March 2020 Selection and confirmation of participation
20 March 2020 Announcement of participants and sending materials to readers
27 & 28 March 2020 Workshop in Alexandria
May 2020 Entrepreneurship boot camp in Cairo
June 2020 Judging and announcement of winner

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