COINS Grand Challenge 2018

The COINS Grand Challenge is first and foremost a competition to find new ideas or innovative approaches that will solve problems and enable the construction industry to make a positive impact on society. As such these Guidance Notes and particularly the examples and definitions included within them are only there to help people complete the online Application Form rather than to place any limit, guidance, restriction or constraint on the creativity of the Applicants’ thought processes and ideas.

The Application Form provides additional specific guidance on how to complete your application with notes and guidance for each question.

1. What is the COINS Grand Challenge?

The COINS Grand Challenge consists of two competitions (Undergraduate and Open), each with 2 challenges that are aimed at encouraging innovators and entrepreneurs to come forward with new ideas and approaches to help improve the construction industry for the benefit of the industry and society. The competitions focus on areas that address global challenges facing the construction industry.

Working with leading construction companies, private investors, venture capitalists and academia, the COINS Grand Challenge provides an opportunity that may not otherwise exist for people to present their ideas to leaders in the industry, win valuable prizes and potentially gain funding and support to pursue their ideas.

For the Challenges within the Open competition, ideas do not have to be at a particular stage of development to be submitted. Judging criteria are based on the calibre of the Applicant, the “grandness” of the idea and the feasibility of it being implemented.

For the Challenges within the Undergraduate Competition we are looking for people who understand the underlying subject matter, it’s relevance to one or more areas of the construction industry and show the interest and potential to become the next generation of construction industry innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders.

Whether you are an undergraduate, postgrad student, recent graduate, young entrepreneur or industry specialist, we want to hear from you if you believe your idea has the potential to help the construction industry and society.

2. How do I enter the COINS Grand Challenge?

Applicants are encouraged to register their interest in entering the competition as soon as possible. By registering their interest, Applicants will receive updates about the competition, including key dates and reminders.

To enter the competition, Applicants must complete the official online Application Form and clearly select the relevant competition (Undergraduate or Open) and the challenge to which the application relates. For example, Undergraduate competition and Leadership challenge.

For the Undergraduate competition, the entry consists of either an 800-word essay or a 3-10 minute video entered via the online Application Form.

For the Open competition, the applicant answers a series of questions that explore the applicant’s idea in depth, submitted using online Application Form.

For both Undergraduate and Open competition entries, the entry should follow the challenge briefs and other information provided on the Challenge 1: New & Emerging Technology and Challenge 2: Leadership pages on this website.

Applications may be prepared and submitted by a team. However, only one member of the team may present the idea at the Grand Final if the application is successful.

Any intellectual property included in submissions belongs to the respective applicants, although no Non-Disclosure Agreements will be entered into.

3. What is the timeline for applications?


1 Sept 2017

Competition Open for Entries


New extended deadline 11 Apr 2018

Entries Submitted by


20 Apr 2018

Finalists Notified by


5 Jun 2018

Grand Final

All information regarding how to enter is contained on this web site.

Applicants are encouraged to register their interest in the Competition as early as possible. However, Competition applications can be submitted at any time up until the closure date with or without prior registration of interest.

Once you submit your Application Form, the application will be frozen for passing to the Judges. Therefore, please ensure that you have worked the idea up fully before you make the final decision to submit.

Following a review of the entries, up to 4 Applicants for each of the Open competitions and 2 Applicants for each of the Undergraduate competitions (subject to a minimum quality threshold) will be selected to attend the Grand Final, which will take place in San Antonio, TX, USA on Tuesday 5th June 2018.

All applications are assessed by the same application evaluation criteria, as detailed later in these Guidance Notes.

4. Who will judge the applications?

The COINS Grand Challenge process is a competitive application process. Applications shortlisted for the Grand Final are marked by a broad range of construction industry experts from within the industry and associated academic and government institutions as detailed in the Judges section of this website.

Judges are appointed by the COINS Grand Challenge Management Committee.

Judges are required to carry out an assessment of the proposals themselves but may consult with other experts to pass an opinion in areas that may require specialist expertise. All Judges are briefed by COINS Grand Challenge Management Committee to undertake assessments in accordance with the criteria contained within the guidance.

5. How are the applications evaluated?

A standard assessment process applies to all applications as follows:

All qualifying, correctly submitted entry applications will be reviewed by the COINS Grand Challenge Management Committee, who will shortlist the Finalists for each Challenge.

Each shortlisted application is assessed by all judges against the same set criteria in relation to the respective challenge. Each judge is required to complete and submit a score sheet with comments for each application.

A panel sheet is compiled to identify the ranked order of all applications based on the average of scores from all the Judges. The panel sheet is reviewed and moderated by the COINS Grand Challenge Competition Manager. The highest ranking applications, up to a maximum of four for each Open competition and two for each Undergraduate competition, are invited to compete in the Grand Final.

All applications will be assessed on individual merit in accordance with the normal COINS Grand Challenge process. The decision of the Judges and COINS Grand Challenge Management Committee will be final. Although Applicants can request feedback, the COINS Grand Challenge Management Committee reserves the right to refuse feedback requests due to the anticipated volume of applications.

6. How will finalists be notified of the Grand Final? 

Upon the completion of online judging, Applicants with the highest ranking applications will be notified of the success of their application and will be invited to compete in the Grand Final.

As part of the invitation to attend the Grand Final, all Finalists will receive details of how to organise their travel and accommodation and any next steps. The invitation to attend the Grand Final will be sent out via email and Applicants are therefore advised to check their emails on a regular basis. Applicants are requested to confirm their attendance at the Grand Final by midnight on Friday, 4th May 2018.

The Grand Final judging and award celebration will take place on Tuesday, 5th of June 2018. If for any reason you are unable to attend the Grand Final, you must notify the Competition Manager via the Contact form on this website or by email to info@coins-global.com

Applicants shortlisted for the Grand Final will be required to prepare a 10-minute or less presentation to communicate their idea to the judging panel. The presentation will be followed by 5 minutes of Q&A from the Judges and 5 minutes of mentoring. A projector, screen, flip chart and white board will be available for the Finalists to use for the purposes of their presentation. Finalists using a PowerPoint presentation should submit their presentation no later than 48 hours prior to the presentation.

The presentations will commence at 10.00 on 5th June 2018. The running order for each of the Finalists’ presentations will be selected on a random basis and successful Applicants will be notified of the time of their presentation by email.

Finalists should arrive at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, San Antonio, TX no later than 9.30am (Central) on 5th June 2018.

All Finalists will have a short digitally recorded interview prior to their presentation. An edited version of this interview will be shown during the Gala Dinner prior to the Winners of each Competition being announced. The questions for this interview will be circulated with the notification to attend the Grand Final.

All Finalists will be worthy winners of the Competition, so this presentation will be their final opportunity to stand out from the crowd and persuade the Judges of the specific merits of that particular idea.

The COINS Grand Challenge management will publicize the results of its competitions, which includes public relations activity and social media.

We understand that some individuals may want their ideas to remain confidential, so finalists will be given the option to opt out of any publicity surrounding their idea. However, if you are a Finalist, the fact that you entered the Grand Challenge and the description of the particular challenge that you entered will be publicized, and you are not able to opt out of this entry requirement.

Furthermore, you will need the express permission of the COINS Grand Challenge Management Committee if you wish to enter into any publicity yourself that directly connects you to the COINS Grand Challenge.

7. What criteria will be used for the final judging? 

Please note, the quality of your application will determine your entry into the Grand Final. Although your application will form part of the assessment of the judging panel, once at the Final, Finalists will be judged on the following criteria. All Applicants are advised to read this Guidance Notes page along with the detailed Terms and Conditions in order to give themselves the best chance of success.

Challenge 1: New & Emerging Technologies

Idea (80%) – We want to understand:

  • The potential commercial impact (25%) – Financial impact of the use of the technology.
  • The social impact (20%) – Ability to impact millions of people.
  • The technology (10%) – Novel use of technology to solve a problem.
  • The viability of the idea (25%) – How feasible is it to implement the technology.

Applicant (20%) – We want to see:

  • How your background equips you to implement your idea.
  • How real is your commitment to making your idea a reality.
  • Your focus and determination to succeed.

Challenge 2: Leadership

Idea (40%) – We want to understand:

  • Your leadership concept (15%) – Uniqueness of ideas and or approach.
  • The potential impact of your approach (15%) – Ability to impact millions of people.
  • The viability of implementing your leadership concept (10%) – How feasible is it to implement your leadership approach.

Applicant (60%) – We want to see:

  • Your ability to communicate your leadership idea.
  • Your ability to demonstrate the personal qualities required to lead.
  • Your ability to inspire others to act.
  • Your focus and determination to succeed.


8. Will my data be protected?

The information that you provide in your entry application will be used in the processing of all aspects of the application. This will include recording on COINS Grand Challenge databases in the preparation of communications with you and for use by the judging panel. In addition, information may be used to help COINS Grand Challenge management carry out its own internal performance reviews and improve its business processes. Any queries on issues relating to the Data Protection Act should be addressed to:

Competition Manager
COINS Construction Industry Grand Challenge
11 St Laurence Way

Any other questions?

Please contact us



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