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2023-24 Tools Competition

Frequently Asked Questions


The Tools Competition funds edtech tools and technologies that support learning outcomes and can contribute to learning science research.
Eligible tools have the potential to generate novel learning data that researchers can study to better understand learning at scale. This may include an app, software, algorithm, or other digital technology that facilitates or supports continuous data collection and has the potential to scale at minimal cost.
For the purposes of this competition, proposals that focus solely on hardware, curricular resources such as lesson plans or video guides, community platforms, or in-person programming are rarely competitive as they struggle to either support learning engineering principles or scale without significant continuous investment.

Please refer to the Official Rules. All participants must agree to these rules to compete.

The Tools Competition is open to participants from across the globe, however, eligibility criteria are dependent on track.

All participants must be able to accept funds from US based entities.


Individuals and entities residing in Belarus, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and the Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk regions of Ukraine are not eligible to participate in the Competition.

Yes, all submissions must be in English.
Yes! Winners retain full intellectual property. Competition organizers do not seek shares of or equity in the product or company.

Yes! We are eager to hear and support individuals who are new to the field. We encourage you to compete in the Catalyst award level to be more competitive. Please see more information on award levels for more guidance.

Yes! Anyone 18 years or older is eligible, and we are eager to hear from individuals at all stages of the development process.

Yes! You are not required to compete as part of a team or to be affiliated with an organization or company.
You are welcome to partner with other organizations. This should be mentioned in your Phase I submission.
Yes! We encourage you to still compete. If you advance to the final phase of the competition, there will be an opportunity to make note of conflicts.

Developing successful abstracts

Submissions for the 2023-24 Tools Competition are open through November 10, 2023. You can read more about our submission process and how to compete on the track specific pages:
The Tools Competition seeks to spur new tools and technology. This means that something about the tool needs to be fresh, innovative, or original. This does not mean you have to create a new tool or new platform.
Competitors seeking a Growth or Transform award must build off an existing platform of varying levels of development and scale. This might be an API that will improve the platform or a new tool to improve effectiveness. Or it could mean adding infrastructure that allows external researchers to access your data.
See more about award levels and eligibility requirements on the track specific pages.
While the competition is generally open to solutions for Pre-K to adult learners, the target user groups for each track may differ. Please see the track specific pages for more information.
Active users are defined as individuals who use the tool regularly and in a meaningful way. We recommend that your users fall within the user group that your tool focuses on. Beta users, if they are just testing the functionality of the tool for a specified period of time, do not count as active users.
The competition has five ‘tracks’ or priority areas that reflect pressing needs and opportunities in education. Competitors will be required to select one of the tracks in which their submission will be evaluated.
The competition tracks include:
Each track has somewhat different requirements and eligibility criteria, and certain tracks may be more or less competitive than others depending on final funding allocation and the number of competitors in each track. Tracks may also have different total award pools, depending on sponsor priorities.
This is not necessary or recommended. If competition organizers invite you to Phase II, they will carefully review your abstract to confirm your track or recommend a new one.
Abstracts will need to stand alone independently, but they can certainly support each other. That said, it is unlikely that more than one submission by the same team will win.
Phase II proposals should not be drastically different from the Phase I abstract, but we do expect that there may be changes as you further refine your idea.
You may provide a description of both, but your focus should be on what the funds from the award would enable you to do.
Consider the following recommendations:
You can start building the tool or functionality, but there is no promise of funding.
Visit the learning engineering page on our website to understand how competitors can prioritize learning engineering in their abstracts and proposals, gain an introduction to learning engineering, see examples in practice, and more.
You can also join the Learning Engineering Google Group for news, upcoming events, and funding opportunities.

Award Levels & Budget

The competition is designed to be inclusive and support talent and ideas at all stages of development. As such, competitors can compete at one of three award levels:

Complete the eligibility quiz to determine which award level best fits your proposal.

Tools in the catalyst phase will look different and be at varying stages of development. The product of your proposal may be an MVP or a prototype, or you may still be in the ideation phase and taking steps towards these goals as a result of your proposal.
No, you are not required to compete in the Transform award level. You are welcome to compete at a lower award level if you believe that the idea is in an earlier stage of development.
Eligibility for the Implementation Impact prize may differ by track and award level. Please refer to the track specific pages for more information.
Competitors across all tracks that indicate interest in being considered for the Implementation Impact Prize will complete additional requirements when submitting their Phase II proposal.
Eligibility for the OpenAI Learning Impact Prize may differ by award level. In addition, eligible tools must build on OpenAI’s platform. Please refer to the track specific pages for more information.
Competitors across all tracks that indicate interest in being considered for the OpenAI Learning Impact Prize will complete additional requirements when submitting their Phase II proposal.
Note: Budgets are required from Phase II of the competition only. There is no definitive time period for the award. It is recommended that awarded proposals demonstrate significant progress by Product Review Day in Fall 2024 to receive the second installment of funds. This progress will be measured against the timeline for execution outlined in the proposal.
The funding is structured as a grant that will be paid in two installments. 50% will be paid after winners are announced. The remaining 50% may be paid after Product Review Day, where organizers will assess if the winner has made sufficient progress based on their plan for execution.
Each entrant is responsible and liable for all international, Federal, state, and local taxes arising from any grant that may be awarded.
For non-US citizens, certain amounts may be withheld from the grant as required by tax laws, reducing the total amount received by winning Entrants. The Sponsor will determine the withholding percentage after winning Entrants submit appropriate tax forms.

Feedback & Evaluation

Submissions will be evaluated against others within the same track. Submissions at higher award levels will be subject to greater scrutiny. Reviewers will evaluate submissions based on eligibility requirements as well as criteria that vary across tracks and may include:

For more information on eligibility criteria, refer to the Official Rules. For additional details on what evaluation looks like during each phase of the competition, please refer to the Competition Overview.

Yes! Multiple competitor support events were hosted and competitor resources provided throughout Phase I of the competition. Learn more and view previous event recordings on our blog.

Additional avenues for support are sent out to our mailing list, so please ensure you’re signed up for updates here.

We also recommend joining the Learning Engineering Google Group. Opportunities for partnership and additional support are also frequently posted there.

What happens after the competition?

Winners will receive their award by check or bank transfer in two installments.
Winners will receive the first installment soon after winning. Winners will receive the second installment of the award after Product Review Day if they are making sufficient progress on the plan they outlined in their Phase II proposal.
Winners will present their progress to peers and others in the field during a virtual Product Review Day to get feedback and perspective.
Yes! We strive to support all competitors—not only winners. We compile and share lists of opportunities for additional funding, support, mentorship, and partnership throughout the competition cycle.

We also encourage your team, if not selected, to stay connected with the learning engineering community through the Learning Engineering Google Group and with competition organizers by reaching to

Competition organizers are eager to support winners and learn from their work to inform future resources for competitors and winners. To do so, all winners will participate in an impact study during which research advisors will work with you to incorporate new measures into your internal evaluation process. In addition, all winners will complete impact surveys data in the years after winning.

The abstract submission window is now closed. Phase I results will be released in early December.