Put your creativity to the test and form a team to be part of the 2019 Boeing Innovation Challenge! You can compete and cooperate with students from other selected universities to propose ideas that will make the creation and operation of commercial jetliners better for the future.

Get your idea onto the one-page summary form beginning Sept. 10 with submissions due no later than noon (Pacific Standard Time) on Nov. 15.

Note: All submissions must be received by noon (Pacific time) on Nov. 15 at the following address: All entries that do not meet requirements, including deadline, will not be considered for judging.

Welcome letter (PDF)

Registration Form (PDF) (deadline November 1st)

Idea Entry Form (PDF) (deadline November 15th)

Virtual Student Kickoff Q&A (PDF)

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the BIC, all students participating on a team must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or U.S. person.

Note: Boeing is precluded from hosting citizens of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.

  • Be an active student at a participating school through the duration of the competition.
  • Have at least sophomore standing.
  • Cannot be a current direct Boeing employee or contractor working for The Boeing Company at any time during the competition.
  • Be part of a two- to three-member idea-forming team, and if selected, willing to diversify their response with additional team members.
  • For first-round winners: Sign a student agreement, which includes assignment of intellectual property (IP) ownership to Boeing or (if not able to attend) release of any IP on their idea for use by other participants in the next phase. Boeing may grant developmental licenses on request for individuals to continue development beyond the competition. Students will be able share particular content as approved by The Boeing Company.

If your idea is selected for the second phase, you will also:

  • Participate in the virtual teaming event to down-select to the final 8-10 BIC ideas with full idea teams.
  • Travel to the three-day event to further develop and present your final concept.

Additional note:
Travel will be arranged for participating teams through their university, with expenses for attendees paid by Boeing through university grants.

Key Dates

Phase 1

  • Sept. 10, 2019 – Competition launch at specific universities
  • Nov. 1, 2019 – Web registration complete
  • Nov. 15, 2019 – Idea entries submitted (by noon Pacific Standard Time); teams can submit one or multiple ideas; each idea requires its own form
  • Nov. 27, 2019 – Top first-round-winning entrants notified

Phase 2

  • Jan. 10, 2020 – Virtual teaming of all top entrants to self-select and combine ideas and teams down to 8-10 separate ideas of greatest student interest (8-10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time)

Phase 3

  • Jan. 20-22, 2020 – In-person event in Mukilteo, Washington, to fully define and present those ideas to Boeing innovation leaders

Category Details

Topic 1: Simplifying Commercial Airplanes

Innovations to dramatically simplify an aspect of design, manufacture or operation

What we are seeking and key opportunity areas:

  • Significant design/build cost reductions over competitors, while improving useful functionality.

Examples of relevant suggestions:

  • Innovative structures, architectures and/or material systems
  • Improvements in safety, quality or build costs
  • Simplification or reduction of design requirements        
  • Multifunctional, more integrated architectures (e.g., combining two or more of structures, systems, passenger cabin, propulsion, flight sciences)
  • Load reduction innovations to enable simple design

NOTE: Examples are provided as a starting place to encourage additional thinking and are not intended to limit proposals.

Desired solution characteristics:

  • Product innovation – either new concepts or significant improvements to today’s concepts
  • Business needs and value – improvements to aircraft value, production system efficiency or airline market competitiveness
  • Certifiable by 2030

What to include in each response:

  • Quantified estimate for weight, drag or operational cost (specific value or percentage improvement)
  • Estimated build cost impacts (specific dollar cost or percent reduction)

Topic 2: Creating Efficient, Adaptable and Flexible Airplane Cabins

Innovations that strengthen the capability of the future Boeing Cabin by meeting the current and future needs of airlines and passengers

What we are seeking and key opportunity areas:

  • Gate-to-Gate block times have been increasing, and many airlines are focusing on reducing the time an airplane is at an airport gate as a way of enabling schedule recovery and/or enabling more flying time.
    • This involves all aspects of getting people, baggage/cargo on and off the airplane more efficiently, and also includes reducing the time needed for servicing the airplane cabin, including: catering, cleaning, water and waste systems, and even fixing/checking something that is not working properly.
  • Airlines are gaining increased access to meaningful data, enabling more efficient and informed related to cabin configuration (e.g. passenger revenue optimization) and operational efficiency.
    • Today, airlines use sub-fleets to handle different mission requirements. As an alternative, enablers are needed for quickly modifying the cabin for different airline missions and passenger revenue optimization.
    • The future Boeing cabin must be easily changeable and upgradable to accommodate rapid reconfiguration during an airplane gate turn or overnight – from seat repitch to even more dramatic changes such as adding or removing lavatory or galley capacity.

Examples of relevant suggestions:

  • Solving for passenger and personal baggage loading and unloading of the cabin for both single- and dual-aisle configurations.
  • Architecture and system solutions that enable faster servicing of the cabin during gate turns.
  • Architecture and system solutions that enable adaptable cabin configurations: e.g. adding/removing seats/lavatories/galleys.
  • Innovative seating concepts and seats appropriate for different passenger needs across different airline mission requirements.

NOTE: Examples are provided as a starting place to encourage additional thinking and are not intended to limited proposals.

Desired solution characteristics:

  • Achieves product innovation – improvement to or over existing concepts
  • Business needs and value – improvements to build rate and cost, aircraft performance, airline market competitiveness

What to include in each response:

  • Defined area(s) of focus (capabilities) being addressed
  • Defined ideas, new elements and changes to current design and function
  • Quantified idea benefits over current design features and cost (specific dollar cost or percent reduction)
  • Any cultural or industry barriers to the new idea

Topic 3: Cross-Industry Aircraft Innovation

Non-aerospace technologies with beneficial applications for airplanes, crews and passengers to enhance the total travel experience

What we are seeking and key opportunity areas:

  • Cross-industry “not invented here” innovation applies concepts from non-aviation fields into aviation applications to quickly enable significant value improvements, ranging from reduced workload for crews and improved manufacturing efficiency to increased opportunities and an improved door-to-door passenger experience.

Examples of relevant suggestions:

  • Additive manufacturing
  • WiFi communication
  • Tablet computing
  • Virtual reality
  • Assembly line techniques
  • Robotics
  • Lighting
  • Biofuel
  • Hybrid propulsion
  • Autonomy
  • Blockchain build validation
  • Machine learning

NOTE: Examples are provided as a starting place to encourage additional thinking and are not intended to limited proposals.

Desired solution characteristics:

  • Product innovation – improvement to, or over, existing concepts
  • Business needs and value – improvements to build rate and cost, airplane performance, airline competitiveness, passenger preference

What to include in each response:

  • Defined existing area(s) of capability being proposed as a new solution
  • Defined ideas and new integration elements needed to enable application
  • Quantified idea benefits over current methods and cost (specific dollar cost or percent reduction)

Judging Criteria

Entries will be judged based on:

  • Creativity.
  • Technical content, modeling or analysis.
  • Relevance to Commercial Aircraft Challenge Topics.
  • Life-cycle value, with increased flying preference.
  • Clarity/organization.
  • Potential for diversification.

Completed student entry forms must be submitted via the web submittal tool or by email to by Nov. 15, 2019 (noon Pacific Standard Time).

BIC winning ideas will be reviewed by Boeing for functional idea and possible Invention Disclosure development with participant coordination.

Intellectual Property Agreement

By entering this competition, participants understand that in order to proceed to Round 2 of the competition, Boeing will require the participants to sign the "Boeing Innovation Competition Student Agreement".

If selected to participate in the in-person event, information about projects developed may not be shared outside of The Boeing Company. Project titles and a team picture may be shared publically upon approval of The Boeing Company. If teams or students would like to pursue development of their projects beyond the end of the competition, students will have the opportunity to request a license from The Boeing Company to further explore their ideas. If there are any questions about intellectual property, please contact your school focal for guidance.

More Information

Registered teams (PDF) (as of November 7)

If you have questions about the Boeing Innovation Challenge, please ask your faculty advisor or email the organizers.

Virtual Student Kickoff