York University students, along with students from other Ontario universities, are being challenged to put their creative minds to work to develop solutions that will make the world more accessible for people with disabilities, including new ideas for devices, software, architectural design, awareness campaigns or policies.
The Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) competition is an initiative organized by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), in partnership with the Government of Ontario. The province-wide competition is being overseen by the IDeA Working Group, comprised of representatives from engineering and design Faculties at several Ontario universities.
Students will vie for $3,000 in prizes, with entries that must address barriers to accessibility in five categories: attitudinal, physical/structural, information and communications, technological, and systemic.
“Ontario universities are strongly committed to the important goal of leading the country towards greater accessibility,” says Alastair Summerlee, chair of COU and president of the University of Guelph. “Tapping into the innovative capabilities of our students is an excellent way to build awareness and to advance ideas that lead to a more accessible world.”
York students can find rules and registration information here. The deadline for contest submissions is March 31. Students interested in submitting their idea or concept should review the rules and criteria, register and then submit the concept by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of the business on March 31.
Submissions will first be evaluated by York University and then successful candidates will move on to a second round of judging conducted by a panel of experts in the five categories. Evaluations will be based on innovation, cost-effectiveness and practicality. Judges will also place a premium on entries whose format itself demonstrates consideration to accessibility issues.
The winner will be announced at an event at the Ontario Centres of Excellence Discovery Conference in May 2012.