Terms and Conditions


  • The Nittany AI Challenge is subject to and governed by all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. In addition, all teams must adhere to Penn State policies.
  • Teams selected are expected to submit and demonstrate their solution at each phase of the Nittany AI Challenge.
  • Representatives from all teams selected at the Prototype Phase and beyond are expected to hold 10-minute, bi-weekly check-in meetings with Nittany AI Alliance representatives.


  • All participants must be current Penn State graduate or undergraduate students at the time of the Prototype Phase deadline on January 24, 2024 except that the following individuals are not eligible: any individual involved in the sponsorship of any prize and immediate family members (and those living in the same household, whether or not related) of the foregoing. Immediate family members shall include spouses, siblings, parents, children, grandparents, and grandchildren, whether as “in-laws”, or by current or past marriage, remarriage, adoption, co-habitation or other familial extension.
  • Each student team may identify a Penn State Faculty or Staff member to serve as an adviser or mentor for the student team. Advisers and mentors are not eligible for the monetary prizes.
  • There is no limit to the number of individuals on a team.
  • Participants may serve on more than one team.
  • Submission in each round is not limited to winners from previous rounds. Any submission from a previous round and meeting the criteria for each round will be accepted for review.

Development Costs

  • Teams are solely responsible for any costs associated with the development of their ideas, prototypes, and MVPs. Levels of free access and/or credit to specific AI and hosting platforms are available to Challenge participants and should be sufficient for development work up through the MVP phase. Any costs incurred in excess of the free access and/or credits during or after the completion of the Nittany AI Challenge are the sole responsibility of the participants or team of participants.


  • Idea Phase: There will not be a competitive Idea Phase in 2024. The competition will start with the submittal of the prototype. However, it is important to note that to encourage innovation, the Challenge is an open competition in AI, with the opportunity to address pre-identified challenges or define your own.
  • Prototype Phase: A participant or team of participants must submit a working prototype, along with the required information on the prototype submittal form.
  • MVP Phase: A participant or team of participants will submit a minimum viable product (MVP) based on the original prototype of the Prototype Phase. All participants of the Prototype Phase will be eligible to submit MVPs for evaluation, regardless of success in the previous round.
  • Penn State is not responsible for problems with Nittany AI Challenge entries, including but not limited to, entries which are lost, late, misdirected, damaged, incomplete, inoperable, illegible, or cannot be demonstrated or completed, even if the problem is the result of the sole or partial negligence of Penn State.

Selection of Winners

Awards and Distribution

  • Idea Phase: The Idea phase has been removed from the competition in 2024.
  • Prototype Phase: Up to 15 prototype submissions will be awarded a prize to incentivize and support the development of a minimum viable product (MVP) for the MVP phase of the Challenge.
  • MVP Phase: Up to 5 teams submitting an MVP will be eligible to receive prizes incentivize and support the continued development, application, and/or commercialization of their solution. Prizes in this phase will vary based on the defined criteria of the MVPs. Prizes in this phase will be held in a Penn State account and distributed in accordance with Penn State policies and procedures.
  • By default, prizes in each phase will be awarded to each team on a pro rata basis. Individuals will be responsible for any and all financial implications of the prize, including tax liability and impact to financial aid.

Intellectual Property

  • Participants acknowledge that participation in the Nittany AI Challenge may result in the creation, conception or reduction to practice of inventions, discoveries, innovations, works of authorship or know-how (“Nittany AI Challenge IP”). By submitting a proposal, prototype, MVP, or any other material or communication or otherwise participating in any stage of the Nittany AI Challenge, Participants agree to the following terms and conditions regarding Nittany AI Challenge IP.
    • Participants may own rights in Nittany AI Challenge IP, including but not limited to, patents, trademarks, and/or copyrights, unless they are subject to the University Intellectual Property Agreement (IPA).
    • Where rights to Nittany AI Challenge IP do not vest in University in accordance with the IPA, Participants acknowledge that by submitting a proposal, prototype, MVP, or any other material or communication constituting participation at any stage of the Nittany AI Challenge, participants do hereby grant and convey to University a perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free, right and license to make, use, reproduce, modify, adapt, display, distribute, and create derivative works of Nittany AI Challenge IP for its internal research, academic, and educational purposes.

General Provisions

  • Release and Limitation of Liability. By participating in the Nittany AI Challenge, you hereby agree to release and hold harmless The Pennsylvania State University and its trustees, directors, officers, employees, agents, and representatives (“Released Parties”) from and against any and all claims or causes of action, including but not limited to claims or causes of action arising from Penn State’s own negligence and claims or causes of action for personal injury, death, or damage to or loss of property, arising out of participation in the Nittany AI Challenge or the receipt, use, or misuse of any prize. By participating in the Nittany AI Challenge, you also agree that you shall not be entitled in any circumstance to punitive, incidental, or consequential damages, or any other damages, including attorneys’ fees.
  • Publicity Release. Participant hereby grants an irrevocable, world-wide, royalty-free right and license to Penn State and the Released Parties to use, exploit, adapt, modify, reproduce, distribute, publicly perform and display the photographs, video, and/or audio (collectively “Media”) taken of me for use in promotional, educational, informational, advertising or commercial materials and communications in any from now known or later developed, including but not limited to publications, websites, articles, brochures, books, magazines, newsletters, exhibits, videos, films, social media, advertisements, and training programs (collectively “Materials”). Furthermore, participant hereby authorize and consent to the use of my name, image, likeness, biographical information, and voice (collectively, “Likeness”) in the Media for all Materials or any other purposes deemed appropriate by Penn State.
  • Disqualification. All participants agree to be bound by these Rules. Non-compliance with any of these Rules will result in disqualification and all privileges as a participant will be immediately terminated. Penn State, in its sole discretion, further reserves the right to disqualify any person for: (i) tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Nittany AI Challenge; (ii) gaining an unfair advantage in participating in the Nittany AI Challenge; (iii) obtaining winner status using false, fraudulent or deceptive means; or (iv) engaging in behavior contrary to University policy.
  • Reservation of Rights. Penn State reserves the right in its sole discretion to supplement or make changes to these Rules as well as the rules at any time without notice. Penn State reserves the right in its sole discretion to interpret the rules of the Nittany AI Challenge, and such interpretation shall be binding upon all participants. If for any reason the Nittany AI Challenge is not capable of running as planned, including without limitation lack of significant participation, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or other causes which adversely affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of the Nittany AI Challenge, Penn State reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Nittany AI Challenge.
  • Contact Information. If you have questions about the Nittany AI Challenge, you may contact us at nittanyai@psu.edu.