Announcing the VITAL Prize Challenge to Support the Next Generation of Equitable Learning Technologies – Digital Promise

Announcing the VITAL Prize Challenge to Support the Next Generation of Equitable Learning Technologies

Junior high age students work on building a robot in technology class in school classroom setting.

January 12, 2023 | By and

Digital Promise will manage the new Visionary Interdisciplinary Teams Advancing Learning (VITAL) Prize Challenge, supported by a partnership between the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Schmidt Futures, and the Walton Family Foundation, with the goal of catalyzing a new generation of emerging technologies and innovations for K-12 learning. The $6 million prize challenge will provide funding, resources, and capacity-building support for small teams to bring new discoveries to educational and learning contexts to improve the experiences of those who have been historically and systematically excluded from learning and education systems.

“The Vital Prize gives us an incredible opportunity to discover new applications of cutting edge, emerging technologies for learning and to embed equity and research in the core of the design process so that these technologies intentionally work for historically and systematically excluded learners from the start,” said Vic Vuchic, Digital Promise’s chief strategy officer.

The VITAL Prize Challenge is intended to develop and support very early-stage concepts and ideas based on equitable, innovative uses of technology and research. Participating teams will receive in-kind training and research & development (R&D) support through three competitive rounds of programming and up to $250,000 in prize winnings. Applications will open January 2023 and the full prize challenge will run through January 2024.

Applicants can come from any field and at any stage of their careers across academia, industry, or elsewhere (e.g., entrepreneurs, professors, students, researchers, teachers, computer scientists, product developers, etc.). Interested individuals are especially encouraged to apply if they:

  • Have an innovative technical idea that could support learning in the K-12 education system
  • Have a team that includes individuals from groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in advancing learning
  • Are committed to Inclusive Innovation
  • Would like support designing prototypes that serve learner variability
  • Have a desire to work as equal partners with educators and other constituents in education
  • Have the capacity to use evidence-based design methods to refine an idea into a technology prototype that can equitably support learning

Visit to learn more about the challenge and receive key details, dates, and deadlines as they are released. Sign up for the mailing list and reach out to us with questions at

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