What is Cleantech?

We define cleantech innovation as any product, process or service that affects the resource-constrained environment in a positive way including energy generation, conservation, reduction of resource use, waste reduction, or water, soil and air pollution mitigation or renewal. The innovations can be green consumer products, greening of supply chains, industrial, commercial, municipal processes or technologies, microproducts and nanotechnology or anything that contributes to a healthier planet.

Check out previous semi-finalists to get an idea of the variety of projects we support!

Who can participate?

  • Community college, undergraduate and graduate students who have completed at least 12 credit hours during the most recent academic year at any Oregon college or university
  • Faculty members and postdocs at any Oregon college or university
  • Staff from any Oregon college or university
  • Alumni who have graduated within the last 12 months from any Oregon college or university

Teams must consist of two or more people. At least one team member must be directly affiliated with an Oregon college or university as described above. Faculty members can participate as an advisor on an all-student team. We recommend that teams consist of one technical and one business lead.

What are the competition rules?

Prior Funding

A team is ineligible if it has received outside institutional funding (venture capital, private equity, hedge funds, corporate funds, etc.). Teams may accept non-institutional funding (contest prizes, grants, loans, etc.) up to $250,000 prior to or during this contest, so long as no equity ownership is associated with the funding.


An entry may be pre-revenue or producing revenue. Companies that generated more than $100,000 in 2015 are not eligible.

Signature required

All teams must submit a signed Eligibility Statement that certifies adherence to the above rules upon entry.


Award money may be payable to the student, faculty or the venture. Members of the winning teams must sign a Prize Agreement. If the team is offered and accepts additional funding, teams will be required to execute additional documentation.

Intellectual Property (IP) disclosure

Teams will be required to execute an IP Disclosure with submission. Teams must disclose if they have patented their technology prior to the competition.


The Competition Committee reserves the right to disqualify a team at any time for any reason at its discretion.


Semi-finalist teams must demonstrate significant progress between February and June. The Competition Committee reserves the right to remove a non-progressing team from the final competition.


Semi-finalist teams must commit to sending at least one representative to attend regular Cleantech Challenge meetings and training scheduled every other Tuesday for the duration of the competition.