The Amazon Catalyst program is accepting applications from all current Washington State University students, faculty, and staff at WSU’s Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities, Vancouver, Everett and Global campuses. The deadline to apply is May 31.

Amazon and WSU have teamed up to create Amazon Catalyst, a program to help launch the next big idea. The Amazon Catalyst encourages people in all fields to think big, invent solutions to real-world problems, and make a positive impact on the world. Winners join a community of innovators–Amazon Catalyst Fellows–who share a passion for finding innovative solutions to real-world problems. Proposals selected for the program will receive up to $10,000 to make the innovative idea a reality.

“We are excited to connect WSU faculty, staff and student innovation together with industry to launch the next big ideas. WSU’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship really embraced the Amazon Catalyst program last year and we are excited to have the program return for a second year,” said Marie Mayes, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

To focus the inspiration and try something a little different, the Amazon Catalyst program has chosen two specific themes and will only fund proposals that address one of these topics. The two themes are urban transportation and computational social science.

Today, 55 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68 percent by 2050. With more people living closer together, there is a need to find new ways to transport people and objects point A to point B efficiently in urban areas.

Society today is facing serious economic, social, and political divisions. The computational social science theme is interested in big ideas drawing scholarly and entrepreneurial attention to social divides, polarization, and social conflict. This theme is seeking proposals combining methods from a diverse range of disciplines, including the humanities, statistics, social sciences, economics, sociology, anthropology, and history. Fields which combine computational methods, like data science, with existing academic disciplines are also encouraged to apply.

“The themes chosen for this year’s Amazon Catalyst program address real societal challenges. Discoveries and innovations created at WSU every day will help untangle these complex problems. If you’ve got a bold solution to a problem in one of the two themes, we encourage you to apply to be part of the Amazon Catalyst program,” said Brian Kraft, assistant vice president for the Innovation and Research Engagement Office.

To learn more about the Amazon Catalyst program and apply, visit https://catalyst.amazon.com/wsu/.