Wireless Innovation
for a Networked Society Initiative

Rules and Regulations

The National Science Foundation Wireless Innovation for a Networked Society (“NSF WINS”) project is a series of two challenges, funded by the National Science Foundation and organized by Mozilla, which seek projects that further innovation in community wireless networks. By providing a submission to one or both challenges, you (“Participant”) agree to the below rules (“Rules”).

1. Organizer; Sponsor

The NSF WINS Project is organized by Mozilla Foundation, 331 E. Evelyn Ave, Mountain View, CA 94041 USA (the “Organizer”) with the National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22230 USA (“NSF”, the “Sponsor”).

2. Challenge Schedule

The NSF WINS project consists of two challenges, the Off-the-Grid Internet Challenge and the Smart Community Networks Challenge (collectively, the “Challenges”), which will run concurrently in a two-stage process consisting of a Design Concept Stage and a Working Prototype Stage.

Design Concept Stage

All interested entrants must submit an Intent to Apply form through the NSF WINS website at wirelesschallenge.mozilla.org between June 15, 2017 and October 15, 2017 at 11:59:59 PM Pacific. Entrants will then receive information via email on how to register for an account at mozilla.fluxx.io. All entrants must submit their full submission to the Design Concept Stage of the Challenge via mozilla.fluxx.io by November 15, 2017 at 11:59:59 PM Pacific. Based on the judges’ selections, certain entrants will move on to the Working Prototype Stage of the competition and a limited number of these will be chosen to receive awards for outstanding achievement in the Design Concept Stage; both will be announced on or about January 15, 2018.

Working Prototype Stage

Entrants who are selected to move on to the Working Prototype Stage will need to submit a full submission to the Working Prototype Stage via mozilla.fluxx.io by June 22, 2018 at 11:59:59 PM Pacific. Finalists at the Working Prototype Stage may be asked to demo their solutions in person for judges and/or a public audience. Final Challenge award winners will be announced on or about August 15, 2018.

3. Who Can Participate

No purchase or fee is necessary to enter or claim any prize. The contest is void where prohibited by law or regulation. Participation is open to teams of one or more members (each team is referred to in these Rules as a “Team” and each team member as a “Participant”). There is no maximum number of Participants per Team, and Participants may be a member of more than one Team. Participants must be individuals who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, or organizations (whether nonprofit or for-profit) that are incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the U.S. Each Team must designate one Participant on the submission form as the “Team Leader” who will be responsible for sending and receiving communications on behalf of the Team. Team Leaders must be at least 18 years of age (or the age of majority in their places of residence if it is higher than 18). Participants between the ages of 13 and 17 are permitted if they are not Team Leaders and have obtained written permission to participate from their parent or legal guardian.

Only Teams that are selected to proceed at the end of the Design Concept Stage may participate in the Working Prototype Stage.

The following individuals and entities are ineligible to participate in the Challenges:

  • Employees of Mozilla and NSF and their respective affiliates and subsidiaries;
  • Mozilla and NSF contractors;
  • Federal employees acting within the scope of their employment;
  • Challenge judges;
  • Families of and persons living in the same household as Mozilla and NSF employees and contractors, and Challenge judges;
  • Anyone who has a financial relationship with a Mozilla or NSF employee or contractor, or Challenge judge;
  • Anyone otherwise affiliated with a Challenge judge, including an individual with a professional relationship with any Challenge judge or a private entity in which a Challenge judge currently serves as a director, officer, or employee;
  • Federal grantees who use Federal funds to develop Submissions that are inconsistent with the purpose of their grant award; and
  • Federal contractors to the extent they use Federal funds from a contract to develop Submissions or to fund efforts in support of a Submission.

Organizer, at its sole discretion, shall determine eligibility of any Participant, Team, or organization, and may disqualify anyone at any time for any reason. Additionally, Organizer shall have the sole discretion to identify all Participants in the event of a dispute.

4. How to Enter

Completely fill out and submit an Intent to Apply form through the NSF WINS website at wirelesschallenge.mozilla.org between June 15, 2017 and October 15, 2017 at 11:59:59 PM Pacific. Entrants will then receive information via email on how to register for an account at mozilla.fluxx.io. By submitting a full submission, the Team Leader on behalf of each member of the Team formally accepts these Challenge Rules and all decisions of the Organizer and Judges (defined below), which are final and binding. The completed submission form and accompanying submission materials constitute the Team’s “Design Concept Stage Submission.” Teams eligible to participate in the Working Prototype Stage must submit submission materials required for that stage by June 22, 2018 at 11:59:59 PM Pacific. The Design Concept Stage Submission and the Working Prototype Stage Submission are referred to collectively herein as the “Submissions.”

Organizer has no obligation to return or acknowledge Submissions.

5. Submissions Guidelines

The Team Leader must provide (i) a valid email address, which Organizer will use to communicate with the Team, (ii) a valid physical address within the United States (not a P.O. box) and (iii) the names, email addresses and brief bios of all Team members. Submission materials must include without limitation a description of the solution as well as technical and design documentation. Teams may submit Submissions to both Challenges and may submit more than one Submission per Challenge. A project that has been submitted elsewhere previously may also be submitted to the Challenges; however, Challenge entries must further develop, refine or build upon existing solutions (e.g. provide new tools or documentation, test existing solutions in new environments, etc.) in order to be eligible for prizes. In the event two or more Submissions describe substantially similar projects, the Judges’ determination of the qualitatively superior proposal will determine which Submission is considered.

Organizer, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to disqualify any Submission not in compliance with these Rules, any applicable laws, or which includes material that is indecent, obscene, hateful, discriminatory, defamatory, slanderous, libelous, unlawful or otherwise inappropriate as determined by Organizer in its absolute discretion. Each Submission must also comply with any other terms or requirements on the NSF WINS Site.

6. Submissions Requirements

All Submissions must meet specific criteria to be considered for judging in the Challenges. Without limitation, the following conditions apply:

  • The Submissions must be responsive to the Challenges, meaning they must present complete wireless solutions capable of impacting a broad community of users in a way that improves on existing solutions and is affordable and adaptable. See the NSF WINS Site for more information on Challenge 1 and Challenge 2.
  • Although it is not required, Organizer strongly encourages Participants to host their Submission documentation publicly (via GitHub or equivalent), in such a manner that others can learn and benefit from the project. Participants are also encouraged to leverage open-source hardware and software in the design of their solutions and to make their solutions available under open licenses such as the MPL for code and Creative Commons licenses for documentation. Participants not following these recommendations are welcome to enter but should explain any alternative steps they are taking to serve the goals of public access, interoperability, and enabling further innovation.
  • Team members must have all necessary copyright, trademark, patent or other proprietary or legal rights to the technology and documentation covered in their Submissions as well as the rights to share the Submissions with Sponsor in connection with the Challenges.
  • The Submission must be in English.

7. Judging and Winner Selection & Prizes

All Submissions will be reviewed and evaluated by a panel of experts drawn from academic, nonprofit and for-profit organizations working in the fields of technology, research and community activism (“Judges”). Judges will select finalists and winners for each of the two stages of the competition. In reviewing the Submissions, all Judges will be looking for degree of alignment with the following criteria:

  • Technical Feasibility: How feasible are the ideas presented? What are the technical capabilities of the idea or prototype?
  • Differentiation: How does the proposed solution differ from or improve upon existing solutions? What is innovative or novel about the proposed concept or technology?
  • Affordability: How affordably could the idea/prototype be implemented in a real community?
  • Social Impact: How well tailored is the idea or prototype to the needs of the community and users for which it is designed? How will the design of the idea/prototype help engage community members in order to maximize utilization?
  • Scalability: How will the idea or prototype be adaptable to broader communities or areas? How scalable is the project? How will the idea or prototype provide tools and documentation to anyone who might wish to build upon it or launch a similar effort?

See the NSF WINS Site for additional specific criteria related to Challenge 1 and Challenge 2.

For Finalists in each stage, interviews may be conducted via videoconferencing to gather additional information about proposed solutions. During the Working Prototype Stage, Finalists may also be required to provide live demos, either for judges or a public audience. In addition, during this stage, external reviewers and validators will confirm that the Submissions meet the necessary criteria though hardware testing.

Judges will select the following winners for each of the two stages of both Challenges:

Design Concept Stage

  • First Place - $60,000
  • Second Place - $40,000
  • Third Place - $30,000
  • 7 Honorable Mention Awards - $10,000

Working Prototype Stage

  • First Place - $400,000
  • Second Place - $250,000
  • Third Place - $100,000
  • Fourth Place - $50,000

Winning results from the Working Prototype Stage for both Challenges may be showcased at a convening in Washington, D.C. during the summer of 2018.

All decisions of the Judges are final, non-appealable and binding. Potential winners must comply with all Rules. Winning is contingent upon verification of eligibility and compliance with all requirements in these Rules.

8. General Prize Conditions

Prize money will be paid to the Team Leader, who is responsible for determining any apportionment among other Team members. Organizer and Sponsor will not be liable for any Team member claims regarding prize distribution. Winning Teams are solely responsible for the payment of any taxes that may arise as a result of acceptance of a prize, and all other expenses or costs relating to the prize not expressly set forth above.

9. Winner Notification/Validation

Finalist and winning Teams in both stages will be notified of their selection by email and phone. Winners will also be announced on the NSF WINS Site as well as on the NSF site and Mozilla blog. Members of winning Teams may be required to sign and return to Organizer an affidavit of eligibility, a liability release and/or a publicity release where permitted by law, as well as provide information necessary for compliance with any applicable tax laws. If the Team Leader of a winning Team cannot be notified within five (5) days after selection, or in the event of failure to comply with any of these requirements, the prize may be forfeited and an alternate winner selected.

10. Travel

If Finalists are required to provide in-person demos during either or both stages, Organizer will provide a reasonable travel stipend for one Team Participant of majority age, under separate terms, for related travel and accommodation. Organizer will also provide a reasonable travel stipend for one Team Participant of majority age of winning Teams to attend the summer Challenge showcase, under separate terms for related travel and accommodation.

11. Authorization to Use Winners’ Information

All members of winning Teams grant permission to Organizer and Sponsor and its authorized representatives to use their names, city and state, photograph and/or other likeness, voice, and basic biographical information for promotional purposes without further compensation, in all media now known or hereafter discovered, worldwide, in perpetuity, without notice, consideration, review or approval. Team members also agree to participate in and cooperate with any promotional activity and/or publicity relating to the Challenges as the Organizer and Sponsor shall reasonably request from time to time, without further compensation, except at the Organization’s and Sponsor’s sole discretion, reasonable travel and accommodation.

12. Legal Rights in Submissions

a. Participant Certification of Rights in Submissions: By entering a Submission, each Team member represents and warrants that: (i) he/she is able to comply with these Rules and that the Submission is not subject to any conflicting obligations that would prevent or interfere with compliance with these Rules; (ii) the Submission does not make unauthorized use of or violate in any way any rights of any third party, including but not limited to copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret, or rights of publicity; and (iii) no one else’s permission is required for Participant to make Participant’s Submission in the Challenge(s) or to use and share Participant’s Submission with Organizer, Sponsor and others as contemplated under these Rules. Without limiting the foregoing, each Team member represents and warrants that he/she has complied with any requirements of his/her employer, if applicable, to allow participation in the Challenge(s), including but not limited to making Participant’s Submissions and accepting any prize Participant may receive.

b. Usage Rights in Submissions: Team members retain all ownership rights in their Submissions. Each Participant hereby grants Organizer and Sponsor a perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use the Submission in connection with running this Challenge and to include descriptions of the Submissions in Mozilla and NSF promotional materials and events related to the Challenge. For avoidance of doubt, Challenge judges may use Submissions only for the limited purpose of reviewing and judging. To the extent allowed by applicable law, each Participant waives any “moral rights” relating to the Submissions, consents to their publication in any manner which might otherwise be deemed to constitute a violation of any applicable moral rights, and further agrees that Organizer and Sponsor may use (or not use) his or her name, likeness, photo, and/or geographical and biographical information in connection with the Submissions.

13. Limitation of Liability


14. Disclaimers

Organizer and Sponsor are not responsible for: (i) lost, late, misdirected, damaged, garbled or illegible Submissions; (ii) error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operations or transmission, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to or alterations of Submissions materials, or for technical, network, telephone equipment, electronic, computer, hardware or software malfunctions of any kind, or inaccurate transmission of or failure to receive Submission information by Organizer on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website or any combination thereof; or (iii) any injury or damage to a Team member or any other person’s computer related to or resulting from participating in the Challenges. Organizer reserves the right to: (a) permanently disqualify from any Challenges any person it believes has intentionally violated these Rules; and (b) suspend, modify or terminate the Challenges if Organizer believes, in its sole discretion, that malfunction, error, disruption or damage is impairing or will impair the administration, security, fairness, or integrity of the Challenges. If the Challenges are terminated before the scheduled end of the each Stage, the Organizer will determine the winners from all eligible entries received as of the termination date in a fair and equitable manner as determined by Organizer in its reasonable discretion. Persons found tampering with or abusing any aspect of the Contest, or whom the Organizer believe to be causing or attempting or intending to cause any malfunction, error, disruption, or damage will be disqualified.

15. Governing Law

The Challenges and the rights and obligations of all Participants and Submissions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of California. The California courts (state and federal) have sole jurisdiction of any controversies regarding the Challenge, and Participant agrees to waive any objections to jurisdiction and venue in those courts and hereby submits to the jurisdiction of those courts. Should any provision of these Rules be held to be void, invalid, unenforceable, or illegal by a proper legal authority, the validity and enforceability of the other provisions shall not be affected.

16. Privacy

To administer the Challenges, Organizer will receive personal information from Teams including names, locations, phone numbers, and emails. Organizer handles this information as described in these Rules and in the Mozilla Privacy Policy. Our Websites, Communications & Cookies Privacy Notice describes information Organizer receives when Participants visit our websites. Participants may opt-out of communications from Organizer if they no longer wish to participate in the Challenges.

17. Confidentiality

Submissions will be shared with Judges, Organizer and NSF staff, and mentors. Portions of Submissions may be reproduced in connection with the Challenges, such as on the NSF WINS and NSF Sites and in related publicity materials.

18. No Obligation

Each Participant acknowledges that other Teams may submit similar solutions and that they, or Organizer, may already be considering or developing, or may subsequently consider or develop independent of the Challenges, a solution that is related or similar to Participants. Each Participant acknowledges that this does not create in Organizer or others any obligation or liability to him or her.

19. Winners Names

The names of the winners and the Judges will be posted on the NSF WINS site.