Students Can Apply Now for the Next Great Idea Contest!

Apply Now for the Next Great Idea Competition Application Deadline is March 8, 2024
Shawnee Mission School District

Students can apply now to enter this year’s Next Great Idea competition.

This contest gives students a chance to share their ideas for solving a problem and win prize money.

The Next Great Idea is a part of the district’s Research and Development Forum (R&D Forum), a district-wide celebration of student innovation and achievement.

How to apply:

Application information can be found on the SMSD’s R&D Forum webpage. The deadline to apply for the pitch competition has been extended to Friday, March 8, 2024. Optional practice sessions with industry mentors will be available for students who apply to compete.

About the contest and Prize $$$

Applicants chosen as finalists will pitch their Next Great Idea to a panel of judges during the morning of April 27, 2024, at the Center for Academic Achievement, 8200 W. 71st Street.

The pitch competition will be live-streamed so friends and family can watch and vote as well. The top three awards are $2,500, of which $1,000 is a cash award to be used by the winner to pursue their passion and education, and up to $1,500 will be awarded as a "build it" grant to support making the winner's pitch a reality. A People's Choice category, determined by public voters, will be awarded a $500 prize. There will also be an Idea of Promise award with a prize of $500.

More about the R&D Forum

Student Showcase:

The R&D Forum student showcase, with display-only and competitive exhibits, will be held in April 2024. Students, families, and staff members are encouraged to enter student-created projects, experiments, or art projects to share in this district-wide event. All submissions must be registered; information on how to register can be found online. The deadline to register for the showcase is Friday, March 29, 2024.

The SMSD community is invited to take part in this year’s 62nd R&D Forum by attending the following events at the Center for Academic Achievement (CAA), 8200 W. 71st Street.


●       4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, 2024

●       4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24, 2024

●       4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, 2024

Entries will be on display at CAA, with a reception for all entrants and families. There will also be music performances by student groups from across the district.


Saturday, April 27, 2024:

●     Morning - Finalists will present their Next Great Idea to a panel of judges. Public voting will follow the presentations.

●     Afternoon - Awards ceremony for Showcase Entries, Regnier Award winners, and the Next Great Idea Pitch Competition award winners

About the R&D Forum

The Shawnee Mission Research and Development Forum celebrates its 62nd year in 2024. It is one of the SMSD’s biggest student project showcases of the year!

Sincere appreciation is extended to the Regnier Family for 62 years of generous support for the SMSD R&D Forum.

Click here for more information and contacts if you have additional questions.



Apply Now for the Next Great Idea Competition Application Deadline is March 8, 2024