Do you have an idea, concept, or design that addresses everyday accessibility issues?

A callout for UBC students to submit your concepts, programs, initiatives or designs to develop innovation, cost-effective and practical solutions to accessibility-related issues. 

UBC is looking to nominate up to 10 student submissions to this competition. First prize is $2,000 CAD  and a trip to Toronto for the winning team to present their concept, program, initiative or design at the Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) Conference.

Submission Categories

Students must present a solution that addresses one of the following accessibility barriers:

  1. Attitudinal barriers are behaviours, perceptions, and assumptions that discriminate against persons with disabilities. These barriers often emerge from a lack of understanding, which can lead people to ignore, to judge, or to have misconceptions about a person with a disability. For example, making a person feel as though you are doing them a “special favour” by providing their accommodation, or assuming a person with a disability is inferior.

  2. Organizational or systemic barriers are policies, procedures, or practices that unfairly discriminate against individuals with a disability and can prevent these individuals from participating fully in a situation. Organizational or systemic barriers are often put into place unintentionally. For example, meetings or office hours conducted in person only, or not allowing individuals to access the information by phone, e-mail, or other means of communication.

  3. Architectural/physical barriers are elements of buildings or outdoor spaces that create barriers to persons with disabilities. These barriers relate to elements such as the design of a building’s stairs or doorway, the layout of rooms, or the width of halls and sidewalks. For example, sidewalks or doorways that are too narrow for a wheelchair, scooter or walker. Another example, poor lighting that makes it difficult for a person with low vision or a person who lip-reads to see.

  4. Information or communication barriers occur when sensory disabilities, such as hearing, seeing or learning disabilities, have not been considered. These barriers relate to both the sending and receiving of information. For example, electronic documents that are not properly formatted and cannot be read by a screen reader.

  5. Technological barriers occur when a device or technological platform is not accessible by itsintended audience and cannot be used with an assistive device. Technology can enhance the user experience, but it can also create unintentional barriers for some users. Technology barriers are often related to information and communications barriers. For example, Learning Management Systems or Customer Relationship Management Systems or websites that cannot be accessed using screen reading software or do not meet accessibility standards.

Apply Now

UBC will use a peer voting platform to nominate 10 teams to the administrator of the competition.  

How To Submit:

1.  Submit a video, clearly demonstrating:

  • What are you doing?

  • Why you are doing it? (specifically give details of the barrier you are overcoming)

  • How are you overcoming this barrier? (see Submission Categories)

  • Who are you doing this for?


*The video submission must be a minimum of 30 seconds to a maximum of 90 seconds in total running time, and uploaded to YouTube. The link to the YouTube video must be provided on the submission form.

3. Click the link below to access our online submission platform.

What Happens After You Apply?

1. ​Submit your application on our online platform by May 1, 2018, 11:59PM PST

2. Internally at UBC, a steering committee will nominate up to 10 submissions 

3. If nominated by the steering committee at UBC, students will receive an email inviting them complete the competition's submission form, due by May 31, 2018, which will include four short essay questions and the ability to upload your project. Full submission criteria will be provided upon your successful nomination. 

We encourage you to apply as soon as possible! 

Eligibility & Fine Print

  • Currently enrolled in any post-secondary program at a university which has recognized provincial degree granting power, or their affiliates

  • Students in all programs including architecture, arts, business, computer science, early childhood education, engineering, industrial design, medicine, nursing, political science, psychology, sociology, social work, etc. are welcome to apply

  • Students must have demonstrated they have consulted with a person(s) with a disability(ies) for feedback on their concepts, programs, initiative or design

  • Students must demonstrate that their submission adheres to accessibility standards. Students can find information on how to make their submission accessible on The Accessibility Hub website: and If students work as a team, they will be required to nominate one member to act as the team’s delegate. This person will be the official point of contact for the team.

About the Administrator

Universities Canada administers the IDeA student competition, a national program funded by the Government of Canada’s Employment and Social Development Canada. Universities Canada’s mandate is to facilitate the development of public policy on higher education and to encourage cooperation among universities and governments, industry, communities, and institutions in other countries. 

Questions? We can help.

Come visit! 

We are located in the Graham Lee Innovation Centre in the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre.

6163 University Blvd

Vancouver, BC

V6T 1Z3

 entrepreneurship@UBC is a part of Innovation UBC under the Vice-President, Research and Innovation (VPRI) portfolio