Frequently Asked Questions


What is the application process for the 2019 Dubai Conference?

  • You must first fill out and submit an application before the appropriate deadlines, receive an admission letter, and pay the conference fee.
  • Closer to the date of the conference, you are expected to fill out a pre-arrival survey.

When is the application deadline?

February 5, 2019 | 11:59 EST

Who is eligible to apply?

Prospective and current high school students are eligibly to apply to attend the Innovation Challenge. High school faculty members are also eligible and expected to accompany their students.

I have been waitlisted for the conference. What happens now?

After the registration deadline has passed for accepted delegates, we will notify waitlisted delegates if there are still positions available.

I was not accepted or waitlisted for the conference. Can I still participate?

Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer you a place in this year’s conference. We do encourage you to apply to future conferences, as the result of this application will not affect your future admission chances.

What is the difference between early, regular, and late applications?

Early applications do not receive special preference. However, there are many advantages to applying early. First, early applications are evaluated in greater detail. Second, applicants who are accepted through the early cycle are notified earlier, giving them more time to apply for a visa if needed and complete registration. Finally, since decisions are made and spots are filled on a rolling basis, it is certainly beneficial to apply and to register as early as possible.

We will not accept late applications this year.

Where can I apply for the 2019 Dubai conference?

Apply for the conference by accessing the application form through the Apply Page on the website.

What are the conference fees?

  • Student Early and Regular Round: $260 USD
  • Faculty Early and Regular Round: $50 USD

How do I pay the conference fee?

You will have to pay your conference fee after receiving your acceptance letter. Delegates can use a debit or credit card.

What should I do if I need to travel or get a visa?

HIC highly recommends that you first register and secure your place at the 2019 Dubai Conference before you embark on the visa or travel process. There have been several cases where individuals have secured their visa and confirmed their travel plans, only to discover that they are no longer able to register, as all spots have already been taken. Please remember that registrations are on a rolling, first-come-first-served basis.

How do refunds work?

Should you cancel your registration due to a change in plans, please note the following refund scheme:

On or before December 29th, 2018: 90% refund of all payments.

On or before February 2nd, 2019: 50% refund of all payments.

Be sure to inform us of your registration cancellations before February 2nd, 2019, as we will, unfortunately, be unable to offer any refunds beyond that date unless you are unable to attend because of a declined visa.

If you are unable to attend the conference because of visa issues, please email with a copy of your visa rejection letter and you will be issued a full refund.

Please note that all refunds are final and release your reservation for a spot at the conference; if you want to re-register after having cancelled, you will only be allowed to do so if there is still space available in your track.

Conference Details

Do I need any previous experience to participate in the Innovation Challenge?

No. For many delegates, HIC is their first professional conference (MUN, etc) and students of all skill levels are welcome!

What is an Innovation Conference?

The Harvard Innovation Challenge brings the region's most promising high school students together to create innovative solutions to some of the region's most pressing issues. When filling out the application, students will be asked to select one of three tracks. Within each track, students will hear from local leading speakers about issues currently affecting their region. Students will be debate in an open platform and also learn about the art of solution design, public speaking, entrepreneurship ideation, and pitching from Harvard students. At the end of the conference, students will pitch their solution proposals in a closing competition. We are bringing innovative thinking abroad. We are bringing Harvard abroad. For more information see Innovation Challenge 101.

What is a track?

This year, our three Dubai tracks are: (1) public health, (2) education, and (3) sustainability. Students select a track upon applying, which will focus their research efforts during the competition. Each track has unique speakers, debates, and workshops for students to partake in. All students who select the same track will be given the same prompt. Prompts will describe a regional issue relating to the theme of the track, asking students to create an innovative solution to these problems.

Can I switch tracks after registering?

No. Upon submitting the initial application form, students will not be able to switch tracks. Descriptions of each track can be found here. We advise you read each track description before submitting your application, as your decision will be final.

What is the structure of the conference?

During the first two days of the conference, students will attend panels led by Harvard students and prominent speakers from the Dubai region. Students will learn from leading professors about the issues related to their track, working in a team to formulate a solution proposal to address the regional issues at hand. In committees, delegates are guided by chairs entirely comprised of Harvard students. Delegates will be prompted with debate and presentation activties whilst being taught key issues and skills by Harvard students. On the last day of the conference, teams will present their solution proposals to a panel of judges composed of Harvard students and other organizers. Teams with the most innovative and attainable pitches will be awarded during the conference's closing ceremony. Individual delegates will also have their efforts recognized. A final judging rubric will be released closer to the date of the conference.

For more information, please see the conference schedule or Innovation Challenge 101.

What do high school faculty members do during the conference?

Faculty members have flexibility during the day. Faculty advisors often spend most of their day observing their students in committee and full sessions. Faculty members are also welcome to attend a faculty advisor meeting once a day. These meetings are an opportunity for the faculty advisors to share feedback as well as an opportunity for our faculty liaisons to meet one another. Lastly, faculty will be invited to attend our engaging workshops and listen to the speakers in attendance at the conference.

Does HIC Provide Housing?

The Harvard Innovation Challenge has partnered with Rove Hotels for the Dubai 2019 Conference. The official hotel partner is Rove Healthcare City Hotel, which is a short walk from the conference location. Single occupancy rooms are available for AED315/night and double occupancy rooms are available for AED360/night on a first come first served basis. The above rates are inclusive of VAT and include complimentary WiFi. Please indicate on your early round application that you are interested in hotel accommodation or email before January 15, 2019 if you will be in need of hotel accommodation.

Does HIC Provide Transportation?

HIC will not provide transportation during the conference as all events will likely take place at the conference site at The Ismaili Centre in Dubai.

Does HIC Provide Meals?

While catering details are still being finalized, HIC will likely cater all meals throughout the conference.