Bracket Challenge

32 universities
with the best engineering program compete in a five-week single elimination tournament. The university that receives the most votes advances to the next round.

The WINNING UNIVERSITY will win an exclusive event on their campus with food, music and prizes.

All student voters are eligible to win:

  • One of FIVE 9.7 inch iPads
  • One of THREE GoPro Hero 6 cameras
  • One of FOUR InstaLabs
  • All-expense-paid trip for two to Maker Faire, May 17-20, in San Mateo, CA
Congrats to the $50 Amazon Gift Card Winners:
  • Round 1: Carl C, Michaela J, Christopher J
  • Round 2: Bruce A, Ravi J, James C
  • Round 3: Matthew S, Douglas G, Thomas S
  • Round 4: Stanley Z, Tuyen T, and James A

Thirty-two U.S.-based universities who met specific criteria were selected by our editorial staff to participate. These universities are highly active in a number of engineering communities such as design competitions, hackathons, robotics, research, incubators, and more.

Will your university be one of the finalists?

Don’t forget to vote!

Share with friends to help advance your favorite university.


Top University Prize — Live Campus Event

The winning university will win an exclusive event on their campus with
food, music and prizes.

GRAND PRIZE — A 4-day Trip to Maker Faire for 2

One lucky university student will win the grand prize. An all-expense-paid, 4-day trip to Maker Faire, May 17-20, 2018, in San Mateo, CA.

4 Students to Win a Digi-Key InstaLab

One student from each of the top 4 universities will have a chance to win a Digi-Key InstaLab — Valued at $3,000

What's Inside:

  • Oscilloscope
  • Function generator
  • Bench Power Supply
  • Digital Multimeter
  • Caliper
  • Soldering Station
  • Fluke Voltalert
  • Lead-free Solder
  • Flux Pen
  • Precision Probe Set (picks)
  • Tweezer
  • 2 Wire Strippers
  • Loupe
  • Tape
  • Wire
  • Breadboard
  • Digi-Key Ruler
  • Enclosure/Box
  • Screwdrivers & Needle Nose Pliers Set
  • Starter Components & Cables
  • Anti-Static Mat and Strap
  • Terminal and Splices Crimp Tool Kit
  • HTU21D Humidity, Temperature Sensor Xplained Pro Platform Evaluation Expansion Board

Five random winners that vote and register in all rounds will be eligible to win


Three random winners that vote and register in a single round will be eligible to win
(3 winners per round)


Digi-Key - Digi-Key Electronics is an authorized global, full-service distributor of electronic components, offering more than 6.8 million products, with over 1.4 million products in stock and available for immediate shipment, from over 750 quality name-brand manufacturers. Digi-Key also stocks over 10,000 boards and modules to assist in any student's design or project. The company's best-in-class website features a wide variety of online resources including Product Training Modules (PTMs), conversion calculators, how-to articles and videos, datasheets, multimedia libraries, and much more.

Learn more about Digi-Key.
Microchip Technology Inc. The Embedded Control Solutions Company® - Microchip Technology Inc. is a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide. The Microchip Academic Program helps assure that the next generation of embedded systems engineers have the skills and knowledge needed to meet tomorrow’s challenges.

Learn more about Microchip.
Renesas - Are you a student looking for outstanding learning opportunities, project ideas, design contests and fun? Or are you a lecturer looking for comprehensive course materials and lab exercises to fascinate young people for Engineering Sciences? The Renesas University Program and Renesas Academy are for you!

Signing up for the Renesas University Program, lecturers will receive a set of Renesas Synergy Starter Kits – the same as used in the industry – lecturing slides, lab exercises and course books for students – all free of charge!

Learn more about Renesas University Program.
Learn more about Renesas Academy.
Maxon Motors - With over 50 years of experience in drive technology, maxon works closely with engineers designing high-tech innovations. Maxon fosters the Young Engineer Program (YEP) working with college students and university professors to support them with our know-how, tools and resources necessary for their unique design challenges. Maxon's engineers have been true partners in the quest to create the right solution for each of our customers. Prototypes, custom systems, or large series: Whatever your requirements may be, we are here to be of assistance in selecting the right combination for your drive system.

Learn more about the Young Engineer Program (YEP).
Altech Corporation, who values the education of future engineers, is an established United States based supplier of components and devices used in industrial control, instrumentation and automation applications. ISO 9001:2000 certified, the Altech product line includes circuit protection, DC-UPS, digital meters, terminal blocks, contactors, industrial relays, motor disconnect switches, pin & sleeve devices, foot switches, push buttons and many other products. Altech’s products meet UL and many international standards.

Learn more about Altech Corporation and it's extensive line of control components.
Essentra Components manufactures small, essential components, such as printed circuit board & electronics hardware, cable management and fasteners for the electronics industry.

Learn more about Essentra's PCB.
Learn more about Essentra's Cable Management.
Learn more about Essentra's Fasteners.


  • The university that receives the most votes in each round will move on to the next round
  • Each round of voting lasts one complete week
  • Voting for round one begins March 7th and ends March 13th
  • Voting for round two begins March 14th and ends March 20th
  • Voting for round three begins March 21st and ends March 27th
  • Voting for round four begins March 28th and ends April 3rd
  • Voting for the championship round begins April 4th and ends April 10th
  • The university that wins the championship round will receive prizes from all of our donating sponsors
  • The university that wins the championship round will receive editorial coverage from Electronic Design and Machine Design
  • At the end of round five, participants that voted in all five rounds will be entered to win one of five $100 Amazon gift cards (registration required in each round; ends on April 10th)
  • At the end of each round, three voting participants will be selected at random to win $50 Amazon gift cards (registration required)
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