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Rice Cleantech Innovation Competition (RCIC)

Rice Cleantech Innovation Competition (RCIC)

Presented by Rice Business Cleantech 

RCIC is a student-led case competition that welcomes passionate cleantech leaders from communities across the US to discuss solutions addressing a pressing issue: greenhouse gas emissions. We are proud to offer a platform for students and industry professionals to learn from each other and discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by decarbonization. This case competition is an opportunity for students to engage with real-world problems and provide impactful solutions that showcase critical analytical and problem-solving skills within a short period of time.

The competition is held in person at Rice University followed by networking events with industry leaders and participation at the Rice Energy Finance Summit. There are two rounds of competition, with the five selected teams invited to provide their presentation to judges at Rice University. The winning teams are announced during the Rice Energy Finance Summit.

If you have any questions regarding the case competition, please email


  • The 3rd annual Rice Cleantech Innovation Competition will consist of 2 rounds. Round 1 will be conducted virtually, with teams submitting their presentation materials online. The top 5 scoring teams will receive invitations to compete in the second round in person at Rice University.

    Round 2 of the competition will take place on Thursday, November 9th, 2023, in the Shell Auditorium at the Jones Graduate School of Business. It will consist of a 25-minute presentation, followed by a 15-minute Q&A session with the panel of judges. The winners will be announced the next day during an award ceremony held as part of the programming at the Rice Energy Finance Summit (RCIC).

  • Schools can enter a maximum of three teams, with each team consisting of a minimum of four and a maximum of five members. Each team member must be currently enrolled as full-time or professional MBA student or other graduate student, with at least three of the members being currently enrolled MBA students as previously described. There are no specific requirements regarding the number of first or second-year students. Participating teams must submit the team name, school represented, team participants, and resumes for each participant by September 22nd, 2023, 11:59pm CST.

    Team composition must remain unchanged after case submission which will occur on or before the Sunday, October 15th, 2023, 11:59pm CST deadline. Team members can be removed after this date, so long as a minimum of four team members are present for the live presentation portion of the competition.

  • The case will be distributed via email to each team’s main point of contact at approximately 12:00 pm (CST) Monday, September 25. Once the case is distributed, teams can prepare their case analysis and presentation materials. Presentations must be submitted in PowerPoint slide format (.PPTX). Presentations are due no later than 11:59 pm (CST) Sunday, October 15th. Upon receiving the case submission, each team will receive a confirmation of receipt. It is important to note that once the submission is submitted on or before October 15th deadline, no additional changes can be made to the PowerPoint presentation. Each team should be ready to present the original version of their submitted presentation to the judges if they are invited to round 2. Please come prepared to share the presentation from your device using the original version.

  • While working on the case solution, it is strictly prohibited to seek assistance from individuals outside of the team. This includes engaging non-registered team members, other graduate school students, professors, and industry professionals; contacting companies, investors, firms, or school alumni; and plagiarizing. However, it is permissible to use open source materials or databases with access provided by your school (such as FactSet or PitchBook) are appropriate sources. Engaging in unauthorized assistance is prohibited and will result in disqualification from the competition. The presentation submission must consist of entirely original content generated by the registered team members, reflecting their own analysis. In addition, please cite sources used in the case submission at the end of the presentation.

  • If any questions arise after the case has been distributed on Monday, September 25th, 2023, please submit them to the email address provided with the case prompt. Questions will be answered by our co-chairs within 24 hours. In situations where more complex questions may impact all teams, we reserve the right to consult with the judges, provided that the judges consider the answer essential for teams to solve the case and the case itself lacks sufficient information to address the issue independently.

  • Teams must choose a name that does not reference their school or school mascot in any way. Including school logos or any other school references on the team's presentation materials, including PowerPoint presentations, posters, clothing, and documents is strictly prohibited. Additionally, teams are not allowed to verbally reference their school affiliation during their presentation to the judges.

  • On Tuesday, November 7th, 2023, presenting finalists teams will be assigned a presentation time for Thursday, November 9th, 2023. We will email the team’s specific schedule in advance. Assignments will be randomized. The first presentation of round 2 will begin promptly at 10:00am CST.

  • Each presentation must strictly adhere to the provided time limit, with 25 minutes allotted for the presentation itself and 15 minutes for the Q&A session. During the last five minutes of the Q&A, judges will provide feedback to each team on their presentation. These timing guidelines will be strictly enforced to ensure the competition remains on schedule. Presentation time will be part of the judges evaluation criteria and it is highly recommended to practice effectively to make the best use the allocated presentation time. In addition, we ask the teams to arrive at least 10 minutes earlier than their presentation time to ensure we strictly adhere to the schedule. We strongly encourage every team member to actively participate with a speaking role in the presentation.

  • As mentioned in the section “Timeline,” the announcement of the top 5 teams will take place on Sunday, October 22nd, 2023. These teams will be responsible for arranging their transportation logistics to Rice University. Teams requiring travel to Rice University may be eligible for travel subsidies provided by our sponsors. Following round 2, the decisions and results made by the judges are final. Cash awards to the winning teams will be announced on Friday, November 10th at the Rice Energy Finance Summit. All RCIC participants may attend round 2 presentations (except finalists who have yet to present). There will be separate rooms for finalists who have yet to present. In addition, round 2 will be open to other interested parties, such as faculty, students, sponsors, parents, and friends if they choose to attend.

  • Following round 2 presentations, the results will be compiled and announced during the next day’s Rice Energy Finance Summit (REFS). All student finalist and judges are provided with a complimentary REFS ticket and are expected to be present for the awards ceremony. There will be cash prizes available to the top 5 teams.

  • Business professional attire is required on the day of the presentation in addition to the award ceremony (for all round 2 contestants).

  • We will also offer networking opportunities on Thursday, November 9th with more information forthcoming. In addition, there will be a networking “partio” on the evening of Thursday, November 9th, open to sponsors and contestants, followed by a networking event on Friday, November 10th, 2023, after the conclusion of the Rice Energy Finance Summit.

  • By entering the case competition teams are required to acknowledge and adhere to the provided rules and procedures. Failure to comply with these rules may result in disqualification from this competition and may place the school on probation or ability to participate in future case competitions.

Past Competitions

  • Topic: Pathways for Industrial Decarbonization and Investment
    Date: November 9-10, 2023



    • Aatel Energy, Yale University
    • Alternative Fools, University of Virginia
    • Emissions Impossible, Rutgers University
    • SustainaBattle, Rice University
    • The Decarbonauts, Emory University
  • Topic: Investments in Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction
    Date: November 10, 2022

    Program  Photos


    1st Place: The Decarbonators (Rice University)
    2nd Place: Emission Impossible (Rice University)
    3rd Place: Windmillionaires (Emory University)
    4th Place: The Deuterium’s (University of Michigan + Babson College)
    5th Place: Carbon Reducers (University of California, Berkeley)


Kyle Neff
Marketing Co-Chair, REFS
Vice Chair, Sponsorship Co-Chair, RCIC