INITIATIVE: Mobile App Challenge

Mobile App Challenge

The Mobile App Challenge (MAC) is a semester long competition in which interdisciplinary teams of students from the University of California, Merced develop mobile apps that have a positive impact on communities.

By the end of the Mobile App Challenge, teams will have gone through the design process to deliver a completed app and business plan. For teams that wish to continue developing or marketing their apps, CITRIS collaborates with the UC Merced Venture Lab to help the team grow their business. Currently, the 6th Annual Mobile App Challenge is underway. All mobile app ideas have been submitted by student teams to the Mobile App Challenge website. Every two weeks, a workshop is held to assist participants in the design process, so that students have the resources and feedback to continually refine their aps into apps that are beneficial and useful.

CITRIS reaches out to industry leaders to sponsor and fund the prizes awarded for the Mobile App Challenge. Students are given the opportunity to network with sponsors at CITRIS hosted events, and are offered assistance with their mobile apps throughout the semester by CITRIS staff.


  • In 2016, the Mobile App Challenge attained the highest rate of participation by 206%. More than 95 participants with over 20 mobile app ideas presented at the Mobile App Challenge Semi-Finals.
  • Many students that participate in the Mobile App Challenge are offered internships from our sponsors. One team got offered summer internships at PG&E for creating an app called UpNote, an app that helps students to study for their classes.
  • In 2015, the winner of the Mobile App Challenge was Switch, a universal home-operating system can control a user’s home appliances. Switch continues to promote energy conservation with their new business, Sweep Energy, that develops energy-monitoring equipment to predict equipment failure before it occurs and won the 2016 San Joaquin Entrepreneurial Challenge.