2021 Guidelines for Remote Contest

The 2021 Team Manual supersedes any previous manuals or handbooks.
Print out the manual and keep it at your team’s workstations.

Read it through at least one time as a team and review it regularly as you step through contest preparation.

The 2021 WERC Team Manual is your one-stop source for:

  • WERC policies
  • Specifications, requirements, and judging rubrics for:
    • Written report
    • Oral presentation
    • Bench-scale demonstration
    • Poster presentation
    • Preparing and submitting the ESP
    • Flash Talks
  • Contingency arrangements, in case travel to the contest is not possible
  • Helpful hints for a successful contest experience.

2021 WERC Team Manual (Full Bench-Scale Division)

2021 Team Manual–Full Bench-scale DivisionUpdated 1/14/21. Click for pdf file

2021 WERC Team Manual (Desktop Division)

2021 Team Manual–Desktop DivisionUpdated 1/20/21 to correct page limit. Click for pdf file.

Correction: The first version of the Desktop Division Manual stated the incorrect number of pages for the written report. WERC has established that the desktop-study technical report should total no more than 17 pages, including title page, executive summary, figures, and references. Note that this is a one-page increase from the 16-page limit stated in the task problem statement.

Technical Report Template and Manuscript Preparation

Guidelines for Preparing Front Matter and AuditsPrepared 2-18-21 Technical Report TemplateTemplate for the body of the Technical Report (.docx)

These are the 2021 formatting specifications for the technical report. This supersedes all previous formatting guidelines. It will prepare your paper for submission to IEEE Xplore, should your paper be selected for publication. This template is not needed for the Preliminary Report or the ESP.

Want to prepare your report in LaTeX? See IEEE website for instructions and templates.

Flash Talk Information–Go to page

Get special information needed to prepare the Flash Talk that is not included in the TEAM manual, including:

  • PowerPoint template
  • Flash Talk updates
  • PowerPoint submission instructions

General Resources

Sample Winning Papers

The technical reports below are those submitted by teams that won first-place awards over the past few years. Each is from a different university, reflecting different styles.
Awards are not based solely on the merits of the technical report, but also include results of the oral, bench, and poster presentations. Therefore, the papers will vary in quality and content. Teams are advised to review all papers and glean the best from each.

Formatting: Do not follow the formatting used in the papers provided below. They were written under older formatting guidelines and are provided to help your team with content only. Follow the IEEE Technical Report Template accessed through the button above.

Safety Guidelines

ESPs through WERC are not required of any teams in 2021 due to the virtual format of the contest.

Teams are expected to follow their institutions laboratory safety policies.

Award Categories

Each year, the WERC Design Contest and its sponsors award more than $25,000 in prizes in the following categories.
Amounts shown are minimum amounts and may increase, according to funding.

  1. Task awards (First, Second, Third Place; minimum amounts: $2500-$1000-$500, respectively).
    The number of awards will depend on the number of entries in each task.
    Awards are based on the judging rubric for written, oral, poster, and bench-scale components.
  2. Desktop Study (Virtual Contest) Awards. (First, Second, Third Place amounts TBA)
  3. WERC Resources Center Pollution Prevention/Energy Efficiency Award ($500)
    Recognizes the team that best utilizes the concepts of P2 (pollution prevention) and E2 (energy efficiency) in their solution. Primary considerations: Reduction/elimination of waste, greenhouse gases, hazardous materials; Conservation of water and air; utilization of sustainable materials; energy efficiency.
  1. Judges’ Choice Award ($500)
  2. Peer Award ($250). Pending–if adequate Zoom functionality is available. Competing students vote on their favorites.
  3. Terry McManus Outstanding Student Award. ($500-$1000, according to funding).
    All participating students are eligible for the Award. Recipients chosen based on letter from Faculty Advisor.
  4. Flash Talk competition ($1000-$500-$250-200). Separate team of judges.


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