The Pandemic Policython is a nonpartisan online competition from October 23rd to 25th for students to write proposals for policy-based solutions to today's most pressing challenges. Over the course of the policython, teams of one to four members will hear from partners, receive guidance from leading academics whilst writing proposals, and submit their policy memos to policymakers.

In the spirit of collaboration, applications are open to anyone, all hosted and submitted content, including memos and feedback, will be published online, and continued partnerships are highly encouraged.

General Tracks (open to all participants):

  1. Economic Equity (Catch-all track)
  2. Public Health
  3. Criminal Justice
  4. Voter Rights (most relevant to participants from the USA)
  5. Technology

NOTE: We're currently updating our tracks and will send out an announcement (via our mailing list on substack and post on this website) about new installments soon. When filling out your application, please sign up for one of our General Tracks (you may change your preferences later).


Teams who are judged to have written the Best Policy Brief will be matched with a partner and awarded with a seed grant.

Apply at http://bit.ly/policythonapplication

A Special Thank you to our Supporters: 

Carnegie Mellon University Institute for Politics and Strategy
Climate Cardinals
Cornell Institute of Public Affairs*
COVID-19 Policy Hackathon
Harvard Institute of Politics Policy Program*
Harvard Undergraduate Economics Association
Harvard Undergraduates for Bipartisan Solutions
Health & Policy Analysis Team
International Public Policy Association*
MIT EnergyHack 2020
NYU Institute of Human Development and Social Change
Netherlands Innovation Network
NYU Public Safety Lab
Panel to the People*
Policy Initiatives Institute
The IO Foundation
The Future Society, a student org at HKS
The Heritage Foundation*
The Rice-Columbia COVID-19 Health Policy Hackathon
The WHO*
University of Chicago Institute of Politics
University of Michigan Poverty Solutions
University of Michigan Science, Technology, and Public Policy
Voters Choose
Yale Globalist
Young Americans Coalition for Unity

Track Partner
*Mentor Partner



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What we value and are looking for

  • Participation. We strongly encourage anyone to apply, especially if they don't know anybody with a shared interest. We'll match you! Above all else, we require and support each team to share their work with stakeholders. 
  • Inclusion. In particular, we encourage and support immigrant, POC, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized communities to both participate and partner with us. Although the general tracks will be in English and primarily focus on U.S. policy, we hope for the educational material to be intersectional and beneficial to anyone. Given the subjective and contextual nature of public policy, we're inclusive of all participants, messages, submissions, mentors, partners, and speakers that follow our code of conduct. We empower multiple perspectives and the redefining of policy questions.
  • Transparency. Central to the Discord server, which is the center of the policython, is the public forum, where we encourage resource, feedback, and idea sharing. Also, to encourage collaboration, we match individuals with teams and partners with tracks. Teams are required to give feedback to the other teams in their block. Critically, after policy brief and presentation judging is over, the drive will be publicized, allowing the public to view briefs and recordings. 
  • Accountability. Fundamental to our policython are the problem statements, which acknowledge and introduce issues that we believe to be solvable with policy. Policy briefs may be no more than 2000 words in length (not including references or illustration captions) and may contain up to 6 exhibits. Before judging, we will provide a template for PDF versions of the proposals to be sent out to relevant policymakers. All submissions must follow Harvard College Honor Code standards regarding Academic Integrity, including the proper citation of all source materials.