TOPxRutgers is the interdisciplinary student team representing Rutgers University-New Brunswick in the yearly TOP University Design Sprint. 

The Opportunity Project (TOP) brings technologists, government, and communities to rapidly prototype digital products—powered by federal open data—that solve real-world problems for communities across the country.


Design Teams

  • Design and build a digital product that uses federal open data
  • Collaborate with other sprint participants including government data experts to explore and use available data sets, as well as user advocates to understand user needs
  • Conduct user research to ensure products are solving for real user needs
  • Join virtual “milestone” calls during the sprint to share progress, ask questions and provide feedback to other teams
  • Attend in-person event to present final products
  • Own and maintain the product after the sprint, or develop a strategy for handoff

TOPxRutgers 2024

The 2024 sprint is TBD.  The selected student team will vote on the theme in June when TOP releases the problem statements for the Fall 2024 University Design Sprint. Previous themes pursued by TOPxRutgers teams include:

  • Fall 2020- Helping the Public Understand Effects of Emissions on Local Air Quality
  • Fall 2021- Two problem statements selected
    • Assisting Businesses, Community, and State/Local Government Leaders to Make Critical Decisions Using Decennial Data
    • Tackling the Climate Crisis through Climate-Smart Communities (this project has continued and is now available as the CliMit Fellowship)
  • Fall 2022- Enhancing Children’s Resilience to Adversity in Puerto Rico
  • Fall 2023- Promoting Competition in the Credit Card Market
How TOP works: (1) Identify Challenges; (2) Team Up; (3) Create; (4) Showcase; (5) Reach Communities


  • We understand that your participation is extra and on top of your academic coursework. There will be weekly team meetings on Friday afternoons (1.5hrs/week) plus tasks to keep pace with the challenge milestones (2-4hrs/week). 

  • Your main commitment in the sprint is to build a digital product that uses federal open data (in addition to any state, local, and private data you have access to), and to join weekly meetings during the sprint. The team will complete a functioning MVP (Minimum Viable Product) by the end of the sprint.

  • That’s up to you! The only requirements are to build a digital solution that addresses the problem statement and uses federal open data.

  • Teams create a post-sprint strategy where they decide if as a team they want to maintain the product, archive their work, or if there is an opportunity to publish and/or hand off the work to the sponsoring partner.  For example, IDEA is currently working with the Environmental Protection Agency to publish the 2020 Rutgers IDEA TOP team’s product on the EPA’s website.