I guess they saw the competition run by Eve Online doing something very similar and thought 'hey, we could get these guys to do our job for us too'. To be honest the only problem I have with this is that it's for STO, which sucks badly. If it didn't have the Trek franchise tacked to it the game would have disappeared moments after release.
If they publish all the entries though we might get to see some nice ships, the Eve Online one got quite a few very professional models sent in. They had the advantage of a much freer hand however, limited only to 1km max size. Here we would be trying to recreate a very well known ship with a well known layout and a very well known set of design rules, making it that much tougher to come up with something original.