Geneva Challenge 2020 [Win Prizes & Free Trip to Geneva, Switzerland]


The Geneva Challenge 2020 is now open for entries. The 2020 Advancing Development Goals International Contest for Graduate Students aims to present innovative and pragmatic solutions to address the challenges of social inclusion.

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Eager to stimulate reflection and innovation on development from diverse disciplinary and contextual perspectives and with the generous support of Ambassador Jenö Staehelin, the Graduate Institute has launched in 2014 the Advancing Development Goals Contest, an international competition for Master students.

The idea of the competitions is to gather contributions that are both theoretically grounded and offer pragmatic solutions to a relevant international development problem stemming from an interdisciplinary collaboration between three to five enrolled master students from anywhere in the world.

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The ADG contest distributes 25,000 CHF in monetary prizes. The winning project will be awarded CHF 10,000; the two teams in second place will receive CHF 5,000 each and the two teams in third place, CHF 2,500 each. Travel expenses such as flights, visa requests and accommodation are covered by the organization

The Geneva Challenge 2020 Details:

Host Country:

  • Switzerland

Competition By:

  • Graduate Institute Geneva

Prize Categories:

This year, we will distribute five prizes, one per continent. The five finalist teams will be invited to come to Geneva for their project showcases and the award ceremony end of September 2020.

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Five prizes will be distributed; one in each of the following categories (based on the UN Statistics list):

  • Universities located in Africa
  • Universities located in Asia
  • Universities located in Europe
  • Universities located in North America and Oceania
  • Universities located in South America


  • All shortlisted submissions selected by the ASC are published and promoted (if authorized by the teams) on the Geneva Challenge website, providing visibility to the teams and their work.
  • All members of the 5 finalist teams will be invited to come to Geneva for an oral presentation where they will defend their proposals and answer questions from the Jury and from the public.
    • At least 2 members from each finalist team should confirm availability to come to Geneva for the oral presentation of their submission. If only one member is available or in case there is a lack of reaction to the invitation to come to Geneva after 7 days of the communication of the results will be considered as withdrawal from the competition.
  • The finalists will also be present at the awards ceremony where the results of the contest will be announced preceded by a high-level keynote speech on The Challenges of Social Inclusion.
  • Travel expenses such as flights, visa requests and accommodation are covered by the organization of the contest for this purpose
  • The presentations and submissions of the finalists will be promoted for information in relevant publications and international organization fora, creating professional networking opportunities
  • The projects of the finalist teams will be showcased on the Youth Solutions platform of our partner, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Youth.
  • The winning project will receive a cash prize of CHF 10’000 (ten thousand Swiss Francs). The two teams in second place will receive CHF 5’000 each. The two teams in third place, CHF 2’500 each.
Geneva Challenge 2020 | The Challenges of Social Inclusion


Eligibility Criteria:

  • Participants of the ADG contest 2020 must be enrolled as graduate students at the time of their registration for the contest.
    • They consider “graduate students” to be anyone enrolled in a post-bachelor level university program with a maximum duration of 2 (two) years, or anyone who can prove to be studying towards acquiring a masters level degree
  • Participants must gather in teams of 3 (three) to 5 (five) graduate students. In the submitted analysis, they should contribute with an interdisciplinary approach or from at least 2 (two) different disciplinary perspectives.
    • No participation on an individual basis will be admitted.
    • The participants can be enrolled in the same graduate program or can collaborate with students from other programmes from the university they are enrolled in or coordinate with students from different universities and institutions worldwide.
    • The category in which the team will be placed for the contest will be based on the continent of the universities predominantly represented within the team
  • . All team members must provide a scanned copy of a document that serves as proof of enrolment as a graduate student before the registration of the team can be confirmed and validated.
    • Any official document issued by the academic institution the student is affiliated to is accepted as proof of enrolment as long as it contains:
      • The name of the student;
      • The program he/she is enrolled in;
      • An issuance date up to three months before the registration date or
      • Validity beyond the registration date.
  •  Exceptionally, we might accept the registration of students who are transitioning into graduate studies, as long as they have already been accepted in a graduate student programme at the time of the registration.

Registration of teams:

  • An online registration form will be made available from 16th December 2019
  •  Registration ends on 23rd March 2019 before midnight – Central Europe Time (CET)
  •  Each group must choose a team leader who will be the main (but not sole) focus point for communication with the organization of the contest.
  • The registration form must be correctly filled in with the information required of all the participants.
  • Before the registration deadline, the proof of enrolment for all the team members must be sent online or to [email protected]

Submission Requirements:

  • Submissions must be sent by email to [email protected] before midnight 12 am (Central Europe Time (CET)), on 13th July 2020.
  • Entries must include an abstract and a project. The abstract should be one page long and should include short biographies of each team member, a brief description of the problem addressed by the project and the solution, specifying in which way the proposed solution will make a difference.
  • Projects will have a maximum length of 8000 (eight thousand) words excluding all notes, graphics, and references and must be written in English or French.
  • The submissions will combine theoretical analyses, creativity, critical thinking on technical assistance, capacity building and on the agency of development.
  • Entries must be original. All longlisted works will go through a check for plagiarism before being forwarded to the Jury members as semi-finalists of the 2019 Geneva Challenge.

Selection Process:

Submissions are evaluated by an interdisciplinary academic steering committee that will select three submissions per category to be published on the competition’s website and then reviewed by an independent jury of experts with academic, governmental and private sector backgrounds.Five finalist teams, one team per continent, will be invited (traveling and accommodation expenses covered) to an oral presentation in Geneva, where they will defend their ideas and answer questions from the jury and the public. The finalists will also be invited to an awards ceremony where the contest results will be announced, preceded by a high-level keynote speech on the challenges of climate change.

What is the difference between the two deadlines?

The registration deadline is simply the date by which we need you to fill in the application form and send us your proof of enrolment, confirming your status as a master student.

  • The confirmation documents (enrolment certificates or student cards) should contain your name, your graduate program, and a recent issuance date.
  • In case you do not have these documents at the time of your registration, please send them to this email address ([email protected]before the deadline of 23 March 2020.

Following the registration for the Geneva Challenge 2020 in Switzerland, you have four months to prepare your proposal, which is due by the submission deadline. Your project must be sent by email to [email protected] before midnight 12 am (Central Europe Time), on 13 July 2020.



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