Open Seventeen is a prize-backed challenge to reward and invest in those developing innovative and implementable projects that leverage OPEN DATA and CROWDSOURCING to tackle the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This edition of O17 is reserved to the student of ETH and includes local and global challenges proposed by students and professors, and by national and international partners such as CARITAS and WMO.


All accepted participants receive intensive mentoring and coaching to help transform their ideas into impactful projects, and become part of a global community of civic innovators. On successful completion of the O17, they may be eligible for travel grants to participate in the "SDG Bootcamp" in Geneva (involving UNIGE, CERN, UN, and other International Organizations), and receive support for a pilot implementation of their solution.


The competition is open to all students registered at ETH in 2019, from any field of study, who have a bold idea for how to solve one of the challenges proposed below. Students may sign up as individuals or as a team (max 5 persons), or they can apply as "supporters" to offer any team a particualr skill (ie. coding, making, AI, ...).


Application Deadline is 31 March 2019. Online coaching will take place over six 2-hour interactive sessions, starting in April and finishing late May. Coaching will include guest experts from ETH, from NYU, and from international organizations (exact dates/times will be communicated to successful applicants).

The Challenge is co-organized by Citizen Cyberlab at University of Geneva, the Citizen Science Centre Zurich (University of Zurich and ETH Zurich), and the Governance Lab at New York University, with the support of the Geneva Tsinghua Initiative.

The Challenges

Challenge 1
Estimate soil moisture

Develop a low-cost solution to measuring soil moisture down to 1.5 m depth

Challenge 2
Minimizing Food waste at ETH

Innovative solution to minimize food waste, with particular interest in applications to university settings.

Challenge 3
Mobile solutions for Child health

Mobile solutions to improve child health in LMICs (e.g. medical records, diagnostic tools)

Challenge 4
Plastic pollution at ETH

Low-cost crowdsourced solution to reduce the use of non-recoverable and single-use plastics at ETH

How it works
31 March 2019

Deadline for Application

In the application, you will briefly introduce yourself, your motivations, and pitch your idea. You can apply as individual, as a team (max 5 persons), or as "supporter" for a particualr expertise (ie. coding, making, AI, ...).

April - May 2019


Selected participants will follow a 6 weeks long coaching developed by The GovLab at NYU, in collaboration with Citizen Cyberlab and the Citizen Science Center Zurich. The coaching sessions happen in person and online, 2h per week, with mentors from academia and partnering International Organizations (dates/times will be communicated to successful applicants).

May 2019

Selected projects - SDG Bootcamp and more

On May 31, 2019 the teams will pitch in front a jury lead by Rektorin Sarah Springman. The winning team will be able to participate in the SDG Bootcamp (involving UNIGE, CERN, UN, and other International Organizations) and receive financial support to develop a prototype of their solution.

Make sure you check the ETH Moodle for more details