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 inspired by the challenge of SCALING EDUCATION FOR THE SDGS. How can young innovators use CROWDSOURCING and OPEN DATA, combined with new technologies and social networks, to maximize the impact of SDG Education?


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 support participation in the SDG Summer School at University of Geneva and UNLEASH global innovation lab, as well as other unique opportunities to join international events (hackathons, innovation coaching, summer schools and more).


The competition is open to undergraduate students from any field and region, who have a bold idea for how to scale education for the SDGs, and who are registered at a University in 2019. Students may sign up as individuals or as a team (max 5 persons).


Application Deadline is 3 March 2019. Online coaching will take place over six 2-hour interactive online sessions, starting by mid-March and finishing late April. Coaching will include guest experts from UNITAR, ITU, UNESCO, and other 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.

Challenge 1
SDGs in schools

New ways of embedding SDG education in primary, middle and high school.

Challenge 2
Online education for SDGs

Generating innovative learning platforms for SDG education

Challenge 3
Hands-on Learning and SDGs

Integrating SDG learning in maker spaces, fablabs and libraries

Challenge 4
Challenge-based Learning for SDGs

Launching global and local competitions around SDGs

Challenge 5
Crowdsourcing for SDGs

Exploiting citizen science, gamification and social networks for SDG education

Challenge 6
New technologies for SDG Education

Applying Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and other cutting-edge technologies for SDG learning

How it works
3 March 2019

Deadline for Application

In the application, you will briefly introduce yourself, your motivations, and pitch your idea!

March - April 2019


50 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 online, for 2h per week, with mentors from academia, and partnering International Organizations (dates/times will be communicated to successful applicants).

April 2019

Selected projects - SDG Summer School and more

Projects and participants will be selected by a jury representing the organizing institutions, to receive travel grants for the SDG Dual Masters Degree (starting September 2019), the SDG Summer School in Geneva, and the global innovation week UNLEASH.

Opportunities to take part in other international SDG-related events will also be offered.

Make sure you check the Frequently Asked Questions for more details