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 challenge targets "SDG #4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all", and it is run in collaboration with the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).


The competition is open to students currently registered in a University, at the Bachelors or Masters level, and who can sign up as an individual or a team (max 3 persons).

The Challange is co-organized by the 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.


In Feb-Mar 2019, participants to the Open Seventeen challenge will explore multiple aspects of using open data, crowdsourcing solutions, and do-it-yourself technologies to scale education for the SDGs. During six 2-hour interactive online sessions, we’ll be coaching you and advancing your proposed solutions, with the help of guest experts from UNITAR, ITU, UNESCO, and other organizations (dates/times will be communicated to successful applicants).


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 course they may be eligible for travel grants to support participation in the SDG Dual Degree Masters programme and the SDG Summer School, and profit of other unique opportunities to join international events (competitions, hackathons, summer schools and more).

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
27 January 2019

Deadline for Application

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

February - March 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).

March 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 either the SDG Dual Masters Degree (starting September 2019), or the SDG Summer School in Geneva.

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