AI for the SDGs

Are you an undergraduate student? Do you have ideas for how to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems?
Apply for the Open Seventeen Challenge now

Application deadline: 9 March 2020

Online coaching March-April 2020 (2hr/week for 5 weeks)


Open Seventeen is a prize-backed challenge to reward and invest in those developing innovative and implementable projects that leverage CROWDSOURCING to tackle the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This spring, the challenge targets AI applications to benefit the SDGs, and it is run in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and other UN organizations.


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 Geneva (Switzerland) to attend the SDG Summer School 2020 as well as other major UN events.


The competition is open to undergraduate students from any field and region, who have a bold idea for how to combine Artificial Intelligence with crowdsourcing for the the SDGs, and who are currently registered at a University. Students may sign up as individuals or as a team (max 3 persons).


Application Deadline is 9 March 2020. Online coaching will take place over five weekly 2-hour interactive sessions, in Mar-Apr 2020. Coaching will include guest experts from partnering universities and International Organizations (exact dates/times will be communicated to successful applicants).

This Challenge is co-organized by Citizen Cyberlab at University of Geneva, Goodwall, AI for Good, with the support of the Geneva Tsinghua Initiative.

The Challenges


Estimating river flows

Challenge provider: ECMWF and WMO (more info)

Predicting river flows is critical for managing global water resources. How could you combine AI open data sources and measurements made by citizens to predict river flow in your region?


Predicting landslides

Challenge provider: Deltares and WMO (more info)

Forecasting rainfall-induced landslides is challenging. How can AI improve the landslide predictions in your region by using historical landslide datasets as well as crowdsourced data?


Eliminating gender bias

Challenge provider: ITU

There is increasing concern that datasets used to train AI algorithms are gender biased. How could public participation in data gathering reduce that bias?


Reducing food waste

Challenge provider: ITU

Every day food is wasted in some parts of the world, while people go hungry elsewhere. How could AI and citizen science help to reduce reduce waste and hunger?


Tracking sustainability through history

Challenge provider: UN Library Geneva

The UN is digitizing the archives of its predecessor the League of Nations. How could the study of historical trends in topics such as pollution, peace or poverty, be assisted with AI?


Assessing sustainable investments

Challenge provider: UNCTAD

Reporting is an important tool for transparency, but how can one extract useful information about SDG investments from thousands of documents? Use AI to automate analysis of financial reports.


Any sustainability issue of your choice

Open Challenge

This option is for applicants who are already working on a project for the SDGs, and want to develop it further using AI, crowdsourcing and open data. Specify which SDGs your project will impact and how.

How it works

9 March 2020

Deadline for Application


Registration is open until 9 March via our partner Goodwall, please read carefully how to apply. You can apply as individual or as a team (one application per team, max 3 persons).

Mar – Apr 2020

Online Coaching


Selected participants will be coached for 5 weeks. The coaching happens online, 2h per week, with mentors from academia and partnering International Organizations (dates/times will be communicated to successful applicants).

July 2020

Geneva events


Some projects and participants will be selected to participate in the SDG Summer School 2020 in Geneva (Switzerland), as well as other major UN events.

Make sure you check the Frequently Asked Questions for more details

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