Be a true explorer

Kofi Annan Geneva Challenge for Graduate Students 2017: Advancing Development Goals Contest

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 launched in 2014 the Advancing Development Goals Contest, an international competition for graduate students.

Application Deadline: 

  • Registration of Teams: 25th  May, 2017
  • Submission of project: before midnight 12 am, on 31st July 2017 Central Europe Time (CET).

Offered annually? Yes

Eligible Countries: All

To be taken at (country): Geneva, Switzerland

About the Award: The idea 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 3 to 5 enrolled master students from anywhere in the world.

We invite teams of students to:

  • identify a challenge stemming from employment;
  • construct an interdisciplinary analysis on how it affects different aspects of development in a specific (but transposable) context;
  • propose innovation at the policy, practice, process or technology levels turning the challenge into development opportunity.

Type: Contest


  • Participants of the ADG contest must be enrolled graduate students at the time of their registration for the contest
    • We consider ‘graduate students’ to be anyone who is enrolled in a post bachelor level university program with a maximum duration of 2 years or anyone who can prove to be studying towards a masters degree program.
  • Participants must gather in teams of 3 (three) to 5 (five) graduate students who are able to contribute from at least two different disciplinary perspectives to  the submitted analysis.
    • No participation on an individual basis will be admitted
    • The participants can be enrolled in the same graduate program, collaborate with students from other programs from the university they are enrolled in or coordinate with students from different universities or institutions worldwide.
  • All team members must provide a scanned copy of a document that proves enrollment as a graduate student before the registration of the team can be confirmed and validated.
  • Any official document issued by the Academic Institute the student is affiliated to  is accepted as proof of enrollment if 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 people who are transitioning into graduate studies as long as they have already been accepted into a graduate student program at the time of registration.

Selection Criteria: The ADG contest offers an opportunity for master students to use theoretical tools to frame a development issue and offer a creative, feasible and potentially efficient solution to address the identified vulnerability. Thus the ASC and the Jury Panel will be looking for the following characters in the proposals:

  1. The relevance of the research question proposed by the team. It refers to submissions necessarily being able to identify a real world problem, not just an interesting research question, thus transposing the disconnect between academic and policy challenges.
  2. The entry must display analytical rigor and academic competence in the choice of sources, the structure of the arguments and in the ability to discuss, question and build upon previous perspectives on the topic (critical approach);
  3. Practicality of solutions and feasibility imbedded within the proposals. There should be development on why and how the idea presented is efficient to addressing the issue raised by the team;
  4. All submissions must be original and especially developed for participation in the 2017 ADG contest. Originality here implies that significative sections of other works should not be reused in the submission to TGC. Entries that have already participated in other contests will not be accepted. However ideas may be transposed from a different context and adapted to the specific problem the students decide to focus on.
  5. The outreach of the solution, that is, the amount of people that will directly or indirectly benefit from the project is not an evaluation criteria as long as the solution is potentially transposable (scalable) to similar situations.
  6. Regarding the finalist presentations in Geneva, the Jury will be looking into inter alia:
    • The clarity of the oral presentations;
    • The perspective of a practical linkage with the beneficiaries of the action proposed;
    • The quality of the response to questions from the Jury and from the public.
    • The oral presentation should ensure that the students do their work themselves but will not be crucial in defining ranking the finalists. e) The finalists will not attend each other’s presentations, so as to allow similar questions to be asked to each team and to avoid questioning the decision on the final ranking.

Selection Procedure: Your submissions will be evaluated by an interdisciplinary academic steering committee who will select semi-finalists to be published on the competitions website and then reviewed by an independent jury of experts with academic, governmental and private sector backgrounds.

Three finalist teams 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 from the public. The finalists will also be present at an awards ceremony where the results of the contest will be announced preceded by a high-level key-note speech on the challenges of employment.

Value of Contest:

  • 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 3 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. 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 an awards ceremony where the results of the contest will be announced preceded by a high level keynote speech on The Challenges of Employment.
  • 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 for a, creating professional networking opportunities.
  • The winning project will receive a cash prize of CHF 10,000 (ten thousand Swiss Francs or approx. US$11’000). The second place will receive CHF 5,000 CHF and the third, CHF 2,500 CHF

How to Apply: Submissions must be sent by email to: [email protected] before midnight 12 am, on 31st July 2017 Central Europe Time (CET).

Entries will have a maximum length of 8000 (eight thousand) words excluding all notes, graphics and references as well as short biographies of each team member 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 long listed works will go through a background check before being forwarded to the Jury members as semi finalists of the ADG contest 2017

Visit Contest Webpage for details

Award Provider: Kofi Annan Foundation, Graduate Institute Geneva

Important Notes: 

  • The registration deadline is simply the date by which we need you to fill in the application form below, and send us your proof of enrollment.
  • Following which you have entire 2 months to prepare you proposals, which are due by the submission deadline
  • Register now, Submit later !
Watch Interesting Videos from Our Channel

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

You might also like

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.