The 2020 Advancing Development Goals International Contest for Graduate Students aims to present innovative and pragmatic solutions to address the challenges of social inclusion. Applications for the challenge are invited after registration from March 23, 2020.

Leave no one behind is the central and transformative promise of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the foundation for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Including this principle ensures that the 2030 SDGs will be universally achievable, reaching those furthest behind first.

The 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 has launched in 2014 the Advancing Development Goals Contest, an international competition for Master students.

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 three to five enrolled master students from anywhere in the world.

Five prizes will be distributed; one in each of the following categories (based on the UN Statistics list):

  • Universities located in Africa
  • Universities located in Asia
  • Universities located in Europe
  • Universities located in North America and Oceania
  • Universities located in South America
Selection Process

Submissions are evaluated by an interdisciplinary academic steering committee that will select three submissions per category to be published on the competition’s website and then reviewed by an independent jury of experts with academic, governmental and private sector backgrounds.

Five finalist teams, one team per continent, 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 the public.


The ADG contest distributes 25,000 CHF in monetary prizes. The winning project will be awarded CHF 10,000; the two teams in second place will receive CHF 5,000 each and the two teams in third place, CHF 2,500 each.

The finalists will also be invited to an awards ceremony where the contest results will be announced, preceded by a high-level keynote speech on the challenges of climate change.

How to Apply?
  1. The registration deadline is simply the date by which we need you to fill in the application form and send us your proof of enrolment, confirming your status as a master student.
  2. Following the registration, you have four months to prepare your proposal, which is due by the submission deadline. Your project must be sent by email to: geneva.challenge@graduateinstitute.ch before midnight 12 am (Central Europe Time), on 13 July 2020.
  3. To register online, click here.
  4. The last date to register is March 23, 2020.

Email ID: geneva.challenge@graduateinstitute.ch