The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Global Innovation Challenge

The UNOPS S3i Global Innovation Challenge brings together entrepreneurs, corporations, academia, investors and other innovators to provide the creative ideas and solutions needed to provide the creative ideas and solutions needed to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Are you ready for the challenge?

The Global Innovation Challenge in Malmö, Sweden is now open. Read more and apply here.

Read our FAQs document here.

Building a sustainable future requires innovation

Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time. From the stability of our ecosystems affecting human health, to our ability to grow food and create thriving communities, our future depends on how we tackle this challenge. Addressing the future needs of people, communities and nations requires the world’s infrastructure to be more resilient and better equipped to withstand increasingly frequent extreme weather events – ensuring that all people, in all corners of the world, can adapt, survive and prosper.

But to get there, now more than ever, the world needs fresh ideas, solutions and technologies.

What is resilient infrastructure?

Resilient infrastructure is the ability of infrastructure (such as schools, bridges and hospitals), as well as infrastructure networks and systems (such as transport, water and energy), to anticipate, absorb, adapt and recover from natural shocks and stresses. Learn more here.

What new solutions are we looking for?

We are calling on innovators and entrepreneurs to develop new technology and solutions for creating infrastructure, networks and systems that can withstand shocks and stresses. The solutions need to demonstrate how technology – from sensors to artificial intelligence – could build climate resilience, helping societies prepare for and adapt to the challenges posed by climate change.

Data on our climate and natural resources – such as forests and ocean – can be captured and analyzed. Accurately analyzing and utilizing that data will play an important role in designing and building resilient infrastructure, networks and systems.

Solutions could range from ensuring reliable power generation and effective emergency responses in the midst of a fierce storm, to advancing sustainable agriculture and protecting biodiversity. It could include improving access to clean and safe drinking water – and much, much more.

Solutions submitted in this challenge do not need to be commercialized and will be treated by our review team as confidential.

The Global Innovation Challenge is now open for applications!

Global Innovation Challenge - Malmö, Sweden

In collaboration with the City of Malmö, the UNOPS S3i Innovation Centre in Sweden is now looking for startups with solutions that can help build sustainable cities and communities and support the Sustainable Development Goals by:

  • developing new technology to minimize negative environmental impacts and reduce greenhouse gas emissions

  • enhancing community resilience to the impacts of climate change through improved city planning and infrastructure

  • accelerating gender equality by focusing on the specific needs of women and girls in cities

Startups with the most potential solutions for addressing these issues will have the chance to be admitted to the UNOPS S3i Innovation Programme in Sweden in 2022. For this challenge, the selection committee includes members from UNOPS, City of Malmö and the private sector, including investors. The selected 8-10 startups will have the chance to work closely with local and global stakeholders, supported by the UNOPS S3i Innovation network across the globe.

The application to the Global Innovation Challenge is open until 28 February 2022.

Startups from all over the world are encouraged to apply! Submit your application here.

Additional information

Once the deadline for the application is closed, a selection committee reviews the applications. Approximately 15 top teams will be invited to develop their solutions at a ‘Boost Camp’ hosted by the S3i Innovation Centre.

The Boost Camp participants will pitch their solutions to the selection committee. Solutions showing the most potential will have the opportunity to join the S3i Innovation Centre’s Incubator Programme. The incubation programme starts soon after the Boost Camp and provides support to advance solutions to the marketplace.

This programme is open to both individuals and groups, such as business entities and other types of organizations. Female applicants are encouraged to apply.

Note: The set-up of the Boost Camp will depend on global travel restrictions due to COVID-19. The timing will be determined and communicated to the selected candidates once selection is done.

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