The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Global Innovation Challenge

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Deadline for submissions

Participants should submit their ideas by 31 July 2020, 24:00 Central European Time (CET) to be considered.

Read our FAQs document here.

UNOPS Global Innovation Challenge brings together innovators, entrepreneurs, programmers and developers to provide the creative ideas and solutions needed to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Advancing resilient infrastructure with technology in the face of climate change

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 impacts of climate change on 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.

And that’s where you come in!

What new technology solutions are we looking for?

We are calling on innovators and entrepreneurs to develop new technology 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.

What is resilient infrastructure?

It’s 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.

Are you ready for the challenge?

Participants should submit their ideas by 31 July 2020, 24:00 Central European Time (CET) to be considered.

Global innovation programme membership

UNOPS Global Innovation Centres (GICs) offer a partnership arrangement to private sector organizations that would like to become global members. Exclusive benefits for global members of the innovation programme include the opportunity to co-design GIC innovation challenges and to participate as a jury member to select the winners. Global members will also have the ability to invest in start-up companies identified through the innovation challenges.

Sony Corporation is a global member of UNOPS innovation programme

In February 2020, UNOPS and Sony Corporation entered a collaborative agreement in the area of innovation. Selected startups and companies will participate in UNOPS Global Innovation Incubator Programme, which includes participation in the Sony Startup Acceleration Program. Through this Global Innovation Challenge, UNOPS will provide the necessary platform for sustaining efforts to address environmental issues within the SDGs while Sony will provide necessary support in the areas of investment, technology and business development, education and human resource development.

So you’ve submitted your solution, what happens next?

Through UNOPS Global Innovation Centre in Kobe, Japan, all solutions proposed in the resilient infrastructure challenge will be reviewed by a team of subject matter experts, including from both UNOPS and the private sector.

Participants whose proposals are deemed to have the greatest potential to create a positive impact towards building climate change adaptation and resilience through infrastructure will be contacted by 31 August 2020, 24:00 (CET). They will also potentially be included in an innovation incubator programme.

Boot Camp

The top candidates from this review process will be invited to a boot camp in Kobe, Japan. All those selected should be available in person for a four-day period.

Note: The set-up of the boot 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.

Global Innovation Centre Incubator

Selected participants will be given the opportunity to join one of UNOPS Global Innovation Centre Incubators for a 12-month period. They will receive support to help advance their solution to the marketplace.


Participants with solutions that demonstrate the most potential will be given the opportunity to develop a pilot in collaboration with UNOPS, at a suitable location.

For more information, please also visit:


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

Global Innovation Challenge #1

Applications from our first Global Innovation Challenge are currently under review and those invited to the boot camp hosted by the team in Sweden will be notified shortly.

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