SDG Summer School

In September 2015, world leaders committed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs. Over the next 15 years, governments will strive to achieve goals such as ending extreme poverty, fighting inequality and tackling climate change. To achieve these goals, we need to enable today’s youth to play an active and meaningful role in tackling the SDGs. The motivation of the SDG Summer School is for teams of University students, in close collaboration with UN organisations, to conceive ways to use open data, crowdsourcing technologies, and low-cost open source solutions to tackle sustainable development in ways that even schoolchildren can participate in, and develop prototypes suitable for deployment.


Summer School 2019

Theme:  “Scaling Education for the SDGs”. Projects inspired by challenges set by partner International Organisations (ITU, UNESCO, UNITAR)

Dates and Format:  1 July- 28 July 2019

Students will work in teams under the guidances of mentors from UNIGE and International Organisations. 

Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Applicants:  The SDG Summer School targets undergraduate (Bachelor) students from all relevant fields, and also considers well-motivated Master students.

Application Deadline: 30 April 2019 (midnight Geneva). Confirmation of selection by 5 May 2019.

Registration fee: CHF 2’000 to be paid by 1 June 2019. Includes local accommodation at a Geneva Student Residence. Does not include travel or daily expenses.

For UNIGE and THU students: Extended deadline 13 May 2019. Reduced fee of CHF 500 (includes accommodation at a Geneva Student Residence).

Prize:  Three of the Summer School students will be invited to the 2019 UNLEASH innovation event in Shenzhen, China (6-13 November 2019). 

Fill in the application form here

Go to the Summer School 2019 page


Several Ways to Join

The SDG Summer School targets primarily undergraduate (bachelor) students coming from universities worldwide. Teams are interdisciplinary, so we welcome students from all fields of study,who share a passion for making the world a more sustainable place. In 2019, students can win a travel stipend to participate in the the SDG Summer School by entering the Open Seventeen Challenge. Deadline to register for the challenge is 3 March 2019. Or they can compete in the WSIS Hackathon on Solutions for Lifelong Learning (7-8 April 2019). For students who wish to apply for the Summer School directly, the deadline is 30 April 2019Fill in the application form here.

Challenge-based Learning with the UN

The SDG Summer School is all about team-based problem solving and hands-on prototype development, going from a conception phase to producing practical demos. The overarching goal is to impact school-based science classes, by enabling tomorrow’s innovators to participate actively in tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges, today. Mentors from UN organisations in Geneva provide exciting challenges and extensive field experience. This focus is inspired by Jean Piaget, father of the field of child developmental psychology. Piaget, who worked at University of Geneva for 50 years, encouraged several generations of educators to embrace a challenge-based mode of learning, which is at the heart of the crowdsourced creativity that this programme seeks to foster.

Previous Editions

The SDG Summer School is constantly evolving. You can consult the pages dedicated to prior editions here:

SDG Summer School 2018

SDG Summer School 2017

ODD Summer School 2016