Sydney Innovation Challenge - The University of Sydney

Sydney Innovation Challenge

Become UAE's sustainability challenge champions
The Sydney Innovation Challenge invites students to showcase their innovative ideas and critical thinking skills to help address and solve sustainability issues facing the world.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 interlinked goals designed by the United Nations General Assembly to create a more sustainable future by 2030. At the University of Sydney, sustainability is at the heart of our campus operations, environments, and engagement activities. We’re ranked first in Australia for sustainability by QS.

Similarly, the UAE Ministry of Climate Change & Environment (MOCCEA) focuses on achieving Sustainable Development Goals, with a strong emphasis on:

  • Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production
  • Goal 13: Climate action

Engaging youth in sustainability and cultivating awareness is crucial in combating climate change. Students can generate creative ideas to mitigate the impacts of climate change and promote responsible consumption.

The Sydney Innovation Challenge invites UAE students to showcase their creative ideas and critical thinking skills to champion the cause of combating climate change into day-to-day life, or the cause of sustainable consumption and production. This initiative empowers students to contribute innovative ideas toward a more sustainable world.

Prizes for the 3 finalist teams

Top 3 winning teams will receive attractive prizes:

  • First prize: Apple iPad pro (or similar) for each team member and teacher mentor
  • Second prize: Lenovo Yoga Tab (or similar) for each team member and teacher mentor
  • Third prize: Samsung smartwatch (or similar) for each team member and teacher mentor

By submitting a 4–5 minute video, our future leaders could win fantastic prizes and an opportunity to showcase their innovative sustainability project to our global student and alumni community.

Winning teams' work will be recognised at an online awards ceremony and proudly featured on the University's website and social media channels.


You need to be:

  • between 16-19 years
  • currently studying in Grade 11 or 12
  • residing in UAE.

How to apply

  1. Students and a teacher mentor can register for and attend the competition Information session on Zoom.
  2. Students form teams and prepare a 4-5 minute video that showcases their creative, innovative and executable solution.
  3. Upload the video to YouTube.
  4. Complete the application form.

Note: Students may form a team consisting of a minimum of one or a maximum of three students and a teacher/mentor from your school.


Registration opens
Wednesday 30 August 2023

Competition briefing session 
Friday 8 September 2023, 3pm (UAE time)

Last day for submission
Sunday 8 October 2023, 4.59pm (UAE time) or 11.59pm (AEST)

Virtual Award Ceremony and winner announcement
Week of 30 October - 3 November 2023

Participation is open to students studying Grade 11/12 at any English medium school in UAE (any curriculum).

Participants are to submit their entries by completing the application form.

Students need to submit their project information in the format described below:

  • All project information and submissions must be in English.
  • Format: Video uploaded on YouTube and link to be submitted by the stipulated deadline.
  • The video should have the following mandatory information:
  1. Name of Project with the two chosen areas
  2. School Name, city, and Branch if any
  3. Name of each team member along with Grade
  4. Email ID and contact number of each team member
  5. Name, email ID and contact number of the teacher mentor.

To create a video about their project, students could:

  1. Make the video engaging and present the message with creativity and originality.
  2. Follow the tips on the YouTube Help website to upload their video.
  3. Make sure they own the copyrights of all pictures, videos, animations, sounds, content, and any material used in the creation of their project. Any software used must be licensed and credits must be given for any material used.
  4. Attend the competition Information session for more details.

No, participation in the competition is free of charge.

The last day for submission is Sunday 8 October 2023, 4.59pm (UAE time) or 11.59pm (AEST).


  • No, each participating team can enter only one project entry. 
  • Each school can have multiple teams participating in the competition. 
  • Each student can only be a part of just one team.

Yes, students may receive help from a teacher. In such case, the teacher’s details must be added to the application form.

Yes, but it should follow the specified guidelines of submission for the competition.

  • Incomplete submissions
  • Late submissions
  • Lack of ownership of creative rights or infringement of copyrights of others
  • Non-confirmation to the rules of the competition guidelines.

Each submission will be evaluated against the degree to which the submission meets the entry criteria and to which the ideas and actions were deemed to be innovative, transformative, and impactful. The weightage distribution is as follows:

  • Relevance
    Addressing the chosen areas of Impact on the chosen theme, relevance and potential = 25% weightage
  • Content
    Quality and comprehensiveness = 25% weightage
  • Innovation
    Originality and newness of the idea = 25% weightage
  • Impact
    Impact on community and society = 25% weightage

An expert judging panel comprising of faculty members from the University of Sydney will score and comment on the submissions.

The submissions will be reviewed by the judging panel from 6-22 October 2023.

  • The results will be released through an online Results and Award Ceremony during the week of 30 October - 3 November 2023.
  • All teams will be notified via email by the University of Sydney and contacted directly to plan their participation in the Online Award Ceremony.
  • All participating students will receive Certificates of Participation from the University of Sydney.