Wanted: the best idea to make our society more sustainable

Cesaer Best Idea

Cesaer Best Idea

Are you a student or PhD candidate with a brilliant idea for how science and technology can help making our society more sustainable?

Then CESAERs Best Idea 2021 Competition is your chance to build a team and make your idea become reality - all with the potential to win a cash prize of 20,000.

CESAER is a network and lobby organization of over 50 leading universities of science and technology across Europe. Inspired by the power of interdisciplinary collaboration and the creativity of young people, and to celebrate her thirthieth birthday, CESAER now launches her Best Idea 2021 Competition.

This competition wants to address the contribution of science and technology to ecological, social and economic sustainability by linking Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and emerging technologies. Sustainability is considered in its broadest sense: ideas can be related to any one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Rector Rik Van de Walle: "Ghent University strongly believes in interdisciplinary and international collaboration, both in research and education. That’s why I accepted the presidency of CESAER, and that’s why I want to encourage our students to participate in the Best Idea competition. I’m convinced this competition will be an enriching adventure for all those who get involved."

Who can participate?

All students (bachelor and master) and PhD students of the CESAER Members (among which Ghent University) are welcome to enter the competition, preferably with inter-institutional, interand transdisciplinary and vertically integrated teams. Teams should be student-led, but can be coached/supported by more senior researchers.

CESAER is especially looking for concepts that have emerged (bottom-up) from student-led teams already collaborating around well identified scientific and societal needs and goals. Such a concept can originate from completely novel approaches to answer scientific questions or to respond to the need of specific stakeholders in society.

Timeline of the competition

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 31 January 2021. The abstracts and the designed ideas will be evaluated by an independent evaluation panel along three dimensions: scientific excellence, impact and outreach, and management and implementation.

The successful teams will be invited to design and pursue their ideas under the guidance of the Workgroup Best Idea 2021 until summer 2021. During spring and summer 2021, teams will be invited to contribute to a joint conference on this topic hosted by the Royal Academy of Engineering in London and to contribute to white papers on ’linking SSH and STEM’ and on ’contribution to sustainability’.

By summer 2021, the selected teams must decide whether they wish to undergo a second assessment. An independent Evaluation Panel will assess the ideas, identify the excellent and mature ones. These teams will be invited to present their ideas to the CESAER Annual Meetings (CAM) in October 2021 in Lund (Sweden). A winner will be announced and obtain the prize Best Idea 2021 worth 20,000. CESAER will provide support and guidance in showcasing these ideas.


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