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The Geneva Challenge 2015

Deadline: Deadline: Always Open30-Apr-2015

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AwardCash prize of CHF 10,000
EligibilityAll Masters students
RegionNo Region
Scholarship provider contact details

Mariana Dantas:, Call +41 78 873 38 08;

What is The Geneva Challenge 2015?

The Advancing Development Goals international Contest for Graduate Students: Return Migration

Eager to stimulate reflection and innovation on development from diverse disciplinary and contextual perspectives and with the generous support of Ambassador Jenö Staehelin, the Graduate Institute is launching the second edition of the Advancing Development Goals Contest, an international competition for graduate students.

The Challenge

In 2015 the challenge is to discuss how return migration can contribute to social or economic development.

The idea is to gather contributions that are both theoretically grounded and offer pragmatic solutions to a relevant international development problem stemming from an interdisciplinary collaboration between 3 to 5 enrolled master students from anywhere in the world.

We invite teams of students to: 

  • identify a challenge stemming from return migration;
  • construct an interdisciplinary theoretical analysis on how it affects social or economic development in a specific (but transposable) context;
  • propose innovation at the policy, practice, process or technology levels turning the challenge into development opportunity.

Selection Process

Your submissions will be evaluated by an interdisciplinary academic steering committee who will select semi-finalists to be published on the competitions website and then reviewed by an independent jury of experts with academic, governmental and private sector backgrounds.

Three finalist teams will be invited (traveling and accommodation expenses covered) to an oral presentation in Geneva, where they will defend their ideas and answer questions from the jury and from the public. The finalists will also be present at an awards ceremony where the results of the contest will be announced preceded by a high-level key-note speech on international migration.


Launch of the 2015 Geneva Challenge


Registration of teams opens


Announcement of the Jury Panel


Deadline for registrations of participants


Deadline for submission of entries


Semi-finalists announced


Evaluation meeting Jury


Announcement of the finalists


Presentations of the finalists and awards ceremony




The ADG contest 2015 will distribute 17,500 CHF in monetary prizes. The winning project will be awarded 10,000 CHF, the second prize will receive 5,000 CHF and the third, 2,500 CHF.

Registrations deadline: 30/04/2015

Who can apply for this scholarship ?

Rules and regulations:

Beyond rigorous analysis of a relevant problem area, submissions should bring forward innovative proposals to effect change. We welcome contributions by groups of 3 to 5 master students involving at least two different disciplinary backgrounds or perspectives. Contributions must be both theoretically grounded and offer pragmatic solutions to an important relevant social political or economic problem stemming from return migration. Innovation can relate to policy, practice, process or technology.

We further elaborate on the rules for participation in the 2015 Advancing Development Goals contest.

1. Eligibility:

  1. Participants of the ADG contest 2015 must be enrolled graduate students at the time of their registration for the contest.
  • We consider “graduate students” to be anyone enrolled in a post-bachelor level university program with a maximum duration of 2 (two) years, or anyone who can prove to be studying towards acquiring a masters level degree.
  1. Participants must gather in teams of 3 (three) to 5 (five) graduate students, who are able to contribute from at least 2 (two) different disciplinary perspectives to the submitted analysis.
    1. No participation on an individual basis will be admitted.
    2. The participants can be enrolled in a same graduate program, collaborate with students from other programs from the university they are enrolled in or coordinate with students from different universities and institutions worldwide.
  2. All team members must provide a scanned copy of a document that serves as proof of enrollment as a graduate student before the registration of the team can be confirmed and validated.
    1. Any official document issued by the Academic Institute the student is affiliated to is accepted as proof of enrollment as long as it contains: a) the name of the student; b) the program he/she is enrolled in; c) an issuance date up to three months before the registration date or d) a validity beyond the registration date.
  3. Exceptionally, we might accept the registration of people who are transitioning into graduate studies, as long as they have already been accepted in a graduate student program at the time of the registration.

2. Registration of teams

  1. An online registration form will be made available from Dec 15th 2014 at
  2. Each group must chose a team leader who will be the main (but note sole) focus point for communication with the organization of the contest.
  3. The registration form must be correctly filled in with the information required of all the participants.
  4. Before the registration deadline, the proof of enrollment for all the team members must be sent

3. Submission requirements

  1. Submissions must be sent by email to: AND before midnight 12 am, Geneva time on 30th April 2015.
  2. Entries will have a maximum length of 8000 (eight thousand) words including all notes and references and must be written in English or French.
  3. The submissions will combine theoretical analyses, creativity, critical thinking on technical assistance, capacity building and on the agency of development.
  4. Entries must be original. All long-listed works will go through a background check before being forwarded to the Jury members as semi-finalists of the ADG contest 2015.

4. Evaluation procedures

  1. The entries will be evaluated in three phases and by two distinct panels.
  2. In the first phase, all the valid submissions will be evaluated by the Academic Steering Committee (ASC), an interdisciplinary committee of professors who will look into the compatibility of the submissions with the material criteria of the contest (see section 5).
    1. Teams who do not provided proof of studentship for all members and/or do not submit their entry before the deadline mentioned on 3.1 will be automatically disqualified and their entries will not be evaluated by the ASC.
  3. In the second phase (semi-finals), 8-12 submissions selected by the ASC as representing the best match with the contest’s design and criteria will be forwarded to an Independent High-Level Jury Panel composed of policy makers and academics, young talents and experienced professionals, who will select the competition’s finalists.
  4. In the third and last phase of evaluations, 3 (three) finalists will be invited by the organization of the contest to publicly present and answer questions about their entries in Geneva. In this occasion, the Jury Panel will classify the teams in 1st, 2nd and 3rd places and the prizes will be delivered in an awards ceremony preceded by a high-level keynote speech on Return Migration.
  5. Unfortunately, due to a high number of submissions and the multiple activities in which the evaluators of the ASC and the Jury Panel are engaged in, the ADG contest organizers cannot offer personalized feedback on the submissions.
  6. The decisions of the ASC and of the Jury Panel are not subject to appeal.

5. Evaluation criteria

  1. The ADG contest offers an opportunity for master students to use theoretical tools to frame a development issue and offer a creative, feasible and potentially efficient solution to address the identified vulnerability. Thus the ASC and the Jury Panel will be looking for the following characters in the proposals:
    1. The relevance of the research question proposed by the team and its scalability. The issue addressed and the solution envisioned can be inspired by a particular geographic, cultural or economic setting, but the idea must be adaptable to fit into a transformative agenda in other contexts;
    2. The entry must display analytical strength and academic competence in the choice of sources, the structure of the arguments and in the ability to discuss, question and build upon previous perspectives on the topic (critical approach);
    3. There must pragmatism and feasibility imbedded within the proposals. There should be development on why and how the idea presented is efficient to addressing the issue raised by the team;
    4. All submissions must be original and especially developed for participation in the 2015 ADG contest. Shortlisted submissions are checked for originality and any indication of plagiarism or recycling of submissions from other contests will result in the elimination of the entry from the ADG contest.
    5. Regarding the finalist presentations in Geneva, the Jury will be looking into inter alia): a) the clarity of the oral presentations; b) the perspective of a practical linkage with the beneficiaries of the action proposed; c) the quality of the response to questions from the Jury and from the public.

6. Prizes

  1. All shortlisted submissions selected by the ASC are published and promoted (if authorized by the teams) on the Geneva Challenge website, providing visibility to the teams and their work.
  2. All members of the 3 finalist teams will be invited to come to Geneva for an oral presentation where they will defend their proposals and answer questions from the jury and from the public.
    1. At least 2 members from each finalist team should confirm availability to come to Geneva for the oral presentation of their submission. Lack of acceptance of the invitation to come to Geneva after 5 days of the communication of the results will be considered as withdrawal from the competition.
  3. The finalists will also be present at an awards ceremony where the results of the contest will be announced preceded by a high-level key-note speech on international migration.
  4. Travel expenses such as flights, visa requests and accommodation are covered by the organization of the contest for this purpose.
  5. The presentations and submissions of the finalists will be promoted for information in relevant publications and international organization fora, creating professional networking opportunities.
  6. The winning project will receive a cash prize of CHF 10,000 (ten thousand Swiss Francs or approx. US$11’000). The second place will receive CHF 5,000 CHF and the third, CHF 2,500 CHF.

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