Launched in 2015, just after the UN announced the SDGs, the Open17 Challenge is an online interactive coaching program to help young global innovators connect and shape good ideas into viable social innovation projects for the SDGs. It was the first global program for SDGs on Zoom.
Open17 Challenge supports projects that tackle SDG-related issues by enabling grassroots public participation and citizen science through the use of open data and crowdsourcing. The challenge is open to youth from any field and region, individually or in teams. Typically, the challenge has a specific SDG theme, such as Climate Action. Application currently happens through the youth social network Goodwall.
Participants in the Open17 Challenge are coached by academic experts and mentors from the UN. Online coaching takes place over five 2-hour, interactive sessions. Upon successful completion, some students are invited to present and develop their projects at international events and programs, such as the Challenge-based Innovation Workshop organized by CERN IdeaSquare as part of the EU Crowd4SDG Project, the WSIS Forum and AI for Good.
The Open17 Challenge is also used to select students for the SDG Summer School and attract candidates for the SDG Master Program, part of the comprehensive education programme for the SDGs established by the Geneva Tsinghua Initiative.
The founding partners of the Open17 Challenge are Citizen Cyberlab and GovLab. The Citizen Science Center Zurich and Tsinghua X-lab have partnered since 2018. Since 2020, the Open17 Challenge is co-funded by the Crowd4SDG project and the Geneva Tsinghua Initiative.