Information Workshop: Best Idea 2021 Competition

Best Idea 2021 is the opportunity for students to work together to solve some of our world’s grandest challenges for the grand prize of €20,000. This online workshop provided all the information you need to start building your team and answered questions.
start: 15th October 2020 - 13:30
end: 15th October 2020 - 15:00
Online Meeting
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This event was part of the CESAER Annual Meetings 2020 which took place fully online.


Are you, or do you know, a student or PhD candidate with a brilliant idea for how science and technology can help revolutionise our society’s efforts towards sustainability?

Then our Best Idea 2021 Competition is your opportunity to enter a team and benefit from unrivalled access and support from over 50 leading universities of science and technology across Europe, with the potential to win a cash prize of €20,000!

We are 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.

Diversity in teams, ideas and how you approach the competition is highly encouraged! To accommodate this, the competition is flexible and the evaluation and assessment will be carried out in two stages by an independent and diverse expert panel.

A Guide for Applicants containing all the information that you or your students need to apply can be found on this page. We encourage you to forward the details of the competition to students and PhD candidates at your institution.

An independent Evaluation Panel will evaluate the abstracts and the successful teams will be invited to pursue their ideas under the guidance of the Workgroup Best Idea 2021 until summer 2021. During spring and summer 2021, the selected 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. The Evaluation Panel will assess the designed ideas, identify the excellent and mature ones and 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. Our association will provide support and guidance in showcasing these ideas.

The call for abstracts was launched on 2 September 2020 and the deadline for submission is 31 January 2021.


  • Introduce the Best Idea 2021
  • Invite our Members to disseminate the competition to their students and enter teams
  • Answer questions about the competition


13:30 - 13:40 Welcome address by Rik Van de Walle (President of CESAER)

13:40 - 14:05 Information session including key information, how to apply, and evaluation process by Marc Zolver (Chair of Workgroup Best Idea 2021)

14:05 - 14-20 Presentation of the template abstract by David Bohmert (Secretary General of CESAER)

14:20 - 15:00 Question and answer session with online participants

Recording of the workshop

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