Practical solutions for a sustainable world

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Participants in a hackathon, a public event about innovation involving digital technology and sustainable development, in the new Geneva SDG Solution Space.. © UNIGE


The University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, inaugurates the Geneva SDG Solution Space, a true workshop where students, researchers, humanitarian workers and UN experts will gather to provide practical answers to the challenges of sustainable development. The focus will be on the 17 SDGs — Sustainable Development Goals — set by the United Nations in 2015. This new 300 m2 facility opened its doors on Friday 12th of May, on the occasion of the third Open Geneva Hackathon which brings innovation to the heart of the city. It is housed in the Biotech Innovation Park Campus in Sécheron, in the centre of International Geneva. Users will enjoy state-of-the-art digital technology (such as 3D printers and laser cutters) to help them develop prototypes, validate projects and, more broadly, test the suitability of their ideas.


“Innovation may take many different forms in the context of sustainable development,” explains Yves Flückiger, UNIGE’s rector. “It’s not just commercial start-ups we’re trying to kick-start with the Geneva SDG Solution Space but also social innovations. And the outcomes will benefit Geneva and its inhabitants as well as International Geneva and its humanitarian networks, which connect us to the poorest people on the planet.” UNIGE will put the Solution Space at the service of International Geneva, thereby welcoming innovative partners. Global Humanitarian Lab, for example, is an original initiative set up by the Red Cross and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) with the aim of devising pioneering solutions for populations affected by humanitarian disasters.

The Geneva SDG Solution Space will host students from the new Master’s degree in Innovation, Human Development and Sustainability, which was launched by UNIGE as part of the Geneva Tsinghua Initiative. This global programme is being carried out in collaboration with International Geneva and Tsinghua University in Beijing. In addition, the two-month international SDG Summer School will begin in July in the new space: a range of fellow international organisations — such as UNICEF, WHO, UNITAR, UNOG and CERN — will help develop projects carried out by teams of multi-disciplinary students.

This unique environment will be further enriched by the proximity of the researchers on the Biotech Campus (where UNIGE is a founding partner), making it possible to explore the close links between human health and the future of our planet.

The launch of the SDG Solution Space coincided with the Open Geneva Hackathons, which are designed to stimulate the public’s engagement in digital innovation across the city, often in the area of public health and sustainable development. This event culminated on Sunday, 14th of May, at Campus Biotech where all the projects developed over the week-end were presented to the public.


Contact: François Grey, +41 22 379 08 47


15 May 2017