The United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is inviting young innovators in digital and other fields to enter a global competition in which 60 winners will be invited to Geneva in October to pitch their novel ideas at a leading forum.

Three entrants from each of two categories judged to have the best all-round concepts by an online vote of delegates attending the 24-27 October ITU Telecom World 2011, an event attended by governments, industry leaders and regulators, will share prize money totalling over 50,000 Swiss francs (about $65,570) to help them realize their dreams.

Industry mentors will also continue to work with the six winners after the event to help them turn their vision into reality.

Contest Categories

Would-be innovators can submit their idea online in one of two competition categories:

  • Young Innovators – Entrants should be aged between 18 and 25, and their idea must have been developed independently of any project with their current employer. ITU is actively encouraging submissions from women and those still looking to enter the workforce.
  • Digital Innovators – Those in partnership with a non-governmental organization (NGO) or other not-for-profit body. Entrants are encouraged to submit their ideas for new ways in which information and communications technologies (ICTs) could help further their causes in areas such as environmental sustainability, improved access to health and education, digital accessibility or the alleviation of poverty.

Selection Criteria

Entries will be judged on innovation, feasibility and an applicant’s ability to implement. ITU Telecom World’s online community will initially vote on their favourite submissions, with the 60 most popular ideas from each category then submitted to a high-level selection panel of independent experts from the public and private sector, which will choose the finalists.

“The Young Innovators and Digital Innovators competition draw on our long-standing expertise in facilitating youth events and harnessing the power of fresh, digital thinking,” said Hamadoun Touré, the ITU Secretary-General.

“Applications, services and products driven by next-generation networks can truly transform the everyday life of millions. These competitions offer a unique and exciting opportunity for young talent and digital innovators to receive the support, recognition and seed funding needed to turn promising digital ideas into valuable, working contributions to a better world,” he added.

Deadline: September 15, 2011

For more information, and to apply, visit their website by clicking here.

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