Inspiring the next generation of STEM innovators

About the Social Shifters Global Innovation Challenge

The Social Shifters Global Innovation Challenge is an international ideas competition to unite and support young people in developing world-changing business solutions to social and environmental problems. SThree has stepped up as a partner for the challenge and launched the STEM prize.

The competition brings together innovators, aged 18-30, and their ideas, that relate to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The non-profit group, Social Shifters aims to build a global community of social leaders while contributing to the UN Sustainable Development goals.

We're delighted to have the opportunity to use our expertise to support the next generation of STEM innovators and help young people build their own STEM enterprises.

“From climate change to life-saving vaccines, we work every day to bring skilled people together to help develop solutions for some of the most complex problems facing the world. This challenge is helping to kick-start new STEM based social ventures, developing the STEM talent pipeline and showing people a STEM career is one with purpose."

Gemma Branney, Head of ESG, SThree

Meet the finalists

The STEM prize finalists showcased their ideas at the Social Enterprise World Youth Forum on Monday, 27 September. The WayPoints team have been announced as the winners and Metacarpal as runners-up - they'll receive $10,000 and $5,000 worth of funding from SThree to kick-start their social venture. 

Living Energy

What if you could turn single use face masks into clean energy?

This is the business concept of Living Energy, a team competing in the Global Innovation Challenge.

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Who knew cows loved the salty taste of seaweed?

Based in the UK, a team of students have developed a cow feed which uses seaweed to reduce the amount of methane entering the atmosphere, and facilitating an environmentally friendly dairy industry.

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Today globally we produce over 78 million tonnes of plastic packaging, out of which only 14% is recycled. EcoDabba have developed a sustainable food packaging product which could alleviate single use plastic in the fast food sector. 

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WayPoints is a cloud based software suite that digitizes water utility operations aimed at reducing water shortages in Africa and the developing world.

Using tech to track and troubleshoot leakages in water utilities will help drive efficiencies that will lead to clean water and the multiple health and economic benefits this brings.

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Global cement use is estimated to produce 4bn tonnes of CO2 every year making it one of the world’s biggest carbon emitters. A team of young entrepreneurs from India have developed a low-carbon alternative that could transform the global construction market.

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Over a million people world-wide need upper-limb prostheses yet only 8.8% of amputese report being able to continue the same work.

Two Glasgow students have developed the first ever 3D printed mechanical prosthetic which greatly improves mobility, quality of life and is affordable.

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The mainstream solution to tackle bacterial disease is antibiotics which can become less effective. What if there was an alternative option?

Uniphage are using deep learning to predict phages against target bacterial pathogens, making it possible to produce new antibacterial solutions in mere weeks. This solution allows a quick response to new bacterial diseases impacting health and agriculture.

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Denovo Health Rides

52% of remote populations have to travel a certain distance to access needed healthcare. And about 75% of the health centers in remote areas lack quality medical laboratory facilities. Denovo Health Rides is using technology and logistics solutions to create a laboratory referral network which will provide better access to healthcare across Africa.

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