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U21 RISE Showcase and Awards

U21 RISE Showcase and Awards

RISE (Real Impact on Society and Environment) is an international competition that will showcase student led projects and achievements in sustainability and social innovation and accelerate the scale and impact of student-led projects by connecting participating students with a network of experts in academia and industry. McMaster University as a U21 member institution is inviting students to participate and submit video entries of a student-led project based on one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

2019-2020’s winner of the U21 RISE global competition in the most innovative category was McMaster University student Lianna Genovese for her invention Guided Hands – a medical technology that enables people with reduced fine motor skills to complete everyday tasks, which would otherwise be impossible, such as writing, painting, and using a tablet. The product offers increased independence, quality of life and improved access to education. The judges were highly impressed with Lianna’s ingenious approach to the challenge. The invention has also captured the imagination of the public, with Lianna receiving numerous pledges of support, from web design in Canada to medical experts in the UK. Her project supported the United National Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being and Goal 4: Quality Education

All McMaster nominated entries (McMaster student-led only & McMaster student-led partnered with a U21 member institution) submitted to the global final will get access to U21’s global network, the opportunity to generate pledges of support from partners, and have a chance at winning one of three prizes for their project valued at $2000.00 dollars each for the categories of Most Innovative, Most Impact, Most Potential and Most Collaboration.

Guideline for submitting the video:

Your video pitch is your chance to make a great first impression and attract potential supporters and pledges. Plan your pitch carefully so it stands out and really represents you and your project

  • Your video can be recorded in any language but must have English subtitles.
  • Entry teams can be composed of a single member or teams up to 7 members that are McMaster students(undergraduate or graduate) or recent McMaster graduates (2 years or less)
  • Joint team projects between McMaster students and students from U21 member institutions.
  • For list of U21 partner institutions see: more information contact Tania Hakim
  • Maximum length of video is 5 minutes. We recommend between 3-5 minutes.
  • Must be an original piece of work and not available anywhere else in the public domain.
  • You must have started your project in some way (it cannot be just an idea). Your project can be in the early developmental stages.
  • If you have existing funding for your project, that is fine but it must be declared at the time of entry.

Judging Criteria:

  • The issue: Why is this initiative needed? Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals are being addressed?
  • The idea: How well does this initiative respond to the outlined issue? How original is the idea?
  • The Impact: What measurable difference has this project already had on the lives of the target population or on the natural environment
  • The potential: How scalable is this initiative? What is the future business plan and how would this project team make use of the future investment?


***FINAL VIDEO ENTRIES ARE DUE  11:59pm, May 7, 2023**

McMaster U21 RISE - Project Submission Form (2023)
***If you are interesting in partnering your project with a U21 member institution please contact Tania Hakim at:***
Please note that your project can address one or more of the 17 UN SDGs. For more information about the SDGs:

Please upload your video file here and include the file name of your video in the field above. File format must be .MP4

File Name Example: jane_smith.MP4


For more information, contact Tania Hakim, at