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U21 RISE Showcase and Awards

RISE (Real Impact on Society and Environment) is U21’s newest student opportunity. It is an international showcase of student achievement in sustainability and social innovation designed to accelerate the scale and impact of student-led projects by connecting them 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). McMaster willl nominate one McMaster student-led submission to represent McMaster University in the global final U21 RISE competition. In addition, McMaster will also consider submitting to the global final any qualifying McMaster student-led project that is also partnered with students from one or more of the U21 member institutions. 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, and Most Potential. UN SDGS 2030

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. This will help reach a global audience and accessibility of your pitch.
  • 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) or
    • Joint team projects between McMaster students and students from U21 member institutions.
  • 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.

U21 Rise projects


Your Video should demonstrate:

You can explain this in a number of ways, for example:

  • Present directly to the camera
  • Interview people involved with the project
  • Film one of your events or activities
  • Create an animation or infographic explaining your work

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?


***If you are interesting in partnering your project with a U21 member institution please contact Tania Hakim at:***

Please visit this link to upload your video file and then include the file name of your video in the field below. File format must be .MP4 or .MOV

Please upload your video file here and then include the file name of your video in the field below. File format must be .MP4 or .MOV

File Name Example: jane_smith.MP4

**please note that entries are only valid with a video submission received by 11:59pm, November 3, 2019**

For more information, contact Tania Hakim, at or call 905-525-9140 Ext. 27360.