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U21 RISE Showcase & Awards

Last modified on 08-05-2024 20:16
Do you have a volunteering, social innovation or sustainability project you want to scale up, develop and grow? Submit it for the U21 RISE Showcase & Awards.Subscribe to our newsletter about short international programmes
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U21 RISE Awards logo 4:3

Applications for RISE are now open until 21 May 9:00 AM CEST. Please read the information below on whether RISE is for you and for how to apply.

In brief

RISE stands for: Real Impact on Society and Environment. RISE is a showcase & awards organised by the U21 Network (‘Universitas 21’), an international university collaboration of which the UvA is a member. The U21 RISE Awards invite students to enter their project that relates to one of the United Nations Sustainable Development GoalsExternal link into the awards through a video pitch. What would such a project look like? View last year’s winning video pitches hereExternal link.

Get informed

  • Are you an aspiring social entrepreneur, but do you require some guidance to develop your ideas first before considering RISE? Then the U21 Aspire HubExternal link is your first step! U21 Aspire is free online development micro-programme for aspiring social entrepreneurs and change makers. The online hub provides on demand access to video content from successful social entrepreneurs and leaders and fellow students who have set up their own social projects.
  • Subscribe to our newsletterExternal link to stay updated on important deadlines and dates for our international (summer) programmes.
  • Register for workshopsExternal link hosted by the Office of International Student Affairs to get helpful tips to overcome the challenges in applying, and how to prepare.

Why the U21 RISE Awards?

  • Exposure: the U21 RISE Awards give you access to a global network of supporters. They can connect you with a network of experts, aiming to accelerate the scale and impact of the project you have conceived, created and led.
  • Prize: if exposure alone doesn’t cut it for you: you and your team have a chance to win one of three prizes worth more than $2,000.

Although this programme wins you exposure, training and prize money, you will not receive ECTS.

Practical Matters


  • You are a current student or recent graduate (2 years or less), who started the project whilst studying at the UvA
  • Your project must directly address at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development GoalsExternal link
  • Your project may be individual or group led (in case of a very big group, a leadership group of 7 students should be identified as the main entrants)
  • Your project is a voluntary, social enterprise or environmental project that you would like to scale up, develop and build
  • You have started to implement your project in some way (it cannot be just an idea), but it can still be at the very early stages of development


There are no costs involved to enter your project into the RISE Awards.

How to apply

Submissions for the RISE Awards are now open until 21 May 9:00 AM CEST. A detailed description on how to apply can be found in the RISE handbookExternal link. Below, you can find an indication of what a RISE application should contain. Please read the handbook for a full comprehension for the RISE application and selection process before preparing your submission.

You can apply by entering a video pitch. Your video pitch is your chance to make a great first impression and attract potential supporters and pledges. All entered submissions will be showcased first, after which a panel of experts will review the video entries and award prizes across four categories: 1) most impactful, 2) most potential, 3) most innovative and 4) most collaborative.

Content: in your video, you should demonstrate:

  • What your project is and why it is important.
  • Which of the Sustainable Development Goals you are addressing.
  • What you have achieved so far.
  • What your future plans are and how you aim to achieve them.

Method: you can relay this information in a number of ways, for example:

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

Guidelines for submission:

  • You will enter your project to RISE by uploading your video as a .MP4 or .mov to WeTransferExternal link and sending it to global@uva.nlExternal link before 21 May 9:00 AM CEST.
  • Your video can be recorded in any language; however, it must contain English subtitles (even if it is recorded in English). This will help to reach a global audience and will also improve the accessibility of your pitch.
  • Your video must be no longer than 5 minutes long. We recommend 3-5 minutes: enough time to clearly pitch your work, whilst remaining concise and engaging. Videos exceeding 5 minutes will not be taken into consideration.
  • Whilst you may incorporate existing content, your 3-5 minute video must be an original piece of work that is not available publicly anywhere else.

Selection criteria once your video submission is first accepted in the showcase, and then entered into the RISE awards:

  • 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 scaleable is this initiative? What is the future business plan and how would the project team make use of future investment?


The Office of International Student Affairs facilitates this programme. If you have any questions, you can email us at global@uva.nlExternal link.