The 2023 Advancing Development Goals International Contest for Graduate Students aims to present innovative and pragmatic solutions to address the challenges of loneliness

Eager to stimulate reflection and innovation on development from diverse disciplinary and contextual perspectives and with the generous support of Ambassador Jenö Staehelin, the Graduate Institute has launched in 2014 the Advancing Development Goals Contest, an international competition for Master students.

The idea is to gather contributions that are both theoretically grounded and offer pragmatic solutions to a relevant international development problem stemming from an interdisciplinary collaboration between three to five enrolled master students from anywhere in the world.

Learn more about the contest here

The Challenges of Loneliness


A substantial proportion of people worldwide, from young adults to seniors, experience problematic levels of loneliness, including social, emotional and physical loneliness. Loneliness impacts people`s physical and mental wellbeing, as well as their ability to fully participate in political, social and economic life. The experience of loneliness is prevalent in all parts of societies, among people from all socio-economic backgrounds, ages, and genders. Socially excluded and marginalised groups experience higher levels of loneliness, further exacerbating existing societal inequalities. For example, shocks, forced displacement, war, migration, and poverty all have profound links with loneliness and the negative effects of loneliness. As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, shocks and crises can increase the number of people experiencing some form of loneliness, especially among vulnerable groups, but the issue is prevalent in all parts of the world and societies.

Furthermore, loneliness is linked to many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), and SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions). Therefore, addressing loneliness is crucial in order to achieve the SDGs.

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Learn more about this years topic

Call of Proposals

Learn more about the contest

Rules and Regulations 2023

Registration deadline

April 23 2023

Submission deadline

July 14 2023

How to Apply


What is the difference between the two deadlines?

The registration deadline is simply the date by which we need you to fill in an application form and send us your proof of enrolment, confirming your status as a master student.

  • The confirmation documents (enrolment certificates or student cards) should contain your name, your graduate programme and a recent issuance date.

  • In case you do not have these documents at the time of your registration, please send them to this email address (

Following the registration, you have four months to prepare you proposal, which is due by the submission deadline. Your project must be submitted on a form before midnight 12 am (Central Europe Time), on July 14 2023.


Submissions are evaluated by an interdisciplinary academic steering committee that will select three submissions per category to be published on the competition's website and then reviewed by an independent jury of experts with academic, governmental and private sector backgrounds.

Five finalist teams, one team per continent, will be invited (travel and accommodation expenses covered) to an oral presentation in Geneva, where they will defend their ideas and answer questions from the jury. The finalists will also be invited to an awards ceremony where the contest results will be announced, preceded by a high-level keynote speech.


The ADG contest distributes 25,000 CHF in monetary prizes. The winning project will be awarded CHF 10,000; the two teams in second place will receive CHF 5,000 each and the two teams in third place, CHF 2,500 each.

Apply now!