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U21 RISE Awards

RISE (Real Impact on Society and Environment) 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.

What can you expect from the programme?

Each U21 member institution (e.g. the University of Amsterdam) is invited to nominate a student-led project based on an aspect of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Alongside access to a global network of supporters, teams will have the chance of winning one of three prizes valued at over €2,000 each. If you have a voluntary, social enterprise or environmental project that you would like to scale up, develop, and build, then RISE is for you.

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Three examples of successful projects on the RISE Showcase 2019-2020
Click the photo to find examples of successful projects on the RISE 2020-2021 showcase.

For you?

To be eligible, you and your project need to meet all of the following requirements:

  • Your project is a voluntary, social enterprise or environmental project that you would like to scale up, develop and build
  • You are a current student or recent graduate (2 years or less), who started the project whilst studying at the UvA
  • 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
  • Your project must directly address at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • 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 may also involve students from other U21 member universities, as cross institutional collaboration is encouraged with its own award. If you would like to connect with students at other U21 universities to collaborate on cross institution projects, register interest here.

You can find more information about which projects are eligible for submission, examples of last year’s winners, and helpful tips for your own project, on the RISE website.

When? How much time is required?

Expect to be busy with the programme during semester 2. The expected time investment will depend on your project and the number of people involved.

What are the costs?

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

Is this a credit-bearing programme?

No. This programme wins you exposure, training and prize money, but there are no ECTS involved.

How can you apply?

Applications are now closed.

Submissions for the RISE Awards open in spring 2023. Please return to this page for instructions on how to apply.

You can enter your project by video submission. Send your video submission to

Keep the following guidelines for your video in mind:

  • 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; however, it must have 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.
  • You may incorporate existing content, but your 3-5 minute video must be an original piece of work that is not available publicly anywhere else.
  • Your video 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 what kind of pledge what be most helpful

Find all guidelines and instructions for submitting the video on the RISE website.

Join the information sessions!

There are several ways you can prepare for this experience: get well-informed, ask your last questions, and talk to others.

  • Join the Study Abroad Fair on 8 October 2022 to explore your options!
  • Join our (online) information session on 6 December 2022 or 21 March 2023 16:00-17:30 CEST to find out if this programme matches your ambitions.
  • Register for workshops hosted by the Office of International Student Affairs to get helpful tips to overcome the challenges in applying, and how to prepare.


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