There is growing momentum on sustainability with protests and global discussions on plastics, travel and food. While those topics remain very complex, it is of vital importance that the right information is made available to the public in an engaging and easily understandable way.

But how to design a message in a way that people want to know more about sustainability? And what is the ideal medium to spread such a message?

The Communication Challenge offers students the opportunity to find it out for themselves!


Sign up - Unbox Your Idea '19
I want to sign up
Sign up - Unbox Your Idea '19
Keep me up-to-date
Keep me up-to-date - Unbox Your Idea '19

How does it work?

Student teams will create a communication message and strategy (e.g., blog posting, sharing a video) on "hot topics" in sustainability based on the material we provide. Teams will have the chance to decide and experiment which media channels (e.g., Twitter, YouTube, a website) are best suited to reach the most people and receive expert feedback on their communication concepts before entering an online competition. Teams will finally present their messages and strategies at the final event when the team with the most impactful communication will be awarded a cash prize kindly sponsored by EWZ.

Sustainability topics

As a student, you can decide to communicate one specific topic, such as food waste generated in Swiss homes, or focus on high-level sustainability topics, such as greenhouse gas emissions by sectors. Find below a few examples of sustainability topics.

Plastic waste

Mobility and pollution

Global warming

For whom is it?

  • BSc, MSc or Doctoral students from ETHZ, UZH, or ZHdK
  • No prior knowledge of sustainability or marketing is needed


What are your benefits?

  • Hands-on experience in communicating sustainability
  • Expert feedback on your communication concepts
  • Possibility to win a cash prize while engaging the greater public
  • Possibility to do good, well


Important dates

You can join the Communication Challenge next to your studies or research. It requires approximately 1-day effort per week. Here you find the main dates of the programme.

  • REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Apply for the Communication Challenge by latest May 24th, 2019. We will notify you by May 25th, 2019.
  • KICK-OFF EVENT: Learn more about the programme and get to know us - May 27th, 5.30 pm - 9.30 pm
  • *TEAMWORK: Team up and start to work at your communication message and strategy
  • EXPERT FEEDBACK SESSION: Receive feedback on your team's communication concept from sustainability and media experts – June 17th, 5.30 pm - 9.30 pm
  • *REFINE YOUR CONCEPT: Improve your communication concept within your team
  • ONLINE COMPETITION: Go viral with your communication concept - July 22nd - August 19th, 2019.
  • FINAL EVENT: & AWARD CEREMONY: Pitch your prototype and discover the winner of the Communication Challenge – September 2nd, 5.30pm - 9.30 pm


*These teamwork sessions are not mandatory. You will work autonomously within your team. However, we have booked the Project Space at the ETH Student Project House and will provide you with prototyping material on the following dates.

  • June 5th, 5.00pm - 7.00pm
  • June 12th, 5.00pm - 7.00pm


Organizing Team

The Communication Challenge programme is powered by sus.lab and the Social Innovation Lab @ ETH Student Project House.

About the Social Innovation Lab: The Social Innovation Lab at SPH offers students an opportunity to learn and experience how new products, processes or partnerships can tackle unsolved problems in society. Through talks, hackathons and design challenges, you will get inspired from solutions to climate change, deep poverty, inequalities, alienation, and many more. Click here to discover more about the Social Innovation Lab at Student Project House.

About sus.lab: sus.lab is an initiative of SusTec - the Group for Sustainability and Technology at ETH Zurich. As a group of interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners, we work towards an economy in which sustainable practices have become mainstream in all economic activities. The Sustainability in Business Lab brings sustainability research into practice through highly collaborative project work with firms and other organisations. Click here to learn more about the sus.lab activities.

Julia Reinschmidt - Project manager at sus.lab


Lead Social Innovation Lab

Dr Barbara La Cara - Lead Social Innovation Lab



Apply here by latest May 24th, 2019

This form is currently closed for submissions.



Questions? Just contact us

Sign up - Unbox Your Idea '19
I want to sign up
Sign up - Unbox Your Idea '19
Keep me up-to-date
Keep me up-to-date - Unbox Your Idea '19

The application is closed.

We invite you to see the final pitches on May 21th 6pm @ SPH

Questions? Just contact us: