Next Einstein Forum Challenge of Invention to Innovation (Ci2i) 2018 for Young African scientists and innovators

Application Deadline: 12 February 2018.

On 26-28 March 2018, the Next Einstein Forum will host its second Global Gathering in Kigali, Rwanda. A critical component of the NEF is its unique innovation competition, the Challenge of Invention to Innovation (Ci2i). Young African scientists and innovators under 42 years of age are invited to present their research driven innovations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to a panel of experts in a pitch style competition.

The NEF Ci2i focuses on innovations of high impact globally and locally that a ready to be scaled up. Judges and participants come from major pan-African and global business, pharmaceutical and technological companies providing an unparalleled opportunity for researchers and entrepreneurs, both in terms of feedback and mentorship and in terms of funding to scale and expand R&D efforts.

Applications to the competition will launched on 10 January 2018 and the NEF team will pre-select the top 15 who will pitch their innovations at the NEF GG 2018. Each presenter will have 4 minutes to present to an audience of academics, business leaders, investors, government leaders on a three to five-member jury panel. Within the 4 minutes, presenters should clearly describe their innovation or project, its impact and scalability. The language for the competition is English.

Goal of the competition

The goal of the Ci2i competition is to reward research based innovation and highlight the global impact of African researchers and entrepreneurs. In 2016, the NEF Ci2i finalists received significant media attention and were invited to other global platforms and competitions.

At the NEF we believe that inventions, especially science-driven ones, are critical to Africa’s transformation. It is not enough to have ideas or inventions; to impact humanity these inventions must reach the people and become innovations. The Ci2i is one platform which will bridge this gap.

Categories of submission

Candidates will be invited to submit presentations under three main categories:

  • Climate Smart Innovations (Energy, Agriculture, Circular Economy etc.)
  • Deep-tech Innovations (Data driven innovation, Autonomous Systems, AI, Machine Learning, Digital Innovation, Fintech etc.)
  • Personalized Health Innovations

The list above is not exhaustive, we invite all great innovators to apply. The NEF team will select the top 5 innovations to present at the NEF Global Gathering 2018.

Who can participate?

Participation in the competition is open to Africans of all nationalities under 42 years of age. In the case that teams are led by a non-African, one of the co-founders or chief executives must be African.

Who will attend and who will judge the pitching sessions?

  • Leading scientists
  • Leading business people
  • Funding organizations
  • Government officials – African and Foreign
  • Members of the global press


  • The monetary prizes for Ci2i winners and runner ups will be announcing during the unveiling of the selected Top 15 innovators to pitch at the NEF Ci2i.
  • In addition to a monetary prize, winners will get significant media exposure and benefit from the NEF’s global network to further scale up funding and connect with partners and collaborators.


If you have a brilliant idea/invention that you believe will have a high impact in Africa and globally or are already running a start-up and need funds to scale up, we invite you to apply.

You can download the application form here.

The deadline for submission of applications is 12 February 2018.

The Top 15 will be announced 1 March 2018.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Next Einstein Forum Invention to Innovation (Ci2i) 2018


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