From COP28 to Oxford: young innovators win Climate Change Challenge

2 May 2024
3 min read

As part of our commitment to climate education, we have been proud to support the inaugural Climate Change Challenge in partnership with the Saïd Business School of the University of Oxford and Burjeel Holdings.

Fresh from their win at COP28, the three winning teams of the Climate Change Challenge will be heading to Oxford to attend a special summer school programme focused on exploring the challenges and design solutions to the climate crisis.

This worldwide competition gave teams of school students aged 15-18 the opportunity to present their proposals for addressing the climate crisis. Educators from around the world also presented their lesson plans aimed at inspiring students to think creatively about tackling one of our society’s most pressing concerns.

We had an overwhelming response to the competition, with over 600 entries representing 43 countries across the student and teacher categories—many of them from schools that use Oxford University Press learning resources.

The finalists of the Climate Change Challenge—five teams from each category—attended a ceremony during COP28 in Dubai to present their solutions to an international audience.

The judges were impressed by the talent and dedication of the finalists but finally selected three: a winner, and two runners up. These successful teams presented creative and varied solutions, including sustainable systems for drip irrigation and mosquito repression, as well as affordable fertilizers. As a result, they earned a spot on a bespoke programme at Saïd Business School’s Future Climate Innovators Summer School in August 2024, alongside access to a vibrant global community of entrepreneurs and thought leaders in innovation and social impact.

The curriculum will cover a wide range of topics delivered through lectures, workshops, and hands-on projects, offering a holistic view of the current climate challenges and solutions.

As the winning teams prepare to travel from India, Indonesia, the UAE, South Korea, and the United States to attend the Summer School, we caught up with the students to find out what participating in the Challenge meant to them.

Future Climate Innovators Summer School logo
Members of the winning teams: Acquifier Guardians (left); ECO2 (centre); Entofarm (right).

The winning team, Acquifier Guardians from India, caught the judges’ attention with their solution to mitigate the effects of water scarcity by actively involving others in a collective initiative to reduce our water footprint. The team commented: “We’re absolutely thrilled at the opportunity and eager to learn from world-renowned experts. We understand how important climate change is in today’s world and to be a part of this life saving campaign is a great opportunity, we take real pride in this accomplishment. Our focus will be on finding innovative solutions to address climate change in India and beyond. We’re also excited to make lasting friendships and create unforgettable memories during our time at Oxford.”

Runners up, Entofarm, set out how we could revolutionize farming to tackle diseases carried by insects. A member of their team added: “I aspire to move beyond mere knowledge, theories, and proposals, learning how to integrate advanced bioengineering technology to the benefit of climate stewardship. I also look forward to connecting with bright individuals from all over the world with a shared passion for innovating climate change.”

The ECO2 team, based in the UAE and also chosen as runner-up, proposed a new product BioGrow to transform lives and clean air by converting CO2 and ammonia directly into fertilizers. They shared their excitement: “Studying climate change at Oxford is beyond exciting! We are thrilled about this amazing opportunity—it’s like a dream come true. The chance to learn and contribute to tackling climate issues fills us with genuine happiness and pride. We are counting the days!”

Juliane Reinecke, Professor of Management Studies at Oxford Saïd and the academic lead for the summer school, has told us how much she is looking forward to the Summer School—and creating a new worldwide network of future climate innovators.

We’re excited to catch up with them after the summer school!

Related articles