Click here to learn about Academy events, publications and initiatives around COVID-19.

We are experiencing intermittent technical difficulties. At this time, you may not be able to log in, register for an event, or make a donation via the website. We appreciate your patience, and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Our site is under planned maintenance. At this time, you will not be able to log in, register for an event, or make a donation via the website. We appreciate your patience, and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Support The World's Smartest Network

Help the New York Academy of Sciences bring late-breaking scientific information about the COVID-19 pandemic to global audiences. Please make a tax-deductible gift today.

This site uses cookies.
Learn more.


This website uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the website to operate while others offer you a better browsing experience. You give us your permission to use cookies, by continuing to use our website after you have received the cookie notification. To find out more about cookies on this website and how to change your cookie settings, see our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

We encourage you to learn more about cookies on our site in our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

Innovation Challenge:

Clifford Chance STEM Challenge in Kigali

This Challenge is


Clifford Chance STEM Challenge in Kigali

Key Dates

Challenge Begins:

May 2021

Challenge Ends:

July 2021

Winners Announced:

September 2021

Clifford Chance has partnered with the New York Academy of Sciences to launch innovation challenges in Kigali, Rwanda. The goal of this three-year program is to strengthen Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education opportunities and enhance STEM workforce development in Kigali.

Rising to the Challenge

Students ages 13-17 in Kigali, Rwanda are invited to complete an online bootcamp and then compete in a 60-day innovation challenge. The challenges will be focused on local issues and designed to provide students with meaningful, real-world experience aligned to current and emerging STEM workforce needs in Rwanda.

During the challenge, students can form teams with peers and have access to research guidance from mentors via the Academy’s own virtual collaboration platform, Launchpad. The students then work together to develop an innovative, research-driven solution to address each challenge.

The challenge grand prize is $1,500 USD, which will be awarded to one winning team and split equally between team members. The second and third-place teams will each receive $750 USD. Members of the winning and finalist teams will also be accepted into The Junior Academy or 1000 Girls 1000 Future, and become Young Member of the New York Academy of Sciences.

How it Works

Once signed up, students will be invited to join Launchpad, an online collaboration platform where students work together to design challenge solutions in self-selected teams of up to 6 members. Each team will be paired with a STEM professional who serves as a mentor for the challenge. Mentors are experienced and highly motivated STEM experts and industry leaders from around the world. Students will also gain access to a series of curated learning resources that help advance research and virtual 21st-century skills.

Who can sign up to participate?

  • Students: Age 13-17 who are enrolled in secondary school (or equivalent) in Kigali, Republic of Rwanda.
  • Mentors: STEM professionals, graduate students, and postdocs who are committed to mentoring the next generation innovators.
  • All participants must have access to a computer and a reliable internet connection and must be able to communicate clearly in English.


The program is made possible through the support of Clifford Chance as a part of the Cornerstone initiative. Cornerstone is Clifford Chance's flagship global pro bono and community investment initiative in Rwanda. The initiative is made up of a series of projects that are designed to help these communities overcome the barriers inhibiting improvements in well-being.