Humanitarian Innovation Pitch

What is the Humanitarian Innovation Pitch contest?

This national submissions contest is for university students to develop innovative technological or engineering solutions that support human welfare through benevolent treatment or assistance to people for substantially altruistic reasons. Students are encouraged to select a real-world humanitarian problem (based on the focus areas identified) and develop technology-driven solutions, including a demonstration or other proof of practicality. Submissions are to comprise of a short video (no more than three minutes) explaining the problem chosen and the solution developed. A written design brief will also be submitted showing evidence of how your solution could be achieved.


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Submissions are now closed for 2019. Information for the 2020 event will be announced in early 2020. To learn more about the Humanitarian Innovation Hackathon, taking place in 16-18 August, 2019, click here


For more information about these events, download our information kit today.


  • International and national university students, domiciled in Australia and studying at any Australian University;
  • Students studying in any discipline but preferably “STEM-capable participants” studying for degrees in engineering and /or IT; the reason for this preference is because of the emphasis on “engineering” innovations;
  • Students must be studying an undergraduate degree to participate –  full-time and part-time students are welcome;
  • Entry may be made by individuals or groups of up to 3 or 4 individuals working as a team;
  • Entrants will be required to provide evidence of their eligibility under these rules as a part of their submission.
  • Identify by research a real problem in a humanitarian or a developing country context;
  • Preferably with a connection to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Especially those solutions that address needs which do not fit conventional commercial finance driven markets and are therefore “orphans” to traditional market solutions;
  • Especially solutions aimed to alleviate or address needs of disadvantaged communities or
  • Groups that may be overlooked by traditional engineering and technology projects.

Submissions will open 1 May, 2019 and close on 31 May, 2019. Update: Submissions have been extended until the 7 June 2019.

Evaluation criteria will include but not be limited to the degree to which the humanitarian engineering innovation:

  • Uses engineering skills, knowhow and technologies
  • Is original
  • Is novel
  • Is inventive
  • Is environmentally sound and sustainable
  • Is practical for the target community or persons
  • Addresses a real and pressing problem
  • An actual demonstration or other proof of practicality will be highly considered

Winners will be awarded:


  • The Professor Ron Johnston Prize in Humanitarian Innovation
  • A total of $2,500 cash prizes
  • Offered an internship on a Pacific Islands engineering project with consulting engineering firm Cardno Ltd
  • Travel stipends for the Humanitarian Innovation Hackathon, held in Sydney

For more information about the Humanitarian Innovation Pitch:

The Humanitarian Innovation Hackathon is a weekend-long event in August, taking place in Sydney, NSW. This event is designed for university students to work collaboratively in teams of cross-disciplines to create technology-driven solutions for the most pressing humanitarian challenges. Participants will be asked to identify practical solutions for real and current problems that are submitted by the humanitarian disaster organisation, RedR Australia.


Please note, the Humanitarian Innovation Pitch isn’t a pre-requisite of participating in the Hackathon. They are two standalone activities.


The 2019 Pitch is now completed, we will be announcing the winners at our Humanitarian Innovation Hackathon in August.

The 2019 Pitch is now completed, we will be announcing the winners at our Humanitarian Innovation Hackathon in August.


Our 2019 Finalists have been announced!


  • Riley de Jong, Liam McAllister and Adele van der Winde (Team name: Bio-Engineering for River Banks), Queensland University of Technology
  • Georgia Odlin and Ella Lambert (Team name: GB), University of Sydney
  • Mark Cavanna, Kevin Miao, Cameron Choi and Terrence Darma (Team name: Monica’s Peers)University of Sydney
  • Ethan Hastings, Zac Stanford, Marcus Dege and James Griffiths (Team name: Team Sloth), Charles Sturt University


Congratulations to the finalist groups!


Watch the video below to find out the winners

RedR Disaster RELIEF

We’ve teamed up with the international humanitarian response agency, RedR Australia. Find out who they are and about the important work they do. 


Professor Ron Johnston, Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Innovation (ACIIC), is one of Australia’s leading thinkers about the future.


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