Change the world, start with your high school project!

Design a business plan for Imagine and win a trip to a developing country!

"I want to design a cure for malaria."
"I consider sustainable energy sources the future."
"I think everyone should have access to fresh water."
"I want to help reduce the global food shortage."

Are you interested in Life Sciences? Do you want to make a difference in the world? Get introduced to the Imagine School Competition!

Foundation Imagine Life Sciences challenges high school students to translate research from the Life Science & Technology field to an application in a developing country. During the annual Imagine School Competition, students work together with leading scientists to develop a business plan in which they describe the implementation of their project’s technology in a country of their choice. This is quite the challenge: the application has to be useful, the technology should  be affordable and their business plan needs to be viable. The winning team earns a trip to a developing country, where students experience first-hand how development aid is carried out! Moreover, Imagine strives to carry out feasible winning proposals. Are you ready to make a difference?

How does the competition work?

Science students in the final phase of their high school education (4/5 Havo and 4/5/6 VWO in the Dutch system) can apply for the competition in groups of two to five students. Usually, the competition serves as fulfilment of the so-called ‘profielwerkstuk’: a final, big essay with which high school students conclude their education. For Imagine, the competition starts already before summer, when scientists from the Life Science & Technology field are invited to submit their project proposals. These proposals are published over summer and describe a technology or idea on which the researcher is working and which we believe holds a promise for the future. As a participating student team, you may select your top three of preferred choices from this list and you will be assigned one topic at the start of the competition, in September.

The aim of the competition is to translate the scientist’s initial project proposal into a realistic application for a developing country. Of course, these applications should be viable, but we also challenge students to be as creative and original as possible. They should take into account sustainability, durability, cultural differences and environmental or ethical issues. There is a focus on both technology and the developing country to which the business proposal is geared. Business proposals are due in February, but the competition stretches until the big final in April. Here, the best groups present their idea in front of an audience of scientists, fellow students, teachers and most important: a panel of experts. These experts decide which group wins the Imagine School Competition and with that, a tour in the developing country of their choice.

During the course of the competition, students are coached by their high school teacher as well as the scientist(s) behind the project proposal of their choice. There are a number of other ways through which Imagine offers support, namely:

  • A kick-off meeting in September, during which students meet with supervising scientists in person and receive information about the competition;
  • Laboratory experiments hosted by the supervising scientist, where students gain in-depth understanding of their topic through hands-on experience;
  • A workshop ‘Sustainable Entrepreneurship’ about sustainable development, social issues, entrepreneurship and the relation between those topics, organised by Enyini;
  • A presentation rehearsal day (finalists only), where help is offered on how to present in front of large audiences and how to sell your business plan;
  • A one-minute video to support your presentation (finalists only), created by professional video makers in cooperation with the student team.

Reactions of participating students

•    "Imagine offers you the chance to get an inside look of universities. Apart from doing something for people in developing countries, you create your final high school report. ‘An opportunity for them and an opportunity for you’, like they say in the lottery!”
•    "This competition has opened my eyes for how cultural differences between us and developing countries affect the opportunities offered through knowledge and technology.”
•    "Before entering the competition, I only had some fuzzy ideas on what biotechnology is. Now, I know that it can solve a lot of problems when it’s implemented the right way.”


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Participate next year?

Registration for the 2015-2016 Competition has closed. Please check this website regularly to stay informed about the (new) topics and next year's competition.

Also, your teacher can order a (free) promotion package here and he/she will be updated about new topics and the opening of registration.

Team Solar Cooker of G.S.G. Leo Vroman at Gouda