Next Einstein Forum Challenge of Invention to Innovation (Ci2i) 2018 for African Innovators

Next Einstein Forum Challenge of Invention to Innovation (Ci2i) 2018 for African Innovators

Deadline: February 2, 2018

The Next Einstein Forum (NEF) has searching for Africa’s brightest innovators to compete in its NEF Challenge of Invention to Innovation (Ci2i).The goal of the Ci2i competition is to reward research based innovation and highlight the global impact of African researchers and entrepreneurs. 

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 at the NEF Global Gathering 2018 to be held 26-28 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, under the patronage of H.E. President Paul Kagame.

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. 

The competition will have two rounds with the final round presented at in plenary on the final day of the NEF Global Gathering 2018. 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.

About NEF

Launched in 2013, the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) is an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The NEF is a platform that connects science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world – with the goal to leverage science for human development globally. The NEF believes that Africa’s contributions to the global scientific community are critical for global progress.

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.


The monetary prizes for Ci2i winners and runner ups will be announced 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.


  • 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.
  • The language for the competition is English.

Selection Criteria

During the first round of the competition, the jury will use score sheets to choose the top 2 presenters. The score sheets will assess the following criteria on a scale of 1 to 10:

  1. Clarity of the presentation
  2. Originality, novelty or innovativeness of the work or idea being presented
  3. Potential for or evidence of impact and application of the presented work or idea to human needs
  4. Scalability including business plan

In the second round, the winner will be selected based on the following criteria:

  1. Scalability
  2. Potential Impact

In case of a tie, the jury will decide the victor through a quick vote.


The Top 15 will be announced 1 March 2018.

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.

For more information, visit NEF Challenge of Invention to Innovation.