Young people get a chance to solve the world’s biggest problems

IVA is launching Junior Academy for students ages 13–18. Young people in Sweden will now have a chance to participate in a virtual and global competition to develop innovative solutions to significant current problems.

Junior Academy is both a competition and a virtual network. The programme has been run by the New York Academy of Sciences since 2015. Next spring young people in Sweden will be able to help make the world a better place.

“The Junior Academy is an arena for young people who are interested in impacting the development of something they are passionate about,” says Project Manager Maja Neiman.

All young people ages 13–18 can apply and those who are accepted will team up with like-minded students somewhere else in the world. In a virtual environment they will develop their solutions to a current problem, such as how to prevent forest fires or how people without a refrigerator can avoid food waste. The students will have an individual mentor and access to experts to help them.

The participants must be able to express themselves well in English and, of course, have access to the internet. That is where the work will take place.

The winning team will travel to the USA and the New York Academy of Sciences Annual Gala. There the team members will meet each other face to face for the first time.

“The most important criteria in judging the entries are the ideas and the way they want to tackle the problem. A comprehensive approach and innovative solutions are important.”

For those who do not win, there are also benefits in having been accepted into the Junior Academy. Membership is permanent and a merit for those who are looking to study at university in the USA.

“We presented the project at Gymnasiemässan (Sweden’s largest upper secondary school fair) in Stockholm. The response was excellent. Parents and school personnel thought this was something that would fill a void. The students liked the international connection and that it is a serious programme – an arena where people will listen to them.

In April 2019 the Swedish portal will open up for those who want to apply.

“In September a jury will decide who can participate, and in the autumn the same year the Swedish participants will start working on the first challenges.

They will not only be working with young people all around the world…

“We will also create a group for the Swedish participants. The aim is for all Swedish students who are accepted to be invited to some form of event here in Sweden,” says Maja Neiman.


- Launched in 2015 by the New York Academy of Sciences.
- Young people all around the world ages 13–18 can participate.
- In 2018 6,000 applied and 600 were accepted.
- Participation is free of charge.
- The competition is entirely web-based.
- The participants receive four weeks of online training.
- The application period via the Swedish portal starts in April 2019.