Presentation from the Information Session on 22 March 2023 @ 15:00 SAST can be accessed here.

Please scroll down for all the competition info.

Competition Name
Innovative Scientific Solutions for a Sustainable Future: Identify a problem in your immediate environment and propose an innovative sustainable scientific solution to address it. 

Presentation Format(s)
Create a digital poster/infographic (in pdf, jpeg or png), presentation (in pdf, MS PowerPoint or Google Slides) or video (in MP4 – include sound) to demonstrate your solution and submit. Be creative and innovative!

Competition Categories

  • Energy and Climate Change
  • Water and Food Security
  • Waste Reduction and Management
  • Biodiversity Conservation
  • Public Health and Disease Prevention
  • Pollution and the Environment

Competition Guidelines
The competition comprises of two phases:

Phase 1: School registers to participate by 15 April 2023 (extended from 31 March 2023)

  1. The Science/Mathematics/Life Sciences school teacher who will coordinate the team representing the school, completes the online registration form to enter the competition (a Gmail address is required for this). Registration is due by 15 April 2023 (extended from 31 March 2023). The school logo needs to be attached to the online form, demonstrating the school’s support of IYBSSD. See
  2. The Science/Mathematics/Life Sciences school teacher identifies 6 learners from the same school to form part of the team, who will then work on the solution. Learners can be of any age. All genders should be represented as part of each team. Each school can enter one team only.
  3. Once registered, the school teacher will be provided with an entry form link and  link to a folder where all competition material must be uploaded.

    Definition of a “school” in SA in this context: An ordinary registered public or private, primary (Gr 1-7) or secondary school (Gr 8-12). A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of learners under the direction of qualified teachers.

Phase 2: School submits entry by 31 May 2023

  1. Complete the entry form (link provided to teacher following registration) and upload the final presentation/poster/video to the folder created for you.
  2. Participants must submit a report by completing the applicable fields on the online entry form shared with the school teacher following Phase 1, detailing their proposal, including supporting data, illustrations, or photos. Information required include the following:
    – What is the topic/problem you will address?
    – Provide the background to the problem.
    – What method/procedure have you followed to find a solution? Indicate how mathematics and science contributed towards finding a solution.
    – What were the results of your investigation and the solution to the problem?
    – Discuss your findings and how it will help solve the problem.
    – What are your conclusions? In your conclusions, include the solution to the problem or the contributions that the project brings towards a solution to the problem.
    – Indicate if you have any plans to implement this solution.
    – Which SDG does this problem/solution align with?
  3. Participants are required to submit evidence of the solution in digital format using a digital poster/infographic (in pdf, jpeg or png), presentation (in pdf, MS PowerPoint or Google Slides) or video (in MP4 – include sound), showcasing their innovative solution. 
  4. All submissions must be original work, and plagiarism must be avoided.
  5. Participants must provide a list of references and resources used in developing their solution.

Competition Terms & Conditions

By participating in the competition you agree to the following competition terms and conditions.

  1. The competition is being run by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) on behalf of the Dept. of Science and Innovation (DSI) and National Research Foundation (NRF). Other collaborators to this competition include: Marang Centre for Mathematics and Science Education, University of the Witwatersrand.
  2. By participating in this competition you agree to support IYBSSD, and for the school logo to be added to the following website: 
  3. By participating in this competition, you agree that this is the first time the school enters this project as part of a competition, and that the work was done by the learners themselves, with some guidance by their teacher. Each learner’s contribution should be clearly indicated on the entry form.
  4. The competition is open to entrants from all South African schools from Grade 1 to Grade 12.  By entering the competition, you (the teacher) confirm that the school is eligible to do so and that the school is eligible to receive any prizes that may be awarded to the school.
  5. There is a limit of one entry per school and there is no entry fee involved.
  6. 9 teams from 9 different schools from the 9 SA provinces stand a chance to win a cash prize of ZAR10,000.00 for their school. A certificate of participation will be awarded to each individual learner of the 9 winning teams as well as to the school.
  7. A team must comprise one teacher (mathematics/science/life sciences) and 6 learners.  Learners can be of the same grade/age or different grades/ages. All genders should be represented as part of each team. 
  8. The final solution to the identified problem should be submitted as a digital poster/infographic, presentation or video. 
  9. The prize is non-transferable and non-exchangeable, and no alternatives will be provided. 
  10. ASSAf’s decision on any aspect of the competition is final and binding, and no correspondence will be entered into about it.
  11. Submitted entries will be evaluated by an independent team of scientists.
  12. Once submitted, no entry or any part of it can be replaced by the entrants.
  13. A set of criteria will be used to identify the winning teams.
  14. Winning teams will be notified via email. ASSAf will make two attempts to contact the winner via email. If the winner does not respond to the emails informing them of their win within 14 days of the second email, they forfeit their right to the prize, and ASSAf reserves the right to select and notify a new winner.
  15. Winning schools will allow 14 days for the prize to be delivered, otherwise alternative collection or delivery arrangements can be made through mutual agreement.
  16. The teacher – on behalf of the learners, their parents and the school, agree that any personal information that they provide when entering the competition will be used by ASSAf for the purpose of administering the competition and announcing the winners. Teacher’s and learner’s names will be announced on ASSAf’s website and social media channels, as well as in the Quest: Science for South Africa magazine.
  17. ASSAf, the DSI, NRF or any of its affiliates accept no liability for any damage, loss, injury, or disappointment suffered by any entrants as a result of participating in the competition or being selected for a prize.
  18. ASSAf reserves the right, at any time and without prior notice, to cancel the competition or amend these terms and conditions.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Creativity and Innovation (20%)
  • Impact on Sustainability (20%)
  • Scientific Content and Technical Merit (20%)
  • Presentation Quality (20%)
  • Feasibility and Practicality (20%)


9 teams from 9 different schools (1 from each province) stand a chance to win a cash prize of ZAR10,000.00  for their school. A certificate of participation will be awarded to each individual learner and teacher of the 9 winning teams as well as to the school.


Competition launch: 14 March 2023 (International Day of Mathematics)

Information session for teachers (optional): 22 March 2023 @ 15:00 (optional) – View Presentation Overview

Register for competition by: 15 April 2023 (compulsory) (extended from 31 March 2023)

Submission of final work by: 31 May 2023 (compulsory)

Evaluation/assessment period: 1 June – 30 June 2023

Announcement of winners: 14 July 2023

Competition Forms

  1. Registration Form: Complete the registration form to demonstrate your intent to participate.
  2. Entry Form: Complete the entry form once your project has been completed and once you are ready to submit your final and completed entry. The link to the entry form and folder where your entry must be submitted will be provided following your registration by 31 March 2023.

Please contact the following for any enquiries you might have:

Ina Smith
Planning/Project Manager
Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)

Magick Maphanga
Programme Officer: Quest Magazine
Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) 

We hope that this competition will encourage school learners to apply their scientific knowledge in innovative ways to address sustainability problems in their immediate environment. 

Good luck to all participants!

This competition is brought to you by the DSI (Dept of Science and Innovation), NRF (National Research Foundation) and ASSAf (Academy of Science of South Africa)

In collaboration with the Marang Centre for Mathematics and Science Education, Wits School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand