• Global Challenge
  • ISCES 2023
  • Background
  • Organization
  • Partners
  • Past Events

Supported by Agricultural Bank of China, Beijing Environment Foundation for Young Talents and Xinhua News Agency, the International Student Conference on Environment and Sustainability (ISCES) has been successfully held for 11 years by the United Nations Environment Programme and Tongji University since 2011, with over 3,000 international students from more than 50 countries gathering at Tongji University on the World Environment Day. This annual conference has become a global event for future leaders and one of the most influential youths gathering on sustainable development, which provides a platform for young students worldwide to discuss major environmental issues and an interdisciplinary and multinational learning opportunity.

Since 2021, the ISCES has held the Global Environmental Solutions Challenge, which seeks global solutions to environmental problems and sustainable development. Students from all over the world are invited to form teams and participate in it. Representatives from academia, business, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations will also be invited to deliver keynote speeches about latest global initiatives and local policies on sustainable development and cutting-edge industrial technology solutions.


Considering that the theme of the World Environment Day in 2023 is “Solutions to Plastic Pollution”, the challenge this year offers four topics. They are Human Health, Circular Economy, Climate Change, and Zero-Waste City. Participants can choose the topic they are interested in and sign up in group. Every team can only choose 1 topic, and there is a maximum of 100 teams per topic. The challenge will follow the principle of “First-come, First-serve”, which means the first team to register has the right to choose topics first.

*Your solution can refer to but not limited to the following topic descriptions

Topic 1Human Health

Plastic pollution not only wreaks havoc on the environment, but also poses potential hazards to human health. Microplastics may enter the food chain and be ingested into our bodies through food and water sources, thereby adversely affecting our health. How to minimize plastic waste by educating the public on proper disposal and recycling? How to quantify and control plastic pollution while preventing microplastics from affecting human health?

Topic 2Circular Economy

The global production and consumption of plastic products is increasing, but the recycling rate is universally low. Easy-to-recycle design, innovation of recycling value chain, cheaper and safer recycled plastics are key in circular economy. How to make plastic products of different materials in a closed loop of production-consumption-recycling, and reduce the generation of plastic waste, as well as the production of virgin plastics? How to avoid health risks in the recycling process? How to improve recycling rate by changing consumer behavior?

Topic 3Climate Change

Plastic is the material for which demand has been strongest since 1970. Its heavily reliance on fossil feedstock, extremely low recycling rate, and high emissions from petrochemical processes is a challenge for reaching net zero emissions. It is estimated that the annual production of plastic products in the world will produce more than 400 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which is equivalent to nearly a quarter of global vehicle emissions. How to efficiently recycle engineering plastics to further reduce the carbon intensity of industrial products such as automobiles? How to quantify the impact of global plastic production and plastic pollution on climate change?

Topic 4Zero-Waste City

In the construction of zero-waste cities, the control of plastic waste is the key. We should actively promote sustainable alternatives to plastics and increase recycling rate, while improving plastic waste management in cities. How to make municipal solid waste management more effective and achieve effective plastic sorting and recycling at the community level? How to control plastic pollution during urbanisatoin, such as transportation, buildings and other infrastructure?

2. Participant Registration

There are two ways to get involved in this challenge.

1) Registration as a participant in this challenge. Participants can compete for final prizes and scholarships provided by the organizing committee. The challengeonly accepts registration as a team. The challenge is open to groups only so that participants are required to form their own teams.

2)Registration as an observer in this challenge. Observers have the right to vote for their favorite team.

2.1.      Registration as a participant

Qualification: This challenge is open to students of all ages or nationalities from all over the world. Students in colleges and universities (including vocational students, undergraduates and postgraduates) can all participate in the competition.

Specific requirements: Participants need to form their own teams, with each team including 2-4 members. Participants should ensure that the registration information is accurate and valid. If the information of any participant in a team does not meet the requirements, the organizing committee has the right to cancel the qualification and reward of the whole team.

Specific registration method: Team leaders register in the official registration system first, then the system automatically generates an invitation link. The team leader needs to send it to the team members. The team members must click the invitation link to complete the registration process within 3 days. Otherwise, the registration will be regarded as unsuccessful. The team leader can check the progress of team member registration on the personal page of the system.

2.2.      Registration as an observer

Qualification: Anyone interested in environmental issues can register as observer.

Vote: After registration,observers can log in to the registration system to vote within the specified time.

2.3.      Registration deadline

For participants: 18:00, April15, 2023 (UTC+8)

For observers: 14:00, June3, 2023 (UTC+8)

2.4.      Registration website

Official registration system: https://isces.tongji.edu.cn/

Participants and observers need to register on this website.

3. Rules and Guidelines

3.1.      All topics of the ISCES Global Environment Solutions Challenge will be unveiled by committee.

3.2.      Teams need to log in the registration system for confirmation before April 15, 2023. Working as a team to come up with solutions to plastic pollution and submit entry in the system.

3.3.      The deadline for team registration and submission is 18:00 (UTC+8) April 15, 2023.

3.4.      From April 15 to April 24, 2023, the committee will check the qualification of the teams, conduct the preliminary evaluation of each group's entries, and announce the final team list at 18:00 (UTC+8) on April 24.

3.5.      From April 24 to May 10, 2023, The selected entries will be evaluated by experts and scholars from international organizations, private sectors and NGOs. The judges will mark the performance of each team by topic relevance (25%), innovation (25%), feasibility (25%), and replicability (25%). The final score of every team will be the average score from all the judges.

3.6.      The committee will announce the final list of winning teams on the IESD website and send it to each winning group by email before 18:00 (UTC+8) May 20, 2023.

3.7.      On June 5, 2023, the winning team will make a presentation about their solution at the International Student Conference on Environment and Sustainability (ISCES).

4. Award Setting

4.1.      There will be ONE Champion Team, TWO Second Prize teams and THREE Third Prize teams , which will be selected by the judging committee.

    The champion team will get 10000 RMB scholarship (before tax).

Special note: In addition to the scholarship, the champion team will also be invited to attend the 2023 International Student Conference on Environment and Sustainability (ISCES) in Tongji University on 5 June to present their solution, with travel and accommodation sponsored(Maximum 4 days).

    The second prize team will get 6000 RMB (before tax).

    The third prize team will get 4,000 RMB (before tax).

The reward will be distributed directly to the team leader of the winning team,    and then distributed among team members themselves.

4.2.      The challenge also generate ONE Most Popular Team award wining a scholarship of 3,000RMB (before tax), according to online voting. ISCES website will open the voting page from 15:00 April 24 to 15:00 June 3 (UTC+8). The team with the highest number of votes will win this award. In order to ensure the fairness and justice of the competition, the voting link on the official website will block all kinds of malicious vote-swiping software. We also call on the participants to follow the rules of the challenge and prevent illegal vote-swiping.


Contact: isces@tongji.edu.cn

Click the attachment for more details.

【Guidelines】2023 ISCES Global Environmental Solutions Challenge.pdf

【Topic Descriptions】2023 ISCES Global Environmental Solutions Challenge .pdf