Challenges & Competitions

Global Pulse uses innovation challenges, hackathons, and data dives to unite problems with problem solvers and unearth solutions from around the world in a way that emphasizes both inclusiveness and outcomes.

Global Pulse serves as an innovation hub and knowledge center for the UN on data innovation and data analytics and is always on the lookout for fresh approaches to using data for social good. We use innovation challenges and hackathons to unite problems with problem solvers and unearth solutions from around the world in a way that emphasizes both inclusiveness and outcomes. Global Pulse through its Pulse Labs in Jakarta, Kampala and New York both hosts and supports innovation challenges around the world that advance big data for public good.


D4CA is an innovation challenge harnessing data science to accelerate climate solutions. The competition was launched by UN Global Pulse, together with Western Digital and the Skoll Global Threats Fund. It called on innovators, scientists and climate experts to help fight climate change with data and analytics. The challenge ran in 2017 with the winners being announced during an event at the UN’s annual Climate Change Conference, COP23, in Bonn, Germany.


In 2017, UN Global Pulse and the Government of the Republic of Korea organized the third edition of the Big Ideas Competition in support of data-driven ideas to combat the effects of climate change. The competition called on data and climate enthusiasts from ASEAN countries, Sri Lanka and the Republic of Korea to put their skills and ideas to use in support of climate action.


The Government of the Republic of Korea, UNDP Asia and the Pacific and the United Nations Global Pulse launched the 2016 Big Ideas Competition for Sustainable Cities and Urban Communities.The competition asked participants to develop data-driven solutions to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a particular focus on SDG 11: make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.


The Big Ideas Competition, hosted by the Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and UN Global Pulse, called for students who are passionate about solving transportation, social protection and environmental issues through data innovation. The challenge asked participants to come up with new ideas to tackle urban issues connected to social protection and welfare, transportation, and the environment. 


In 2015, Pulse Lab Jakarta and UNDP announced a call for entries for Data Innovation Mini Grants to help the Government of Indonesia in providing more effective services to its citizens. In total 56 proposals were received, focusing on the thematic areas of: frontline service deliveryprotecting the poor and vulnerable and implementation of the village law in Indonesia


UN Global Pulse and the Secretary General’s Climate Change Support Team hosted the Big Data Climate Challenge to bring forward data-driven evidence of the economic dimensions of climate change. The Big Data Climate Challenge is an initiative of the Secretary-General’s 2014 Climate Summit at UN Headquarters in New York.

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