Healthy Water Cycles Challenge

Will you be the changemaker and win the prize?

With the world’s growing population, the demand for healthy freshwater is increasing while on the other hand, availability is decreasing. Only 2.5% of earth’s water is freshwater, pollutants are increasingly difficult to remove, water is unevenly distributed and we have more extreme droughts and rains due to climate change.

The Challenge

So, this challenge is to find innovative solutions for providing sufficient and good quality (drinking) water and/or reuse for people, neighborhoods, cities, agriculture, the environment and/or for industry, worldwide!

We need your brains, ideas and skills to come up with technologies, awareness raising, and sustainable solutions to guarantee enough high quality water for everyone: hence, solutions for creating a healthy water cycle.

With your contribution, you can make a difference when it comes to securing our water supply and contributing to a healthy natural water cycle. For now and in the future. And oh yes, there are also fun prizes to be won.

How to participate?

Describe in up to 300 words, illustrated or not, what world water problem you want to tackle and how you are planning to do it, or create an elevator pitch video of up to 2 minutes describing your idea/concept. You can do this individually or in a team of no more than 5 bachelor students, preferably from different programs. E-mail your idea/concept as MS Word .doc or as YouTube link to: Koos Oosterhaven no later than October 21, 2022. A team of experts will review all entries and let you know if yours is eligible to participate in the challenge. Individual entries will be combined into teams as much as possible by mutual agreement. Shortly after submission, teams will be brought together for the first Masterclass where you will hear more about the next steps.

This challenge covers many disciplines e.g. water (sources, technology, quality, management), soil, food, health, environment, climate adaptation, sustainable entrepreneurship, marketing & economics. Idea: you can try to fit this into your current curriculum: a module, a minor or spend your thesis on this important topic and make the change.

What do we offer you?

A team of mentors and experts from the Water Campus is available for coaching and to help build your demo, proof of concept or other type of solution. In addition, in close cooperation with Innovatiepact Fryslân (IPF) we organize masterclasses on Ideation techniques, Water treatment technologies, Business development, Marketing/pitching and Climate change. These can be extended with other topics, depending on your ideas.

Together with your team you can make use of the Water Application Center for practical work with support of the experts for discussions on the quality of your solution.

When does it all take place?

You can start as soon as you hear from this challenge. The submission deadline for your first idea/concept is 21 October 2022.

On May 31, 2023 you will pitch your solution to an expert  jury. This may seem like a whole lot of time, but time travels fast, so make a realistic planning.

The jury will present the outcome mid June 2023 on a special event in which the teams are asked to present their solutions.

What are the requirements & criteria?

After your idea has been approved and you are assigned to a team, you will start working on developing your idea.

So what do we expect you to deliver?

  • preferably a technical model of your solution (e.g. to be built in the WAC or in one of the Design ateliers of the Universities of Applied Sciences);
  • a drawing, concept or software tool are also possible;
  • awareness campaigns, marketing tools, etc. ;
  • …… anything that demonstrate solutions for securing the quality and quantity of our water.

Furthermore you have to be prepared to spend on average 4 hours per week on this challenge.

You have to convince the jury of the quality of your solution. Show them the concept, pitch it with enthusiasm and do the math: what will your out-of-the-box solution bring?

The jury will evaluate the:

  • quality and innovativity of the solution;
  • feasibility;
  • scaleability;
  • your next steps;
  • your pitch.

Why join?

By joining this challenge you will:

  • improve your skills: process management, creative thinking, (multidisciplinary) group dynamics, entrepreneurship, marketing and (Water)technological;
  • develop your network;
  • make an outstanding impression with this challenge on your CV;
  • make a difference when it comes to securing our water supply and contributing to a healthy natural water cycle;
  • receive a certificate of participation.

And what about the EC’s?

Sorry, no EC’s to gain, unless this topic is part of a regular study program. If that is not possible, it is an extracurricular event for you. We expect you can spend up to max 4 hours per week in the period October – May. However, the experience is unique!

Why should teachers and professors become enthusiastic?

Please, consider this important topic as part of your module (1st, 2nd or 3rd year), minor or convince your students to spend time on their thesis research.

The prizes

Eternal fame, money (500 EUR for the first prize, 250 EUR for the second prize) and the possibility to present your solution on an (inter)national conference. And a wild card for the European WaterCampus Business Challenge, to further develop your solution into a real business.

The organizers

This challenge is made possible by Watercampus partners Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, Water Application Center, and Centre of Expertise Water Technology (CEW).


Any questions about participation? Please send an e-mail to Koos Oosterhaven.