INSPIRE, The Future Award – the vision!

Visions, ideas and concepts that germinate at institutes of further education are often ahead of their time. Even if they cannot be implemented on a one-to-one basis, such projects and studies are exciting indicators of future development. At the Digital Economic Forum, we want to not only put the spotlight on already established achievers, but also give young, creative people with ideas whose disruptive impact cannot yet be gauged a chance to shine. INSPIRE, The Future Award aims to inspire business leaders and show them what the future may hold – while fostering an informal exchange of knowledge and ideas between the ‘new kids on the block’ and the ‘old hands’.

The award includes travels to Silicon Valley, the heart of digitalization, with visits to leading technology companies as well as cash prizes and other prizes. Presently ascertained for the 2016 edition is a trip to California and prize money of CHF 10’000. The goal is to provide further travels and additional prize money.

Who can take part?

Students of any subject who are currently completing a degree or graduated no more than two years ago and who are no older than 30 years of age. The submitted project (term or seminar paper, thesis, diploma thesis etc.) must meet the following criteria:

  1. The project must be completed as part of a degree and within the framework of a corresponding ‘free’ project (i.e. start-up projects and projects commissioned by a company are not allowed).  
  2. The project must contain aspects connecting to digitalization.   
  3. The project content must be innovative.

A potential realization of the submitted project is not a requirement, however the vision behind it is. This could be a technology, scientific discovery, service, business model, product, client experience or design.

What’s in it for me?

  • Six projects selected by an expert jury will be presented at the Digital Economic Forum (DEF). The project authors will be invited to the DEF.
  • The knowledgeable audience at the Digital Economic Forum will rate the projects online via an app.
  • INSPIRE, The Future Award, comes with trips to Silicon Valley and visits to cutting-edge technology companies.
  • Cash and non-cash prizes will also be awarded. (presently CHF 10’000)
  • An abstract of all projects that make the shortlist (between 20 and 30) will be published in the INSPIRE catalogue.  
  • The rights of the authors are protected in accordance with usual publications.
Your exciting new idea gets the chance to win a prize – you get the opportunity to establish valuable contacts with business leaders.

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The submitted projects will be evaluated by the Digital Economic Forum in conjunction with BREAK / THROUGH Ventures. A set of binding criteria will determine which projects are included in a shortlist of 20 to 30 entries. A distinguished, international jury will select the six projects that will be presented and receive a prize at the Digital Economic Forum. The entire shortlist with abstracts will be published online at the Digital Economic Forum.

The jury panel, comprising experienced scientists and business managers is presently being assembled. The final panel will be published here.

INSPIRE, The Future Award - timeline

The application period for INSPIRE, The Future Award 2016 starts immediately. The registration deadline is 15 February 2016. INSPIRE, The Future Award will be presented to six jury-nominated winners on 27 April 2016 in Zurich.
  • 2/15/2016
    Closing date for applications
  • 3/7/2016
    Close of judging
  • 3/9/2016
    Winner notifications & invitationsr
  • 4/27/2016
    Award ceremony at Digital Economic Forum
  • 4/28/2016
    Award catalogue publication


Isn’t there a risk that someone might steal my idea?

Projects are ensured the same copyright protection as those displayed at a graduation exhibition or in a publication. An astute business leader (and most of them are) would rather give the fisherman a great (job) offer than steal his fish and unleash a veritable ‘shitstorm’.

I’ve made an error in my online submission or forgotten to include an attachment. What do I do?

You’ll need to re-submit your project by sending it to the same email address. The newer version will replace the one you sent earlier.

Will I have to pay an entry fee to take part in INSPIRE, The Future Award?


I cannot attend the award ceremony at the DEF on 27 April 2016. Can I still win?

No. A key objective of INSPIRE, The Future Award is the exchange of ideas and knowledge between the award winners and business leaders. There is no point in participating if you cannot come to Zurich on 27 April 2016. The six nominated winning entries will have their travel costs (within Europe) reimbursed.

Who can I contact if I have any further queries?

If you can’t find the information you need on INSPIRE, The Future Award on this website or via search engines, please get in touch at L_hc__murofcimonocelatigid--eripsni.

Apply now!

Be one of the first winners of INSPIRE, The Future Award. Complete the form and hit send!

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