Space for Youth Competition

Call for Essays



The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) are launching an essay competition for students and young professionals. The competition aims at bringing new ideas and proposals to tackle climate challenges using space, thus contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

At the United Nations level, youth development and youth engagement are cross-cutting issues in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The UN Youth Strategy, launched by the Secretary General in September 2018, recognises that young people’s empowerment, development and engagement are goals as well as a means to build a better world.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) works to strengthen international cooperation in space activities and in the use of space science and technology for achieving sustainable development. UNOOSA is the only United Nations Office entirely dedicated to outer space activities.

The Space Generation Advisory Council in Support of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications is a global non-governmental, non-profit organization and network representing university students and young space professionals to the United Nations, space agencies, industry, and academia.

This Competition aims at giving voice to youth at international level and to show how young people can drive and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, more specifically Goal 13, Climate Change.

Space4Climate – Space as a tool to address climate challenges: examples from local communities. 

Climate change is the defining issue of our time. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of flooding, the impact of climate change is global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Action is needed and young people play a key role. UNOOSA and SGAC want to give a voice to and promote youth’s ideas on how space, in all its aspects, can mitigate climate challenges.

Participants will submit an essay on “Space as a tool to address climate challenges: examples from local communities”. Participants will focus on SDG 13, Climate Action, describing how space can be used to tackle climate challenges underlining concrete, realistic and original examples of how space policy, space law, space technologies and other applications can address climate change in local communities.


Eligibility criteria

  • The competition is open to all students and young professionals from any Member States of the United Nations.
  • All participants shall be of the age between 18 to 35 inclusive (up to the day of your 36th birthday) on 1 February 2020.
  • The competition is open to individuals – no team submission is allowed.
  • Competition organizers and judges are not eligible for the competition.


To apply, please register through the Space for Youth Competition Form. Once registered, please send the essay to the e-mail address indicated in the online form.

Each submission should include the following:

  • An essay of no more than 1000 words, bibliography excluded.
  • An abstract of no more than 100 words.


  • The essay and the abstract should be submitted together in one unlocked PDF document under 5 MB. The name of the file should be “Space4Youth_Name_Surname”.
  • All submissions shall be made by 21 June, 23:59 GMT. Any submissions after the deadline will not be considered. In case of lack of quality of submissions, the Selection Committee reserves the right to extend and/or cancel the competition.
  • The font used should be Times New Roman with a 12 font size.
  • For references please use the Harvard referencing style. Failure to properly acknowledge sources may constitute
  • If you use images or graphics, please give credit and add a title and a caption. These images and graphics should be added to the relevant section(s) of the essay.
  • The essay must be written in English.
  • The text may draw examples from organizations, companies or other entities, but it cannot promote or advertise them.


The selected winner(s) will: 

  • Winners will be awarded with a trip to the United States to meet with representatives of the U.S. space sector and attend Adult Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (1). Expenses will be covered by the U.S. Mission to the International Organizations in Vienna.
  • Winners’ essays will be uploaded on the “Space for Youth” webpage of UNOOSA

Winner(s) may be invited to participate to other events.

The trip is planned to take place in 2021. More details will be received when the winners are announced.

(1) Pending confirmation and satisfaction of U.S. visa approval.

Evaluation of Essays:

The competition will be evaluated by representatives of UNOOSA and SGAC, and members of the Selection Committee. The evaluation will be made based on originality, scientific content and detail, description of concept and impact, and writing quality.


  • 12 May 2020: Call for applications opens
  • 11 May 2020: Call for applications opens
  • 21 June 2020: Call for applications closes
  • 03 August: Finalists and winner(s) are announced
  • 2021: Adult Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Other information:

Copyright and Intellectual Property

  • By submitting an entry, applicants agree to permit UNOOSA and SGAC to mention their names, affiliations and headshot picture in connection with the competition and the overall Space for Youth.
  • Copyright of the submitted entry shall remain with the participants. However, by submitting an entry all contestants agree that all affiliated organizers are granted non-exclusive reproduction rights regarding all submitted papers. The outcomes of this competition will be turned into a Conference Room Paper which will be presented at the Sixty-third session of the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. All affiliated organizers may also present ideas and findings generated by this competition at relevant conferences.


  • Organisers have the right to change the terms of the competition, including number of winners and prizes.


For any questions, please contact:

·       UNOOSA [email protected]

·       SGAC  [email protected]