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Are you passionate about a world worth living in? Do you have a bold, original idea to tackle today’s environmental challenges, but are missing the network and scaling options to make it happen? In an effort to co-create smart and unconventional solutions coming from all sectors and parts of the globe, the Luc Hoffmann Institute regularly offers Innovation Challenges.

What is an innovation challenge?

An innovation challenge a relatively novel mechanism in the conservation sector. For the Luc Hoffmann Institute, an innovation challenge is a global call to action aimed at accelerating ideas and initiatives that could promote social change and improve biodiversity for the lasting well-being of nature and humans. Innovations funds are essentially a means of crowdsourcing “open innovation”, a term taken from the fields of business strategy and technology development to describe the process of going outside the boundaries of an organisation or sector to find new solutions more robust and holistic than those found within.

Who is the challenge for?

It is open to individuals and organisations (e.g. NGOs, governmental organisations, academic institutions, and for- and non-profit organisations companies from all sectors, etc.), as well as individuals with bold ideas and motivation to see them through.

What is the scope of the challenge?

The innovation challenges have a global scope and are focussed on social and systemic change to preserve life-supporting systems and processes as a basis for lasting development. The Luc Hoffmann Institute supports the notion that all of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and indeed all life on Earth, is interlinked and is thus open to ideas stemming from all areas as they relate to SDGs 14 and 15 around ‘Life below water’ and ‘Life on land’.

What are the topics?

Regular calls for proposals will seek ideas around specific themes and issues that have been identified through dialogue with the world’s leading scientists, conservationists and innovators.


Registration for the next challenge will be announced shortly.

Please note: only the winning entries will be notified

Application criteria

  • Salience and transformative potential
  • Boldness in approach to shifting views and inspiring change
  • Feasibility – the ideas should be ambitious and innovative, but also practical
  • Diversity: Ideas are invited from across regions, disciplines and cultures to ensure wide reach and global impact.
  • Synergy: with LHI’s mission and relevance to the theme of the call for proposals
  • Global scope or scalability
  • Potential for working with LHI and in partnership with others to make an impact

Selection process

The jury will select the people or organisations with the most promising ideas. Selected candidates will then be invited into a unique programme to incubate and nurture their idea with a view to creating new solutions.


  • A chance to play a life-changing role in addressing the biodiversity crisis
  • Access to seed capital to move quickly from idea to action
  • Unrivalled networking opportunities within and beyond the conservation world
  • Access to a devoted team of experts and mentors to grow your idea and give it wings
  • The potential to ultimately pitch to donors or investors

What else?

The need for innovation in biodiversity conservation has never been so great. The Earth’s species, habitats and ecosystems are declining at an alarming and unprecedented rate (WWF 2018; IPBES 2019), suggesting we need to rethink and scale-up our conservation approaches. Challenges were first developed by government aid agencies as a means of funding development projects, and are now adopted by many NGOs and companies as a way of encouraging new thinking and innovation. However, there has been limited use of challenges to address innovation around large environmental issues across themes and approaches. The Luc Hoffmann Institute Innovation Challenge fills that gap and, in doing so, contributes to bringing about the change we need to drive the well being of life on Earth.

Participation conditions

Participants agree to the conditions of the Luc Hoffmann Institute Innovation Challenge which can be viewed here.