Make A Difference is an idea challenge for everyone. It aims towards making a social and ecological impact based on the open source principles.
"MAKE a difference" is a project of the Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities (AGYA) and the Institute of Production Engineering at the Helmut Schmidt University (HSU) in Hamburg.

About the Challenge

Are you ready to make a difference?

The aim of the idea challenge is to enhance creativity, openness and knowledge exchange between students, makers, labs, engineers, designers, and other technology developers irrespective of their technological proficiencies. Moreover, Make A Difference will provide an opportunity for nine (9) selected participants from around the world to develop their ideas into physical product by visiting our fabrication laboratory (OLab Hamburg) for a weeklong development workshop. Lastly, Make A Difference includes the chance to utilize the full potential of FabLabs, increasing the visibility of FabLabs, as well as taking the first practical steps to foster a twinning strategy between all innovation stakeholders.

What are we looking for?

Make A Difference will be focused on ideas that provide solutions that are of social and ecological impact. The following are the focus areas of this year’s challenge:

  • Needs of Refugees
  • Health
  • Education
  • Ecological sustainability

Judging Criterion

All submissions will be rated by the community using a fair and safe online voting functionality. We reserve us the right to prevent voting anomalies and cheating.


All finalists will receive:

  • Trip to Hamburg
  • Accommodation
  • Prototyping materials resources

Other prizes include:

  • 3D Printer
  • (More prizes will be updated soon)



  1. Your submission must be relevant for at least one of the focus areas of the challenge (i.e. Demands of refugees, Health, Education, and Ecological sustainability).
  2. Openness: Make A Difference will be based on the creative commons licence. Therefore, you must be willing to be open and share your idea with other technology enthusiasts.
  3. Novelty: Ideas Submitted to Make A Difference must be new. Is the submission for a new product development or a new process to an existing product?
  4. Your submission should match the supported formats. The upload format are: sketches (png or jpg of 2MB), 3D models, videos (maximum size of 10MB and in mp4 format).
  5. Your submission must be accompanied by a one page description (doc or pdf) of your idea/design, outlining what your idea does; how it solves the identified problem, how it provides social or ecological values, and how you envision it been manufactured in the FabLab.
  6. Your submission must also include a picture of your idea as well as a summary of your idea/design. This will be needed for the preliminary evaluation phase by the community.


  • 1

    Call for submission

    27/03/2017 – 30/06/2017

  • 2

    Submission Deadline


  • 3

    Preliminary Evaluation

    03/07/2017 - 28/07/2017

  • 4

    Final Evaluation

    31/07/2017 – 14/08/2017

  • 5

    Finalists announcement


  • 6

    Development workshop

    06/11/2017 - 10/11/2017

Selection Criteria

The selection criteria for the idea challenge are as follows:

  • Impact level
  • Creativity
  • Manufacturability in a FabLab
  • Affordability
  • Accessibility
For more information go to the selection criteria page.

Tell your projects awesome story.

The faces behind MAKE a difference

Tobias Redlich is member of the AGYA Innovation Working Group, Head of OpenLab Hamburg and senior researcher at HSU.

Jens Wulfsberg is Head of the Institute of Production Engineering at HSU

Babasile Daniel is a member of OpenLab Hamburg, and a PhD candidate at the Institute for Production Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies at HSU.

Bashar Ibrahim is an AGYA member. He is a scientist with vast experience in molecular biology, medicine and computational modeling.

Sonja Buxbaum-Conradi is a member of the OpenLab Hamburg and an interdisciplinary research fellow at HSU.