International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies

News release – 2011 Number 17

Global academic challenge launched to promote innovation and jobs worldwide


Geneva, Switzerland, 2011-10-27 – IEC and IEEE announce US$45,000 Global Academic Challenge to examine the impact of electrotechnology and inspire the next generation of innovation.



Electrotechnology impacts every aspect of our daily lives through businesses, societies, the environment and our interaction with each other. However this impact has rarely been reflected upon by academic institutions.


To stimulate the debate around this integral issue, IEC, which publishes global technical guidelines that allow millions of devices and systems to work together safely, and IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional association, are launching “The Challenge.”


The Challenge invites academic institutions worldwide to submit and debate research that explores the wide range of sociological, political, economic, and environmental benefits provided by electrotechnology.


The world’s academicians and universities will compete for US$45,000 in prize money, which will be awarded to first-, second- and third-place winners at a special awards ceremony in Oslo, Norway, in October 2012. The Challenge will be to identify, analyze and debate why and how electrotechnology influences economic, social and environmental development, and the impact of broadly accepted standards.


“The Challenge is a really exciting opportunity for us to reflect on the last 100 years of electrotechnological innovation, which has seen more inventions produced than in the history of mankind,” IEC CEO and General Secretary Ronnie Amit said. “We are appealing to the leading academic thinkers from the spheres of science, engineering, economics and beyond to demonstrate how electrotechnology has shaped and influenced how we live, work and conduct business today. We are urging the academic community to discuss such questions as: What role will electrotechnology potentially play in our future and how can it help solve some of our global challenges?”


The submissions will be judged by a highly distinguished panel: Jacques Régis, former CEO of Hydro Quebec, Montréal, Canada, and IEC Immediate Past President; Dr. Moshe Kam, Department Head, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Drexel University, and 2011 IEEE President; and Paul Markillie, Innovation Editor, The Economist.


“Electrotechnology innovation builds on a platform of universally accepted technical rules and specifications, which enable companies to do business more efficiently on a global scale.” IEEE Executive Director James Prendergast said. “The global economy is increasingly complex and competitive, and companies need to comply with ever-stricter environmental and other regulations. It needs a common set of rules to allow companies to build products that can be exported easily and efficiently to many countries and provide governments with the means to measure and compare the performance and safety of devices. ”


Notes to editors: Website and full rules are contained here: Challenge rules


Timeline: Registration for The Challenge officially opens today at a ceremony in Melbourne, Australia. The deadline for final registration is midnight, March 1, 2012 (UTC)


Entry Process: Submissions must be completed by July 1, 2012 via exclusively.


Prize money: Total of $45 000


1st Prize: $20 000
2nd Prize: $15 000
3rd Prize: $10 000


Content:  Papers can include a large range of topics,  including: fundamental research and development; energy efficiency and climate change motivation; energy security;  public health; roll-out of renewable and Smart Grids; waste management; environmental preservation; case studies where electrotechnology and standardization helped solve real-world challenges; economic growth and GDP; R&D; laws and regulations; safety of populations; technology transfer and information exchange; corporate efficiency and competitiveness; ability to innovate and export.


Who is eligible to participate?  The IEC-IEEE Challenge is open to all persons affiliated with an Academic Institution that offers post-graduate study programmes. These include members and heads of faculty, professors, lecturers, post-graduate students, teaching and research staff.





About the IEC

The IEC is the world's leading organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies – collectively known as “electrotechnology.”  It brings together 163 countries and close to 10 000 experts on the global level. IEC International Standards include globally relevant specifications and metrics that allow electric or electronic devices to work efficiently and safely with each other anywhere in the world. IEC work covers a vast range of technologies from power generation, transmission and distribution to home appliances and office equipment, batteries, nanotechnology, renewable energy, to mention just a few. The IEC supports all forms of conformity assessment and manages Conformity Assessment Systems that certify that equipment, systems or components conform to its International Standards.

About IEEE

IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional association with over 400 000 members, is dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. As part of its activities, IEEE has an extensive standards development programme with a portfolio of over 900 active standards and more than 500 standards under development.



For further information please contact:



Gabriela Ehrlich
Mob: +41 79 600 56 72
Email: Gabriela Ehrlich
Skype: gabriela.ehrlich



Andy Johnson
Tel: +44 207 395 7194
Mob: +44 7894 788 347
Email: Andy Johnson



Thomas D. Pagano
Tel: +1 314 982 1702
Mob: +1 314 602 7549
Email: Thomas D. Pagano


Vivian Kelly, for IEEE
Tel: +1 703 860 0577
Mob: +1 703 509 5412
Email: Vivian Kelly



News release 2011-17

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