Press release

Students innovate to save the world in the fourth Raspberry Pi competition

29 September 2021

PA Consulting announced the theme of the fourth Raspberry Pi school competition today. VMBO, HAVO, VWO and MBO students compete in teams and use a Raspberry Pi computer to develop an invention that solves a social problem. This year, with the theme of “Innovating to save the world”, the participating teams are tackling one of the greatest challenges of our time: sustainability.

The Netherlands is already seeing more evidence of climate change: higher temperatures, more precipitation, shifts in growing and breeding seasons. These changes will only increase - or can we save the climate with a healthy dose of innovation and technology?

Turn engagement into action

“Our annual Raspberry Pi competition aims to get students excited about technology by challenging them to develop inventions that benefit society. The ingenuity they show and what they can create using a Raspberry Pi microcomputer is remarkable. With the Raspberry Pi competition, we offer a space to develop that ingenuity”, says Mark Griep, head of PA Consulting Netherlands, which organizes the competition in the Netherlands along with House of Digital.

Unlike previous years, the theme this year was not only decided by PA, but also by the students themselves. Through various channels, including social media polls, students were asked which themes were close to the hearts of students. Important answers were given, such as social inequality or visionary ideas such as space tourism. But sustainability won by a wide margin.

“The responses show that today's younger generations may be the most engaged ever,” said Ernst Brand, public sector expert at PA Consulting. “With this competition, we want to give them the tools and skills to actually turn that social engagement into action. And we do that every year with great pleasure - and success, because the inventions are always of a very high standard.”

The competition is deceptively simple: create an innovative solution to a social problem with a Raspberry Pi computer. In the first year of the competition, students were challenged to improve people's well-being. The second year was dedicated to Smart Cities & Mobility. Over the last year, the competition made young people think about what the world could look like after all the corona lockdowns.

Sustainability is now central. Especially after the UN's recent IPCC report, which declared a 'code red for humanity', it is more important than ever that we use every ounce of ingenuity to keep the earth livable for us and future generations.

Third time lucky

The first year of the competition consisted of a number of physical meetings, including a festive final in the Johan Cruijff ArenA. Unfortunately, corona has thrown a spanner in the works for the past two years, so that the competition mainly took place digitally.

That created additional obstacles. “All the lockdowns and distance-limiting measures have created additional challenges in recent years,” says Ton Paffen, programme manager at House of Digital. “I am really proud of the young people who have come up with great inventions despite those extra obstacles. If the corona period has made something clear to us, it is that ICT is an important resource. Young people who join forces and combine ICT with ingenuity can really make a difference for Mother Earth in her race against time.”

After two remote years, PA hopes to give the competition an in person element again this year. Brand: “The Raspberry Pi competition should be an innovation party. Although online meetings and remote working are of course also innovative, we would like to restore a physical element for the participating teams this year to really celebrate the results together.”

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