SUSTAINABLE BUILD Innovation Challenge FAQ

About the application process

What type of innovations are we looking for?
SUSTAINABLE BUILD is looking for projects and innovations globally that can provide solutions to the Innovation Challenge. The solutions can be either stand-alone projects, or an innovative way of integrating existing solutions. In addition, we seek solutions for both existing and future buildings and for all phases, i.e. across concept, design, construction, operation, and renovation. Your innovation can be a new type of platform, system, process, method, business model, product, material, component – or something completely different! See our Innovation Challenge 2020 for further specifications.

Who can participate?

The Innovation Challenge is open to all sectors – we welcome applications from the construction industry and beyond.

We are interested in projects and innovations from early stage towards implementation/rollout/commercialisation with the potential to significantly impact sustainable lives.

It is a global call to action, so we encourage innovators from all around the world to apply.

How can I participate?

You can apply by following the link below:

Application to Innovation Challenge 2020

Why should I participate?

If your innovation is selected, you will get access to the SUSTAINABLE BUILD partners and network, giving you the opportunity to collaborate on your project with leading experts, companies and organisations within the built environment.You will get:

  • Access to the SUSTAINABLE BUILD Accelerator Forum from April 21-23, 2020, where your project or innovation will be the focus for collaboration with partners and the other innovators.
  • The opportunity to test your project in selected pilot projects in collaboration with SUSTAINABLE BUILD partners and network.
  • Ongoing support before, during and after the SUSTAINABLE BUILD Accelerator Forum.
  • Individual presentation especially for the Accelerator Forum made in collaboration with the SUSTAINABLE BUILD team.
  • A personal video of you and your project – which will also be available at

At Accelerator Forum, you will get counselling from the SUSTAINABLE BUILD Council members specifically chosen for this year’s theme and based on the chosen innovators. Following the Accelerator Forum, innovators will become part of a further Accelerating process, that facilitate access to – and realisation of – the opportunities identified at Accelerator Forum.

Participation in the SUSTAINABLE BUILD Innovation Challenge can therefore help mature your innovation and open the door to new opportunities.

What are the selection criteria?

The SUSTAINABLE BUILD team, and experts will review and select all applications from a line of criterions. Your application will be judged on the following:

  • How big a potential for change your innovation has within its focus area.
  • To what degree your innovation can contribute to a positive environmental impact in the construction industry
  • To which extend your innovation can better the social impact within buildings and make a better life for the residents and users.
  • Your innovations technical feasibility understood as its ability to become part of a market from a technical perspective.
  • Your innovations access to the market, understood as your knowledge about strategy, market and the costumers ascribed to it.
  • A holistic perspective, where it is visible how your innovation has a holistic approach towards the build environment and the user experience.

Is my intellectual property safe if I participate?

You will retain all rights to your innovation.  All submissions are confidential and will not be publicly available. However, if your innovation is selected, you do need to accept a degree of openness, so that the SUSTAINABLE BUILD Innovation Group members can understand and support your innovation.

The only terms and condition you are required to commit to as part of your application are:

  • That the organisers of SUSTAINABLE BUILD will use the data and information I have provided to review and process my application for participation in the Innovation Challenge, and only for this purpose.
  • That I grant the organisers of the SUSTAINABLE BUILD Innovation Challenge the right to share and distribute my submission materials to the SUSTAINABLE BUILD Innovation Group members for review purposes only.
  • That I retain full rights over my intellectual property.
  • That I recognise that submitting information and content to the SUSTAINABLE BUILD Innovation Challenge does not in any way constitute a commercial or other contractual relation with anyone, either Challenge participants, partners or organisers.

Does SUSTAINABLE BUILD have any shares

No, SUSTAINABLE BUILD is a non-equity innovation program. We do not gain a financial profit from submitted innovations, nor do we take financial stake in any person, company or organisation that submits their innovation to us.

I have more than one innovation, what can I do?

You are welcome to submit more than one innovation per person, team or organisation as long as you submit them individually.

In which language can I submit my application?

It is possible to apply in either English or Danish.

What happens after I submit my application?

Once you’ve submitted your application, the SUSTAINABLE BUILD team and experts will review your submission.

If an initial fit exists between your innovation and the partnership, we will be in touch to arrange a video conference call to get to know each other better.

Subsequently, a final round of reviewing will be done by the partners in SUSTAINABLE BUILD. If you are then selected as one of our best innovators of 2020, you will get invited to join our innovation program.

When will I know if I am among the selected innovators?

If you are selected as one of our top 10 innovators, you will know by mid-March.

Are there any financial costs?

No, there is no application fee, and no costs associated with the selection process, aside from the investment of your time. However, should you be selected, we do not cover costs for your participation in the Accelerator Forum days in Copenhagen, meaning you are responsible for your own transport and stay.

About the innovation program

Where does the innovation program take place?

The innovation challenge and acceleration program take place in Copenhagen, Denmark, where you’ll be invited for the main acceleration event called ‘SUSTAINABLE BUILD Accelerator Forum’, and for the following Advisory Board meeting with selected pioneering companies ready to help you.
In Denmark there is a high demand for innovation and new ways of thinking. Denmark is therefore a country that gives the optimal conditions and framework for innovative solutions in both the built industry and the urban environment.
Danish Architecture Center (DAC) and Leaderlab, the facilitators of the program, are both located in BLOXHUB: the Nordic hub for sustainable urbanization, and brings together companies, innovators, and researchers to co-create a better future. The community facilitates businesses in the field of livability, sustainable buildings, architechture, design, circular economy and more.

How long is the innovation program?

The innovation program runs from March till June.
If you are selected as one of the top 10 innovators, you will need to set extra time aside from March till the SUSTAINABLE BUILD Accelerator Forum on the 21nd-23rd April and in the following weeks.

How much time will I need to invest in the innovation program?

Once you are invited to join, you are expected to make a 100% commitment to being on-site for the SUSTAINABLE BUILD Accelerator Forum April 21st-23rd, 2020, in Denmark, set time aside for before Forum to making the presentation, and set time aside in the following weeks after the Forum to do follow up on the attained leads.

Which activities will I need to participate in?

April 21st, 2020, is the Preparation Day. The purpose of this day is to refine and rehearse your presentation and performance in a peer-review-format together with the SUSTAINABLE BUILD team and the other innovators. You will have a personal facilitator helping you maximize your output from the Forum.
Your presentation will set the basis for the impact rotations where you will get individual time with the Council to talk about your innovation and how best to scale it.
The SUSTAINABLE BUILD Accelerator Forum is from April 22nd-23rd, 2020. This event is two high-pace days, where you will engage with the Council consisting of pioneering partners, experts, public and private decision-makers. The Council joining the Forum is carefully selected and curated to help you on your journey.
Forum day 1 is centered around on your presentations and on gathering as many commitments, connections, and leads as possible. Forum day 2 is centered around co-designing and building your roadmap for the future.
During the Forum, each innovator will have an assigned facilitator who will help you push the Council to give you as many commitments to help you as possible. You will also have an assigned notetaker, who will help you keep track of all the commitments made by the Council.
The final activity in your innovation program is the Advisory Board in May. Here selected members of our network will help you build the foundation for the future.

Which language is used during the program?

During the program, you can speak both Danish and English. Our Innovation Challenge is global, which is why it is recommended to speak english for maximal output. Specially with during the Acceleration Forum and preparations for it.

What happens after the Accelerator Forum?

After the Forum, the tailored follow-up and engagement phase will begin in the months immediately following the Forum (May-June).
Based on the commitments and leads from the Forum, you will get an Action Plan, and we will help you prioritize your efforts. The SUSTAINALBE BUILD team will then, based on this, follow-up and facilitate the commitments that were made towards you by the Council at the Forum.
While the immediate follow-up will take place right after the Forum, we also know that development timelines are different for each innovator. We will, therefore, be ready to re-engage you with relevant stakeholders as your innovation matures over the months that follow.
Furthermore, you will be helped by an Advisory Board in May (you can join physically or via online call).


What is the SUSTAINABLE BUILD Innovation Challenge 2020?

Read more about our Innovation Challenge 2020


SUSTAINABLE BUILD is a collaboration between Central Region Denmark, Henning Larsen ArchitectsNCC, Pension Denmark and Tarkett. SUSTAINABLE BUILD is created in close collaboration with various actors from the building industry such as manufacturers, suppliers, builders, architects, knowledge institutions and government organisations.

The purpose of SUSTAINABLE BUILD is to create growth in sustainable buildings. We help strengthen the competitiveness of sustainable solutions and scale new sustainable products and business models through cross-industry collaboration.

SUSTAINABLE BUILD is supported by The Danish Industry FoundationGI (The Landowners’ Investment Foundation), and is operated by Danish Architecture Center and Leaderlab.

Who facilitates SUSTAINABLE BUILD?

The partnership and innovation program are facilitated by Danish Architecture Center (DAC) and Leaderlab. Together, we each contribute with something unique to the project and its processes. DAC with its long-running position in, and knowledge about the industry. Leaderlab with its specialization in facilitating global partnerships and accelerator programs.

How is the SUSTAINABLE BUILD project founded?

SUSTAINABLE BUILD 2018-2020 is funded by The Danish Industry Foundation and GI (The Landowners’ Investment Foundation) and the Founding Partners: NCC, Central Region Denmark, Henning Larsen Architects, Tarkett & Pension Danmark, along with the Resource Partners: Frøslev Træ, Kalk, Outrup & Stark.

It is furthermore supported by in kind hours and knowledge from a number of Community Partners. See all of our partners here.


How can I stay informed during the process?

Once you submit an application, we will keep you updated by email on the selection process. So make sure to type in the correct email address.

For general updates and information sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of the page.

You can also join our LinkedIn group or follow our Twitter account.

I have other questions

If you have other questions, you are more than welcome to ask us directly at: