Challenge Based Innovation

Solving societal challenges by connecting curious restless minds with CERN's open science.

Our goal

Bring together university students to address societal challenges in the spirit of open science and open innovation, inspired by CERN and its experts, to create solutions that contribute towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Where we fit

CBI is  hosted at  IdeaSquare , CERN’s open innovation lab and makerspace. The purpose of the space is to bring together people to generate new ideas and work on prototypes related to detection, imaging and other technologies.

Built on collaboration

This programme works on the basis of collaboration with universities. Together we create the curriculum, methodologies and timeframe of each programme. Therefore, CBI does not exist on its own, only through collaboration, which makes it a very diverse programme in constant change.

How we make it happen

Firstly, educators co-create a CBI programme with the CBI team, in IdeaSquare. After this edition’s goals and methodologies are defined, teams of students join the programme. Students are CBI’s main actors, as they are the ones developing

projects that are inspired by CERN science and that address Sustainable Development Goals. The student teams interact with CERN experts, that help them better connect their projects with CERN science and technology.

On-going CBI programmes

Several editions of CBI happen in parallel, as every year different universities collaborate with the CBI team in IdeaSquare to create and develop CBI programmes.


As part of their curriculum, CBI programmes visit IdeaSquare, which gives the student teams a chance to work in CERN, be inspired by its science and meet CERN experts in order to develop their projects further.

Prototyping facilities

We have several prototyping rooms, such as a 3D printer room, electroshop, machine shop and light room.

Talks and workshops

These activities are planned with each CBI organizing universities. We have hosted a large variety of speakers from our network, from physicists, designers, to sustainability specialists.

Exchange with other CBI's

The CBI visits to IdeaSquare are usually planned to have several CBI programes working here at the same time. We call these events CBI Jams. They provides the opportunity for a richer exchange of knowledge and cultures.