Applications are now open for the Call for Code Global Challenge.
Call for Code
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Closing Date : July 31 2021, Saturday


In the Call for Code Global Challenge, you can join the fight against climate change by building and deploying open source solutions in the cloud. By participating, you’ll build critical skills for yourself and your teams and deploy solutions to help communities across the globe.

The 2021 Call for Code Global Challenge is a competition that asks developers to build sustainable open source solutions that address the world’s greatest humanitarian issues. This year the competition will focus on solutions that help halt and reverse the impact of climate change, with a focus on the following sub-categories: clean water & sanitation, zero hunger, and responsible production & green consumption.

Focus Areas

According to the United Nations, “The impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.” Given the far-reaching and devastating effects of climate change, they have divided the 2021 Global Challenge into three sub-themes:

  • Clean water and sanitation: Water is the natural resource that is most threatened by climate change and is a prerequisite for life on earth. According to the World Health Organization, 2.2 billion people around the world do not have safely managed drinking water services, 4.2 billion people do not have safely managed sanitation services, and 3 billion people lack basic handwashing facilities. These services are critical in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases. Even in areas that have these services, there are vast inequalities in the accessibility, availability, and quality of the services. 
  • Zero hunger: Approximately 9 percent of the global population is suffering from hunger. And, much of the world’s food is grown by small-scale, independent farms and distributed through local community cooperatives who sell the surplus produce. The co-ops are a central point for quality control, deliveries, and enabling food commodity markets. However, these co-ops face a myriad of logistical challenges to get the right food to the right places with minimal time and cost.
  • Responsible production and green consumption: Worldwide consumption and production drives the global economy, yet the current use of natural resources is unsustainable. The global material footprint rose nearly 18 percent from?73?billion metric tons in 2010 to 85.9 billion metric tons in 2017, the UN reports.  That’s why Sustainable Development Goal 12 aims to achieve economic growth, sustainable development, and reduce their ecological footprint by changing the way they produce and consume goods and resources. 


  • Global Challenge
    • Grand prize winner – $200,000 USD
      • Dispersed equally across the team and solution deployment support
    • Runners up
      • First and second – $25,000 USD
      • Third and fourth – $10,000 USD
  • University Challenge
    • Grand prize – $10,000 USD
      • Each student team member will receive the opportunity to interview for a potential role at IBM.
    • Runners up
      • Each student team member will receive the opportunity to interview for a potential role at IBM.
  • Regional prizes
    • Grand prize – $5,000 USD
      • Dispersed equally across the team


  • Submissions: Must use one or more IBM Cloud services or IBM Systems. Use of sponsor or affiliate APIs and open source libraries is also encouraged.
  • Team size: Teams of up to five (5) participants, each at least 18 years old, are allowed.
  • Joining teams: A participant may not be part of multiple teams.
  • University students: Teams competing for the University Challenge must ensure that all team members are enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education.
  • Participation agreement: All team members must have accepted the 2021 Participation Agreement at the time they submit their solution to be eligible. (You accept the Participation Agreement when you register for the Global Challenge.)
  • Application: Must be new and built for the 2021 competition, but they may use code that was open sourced and publicly available to all other participants as of March 22, 2021.
  • Winners: Winning teams will be subject to a code review after submissions close.

Eligibility Criteria

  • All developers, designers, data scientists, and entrepreneurs who are over the age of 18 or the age of majority in their jurisdiction, whichever is greater. Employees of IBM, Red Hat, DCC, and governmental agencies are not eligible to participate. All participants must accept the terms of the Participation Agreement upon submission.
  • This contest is void to residents of US Embargoed countries and is void wherever restricted by, without limitations, filing or registration requirements or is otherwise prohibited or restricted by law. In addition, employees, employers, officers and directors of:
    • IBM Group, including Red Hat
    • government agencies, departments, branches, instrumentalities and public enterprises, whether regional, national or local
    • any advertising and promotion agencies, and those individuals and entities involved in the preparation of materials for, administration, organization (including David Clark Cause) and/or execution of this event and/or this Contest (all collectively the “Promotion Entities”), and, and
    • the immediate family members (defined as parents, children, siblings and spouse, including step and foster relations) regardless of where they reside, and/or individuals living in the same household (whether or not related) of any of the Promotion Entities are not eligible to participate in the Contest. Prior to registering for the Event, each participant, whether individually or as part of a team, must ensure that he/she is in compliance with any employment or other contract to which he/she is a party on issues such as, but not limited to, eligibility to participate, intellectual property and acceptance of prizes. University or college students employed by their educational institution for part-time work, through work-study programs or otherwise, are eligible to participate in the Contest. IBM Group includes IBM Corporation and any legal entity and the subsidiaries it owns by more than 50 percent. It also includes Red Hat Inc. and all its subsidiaries.

Judging Criteria

Submissions will be judged equally across four primary criteria, which evaluate whether the solution solves a real-world problem and uses technology effectively.

  • Completeness and transferability: How fully has the idea been implemented? Can it achieve an impact in the field? Can it be transferred elsewhere?
  • Effectiveness and efficiency: Does the solution address a high-priority area? Does it achieve its goal effectively and efficiently? Can it scale?
  • Design and usability: How good are the design, user experience, and ease of use of the solution? How quickly can it be put to use?
  • Creativity and innovation: How unique was the approach to solving a long-standing or previously intractable problem?

For more information, visit IBM.