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Airbus: Unprecedented participation from students worldwide to innovate the way we fly

A record 5,499 students from around the world registered to participate in the fifth edition of Airbus’ Fly Your Ideas, the global student challenge organised in partnership with UNESCO.

A record 5,499 students from around the world registered to participate in the fifth edition of Airbus’ Fly Your Ideas, the global student challenge organised in partnership with UNESCO.

A group of 60 Airbus experts and innovators assessed the ideas submitted by 356 teams from 89 countries. The rigorous evaluation process took place at four different Airbus locations in France, Germany, Spain and the UK, with 50 student teams selected to reach Round Two of the competition, starting in January 2017.


The competition is led by teams registered in the Asia-Pacific region. The 50 teams comprise 202 students representing 38 different nationalities. With 52% of teams mixing male and female students, two thirds of all teams are diverse in some way, for example with members coming from different countries or studying different subjects. This reflects Airbus’ commitment to diversity which it sees as an essential driver for innovation and success.

Innovative ideas from the 50 chosen teams include robotic luggage trolleys, passenger seats which can be boarded outside the aircraft, new solutions for energy harvesting and virtual reality applications.

“Fly Your Ideas is unique and we are proud of the company-wide engagement of Airbus employees who support the competition, either as assessors, mentors or experts,” says Charles Champion, Airbus Executive Vice President Engineering. “We are offering students the rare opportunity to interact directly with senior specialists from across the business. In turn, these experts will benefit from their direct interaction with talents from across the globe, all sharing the same passion for one of the world’s most exciting industries.”

Each of the teams has 100 days to refine and develop their ideas. The top five teams to make it through to Round Three will spend a week at the “ProtoSpace” based at the Airbus HQ in Toulouse to prototype, test and visualise their ideas using state-of-the art equipment with personalised guidance from Airbus. The winning team will receive a €30,000 prize, the runner up team €15,000, at a live prize giving event in May 2017.

Key figures Fly Your Ideas 2017:

• Number of ideas submitted: 356
o Number of countries involved: 89 (85 different nationalities)
o Number of universities involved: 348
o Top 5 countries: India – 64 teams, Mainland China & HK – 44 teams, Spain – 29 teams, Indonesia – 24 teams, United Kingdom – 20 teams
o Gender mix: 51% of teams are mixed gender
• Number of ideas chosen: 50
o Number of countries involved: 41 (38 different nationalities)
o Number of universities involved: 57
o Top 5 countries: Mainland China & HK – 9 teams, Singapore – 5 teams, United Kingdom – 4 teams, Australia – 3 teams, Indonesia – 3 teams
o Gender mix: 52 % of teams are mixed gender

Fly Your Ideas competition – since the 2008 launch:

• 5 competitions in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017
• Partnership with UNESCO since 2012
• More than 100 countries represented
• Over 650 universities supporting
• More than 20,000 students registered
• Over 400 Airbus staff involved
• 1,900+ ideas submitted