AI and sustainability
A contest to identify the advantages and disadvantages of using AI today.

The future of science is being shaped by today’s students and curious young scientists.

It is therefore only consistent that we promote active, controversial and transparent dialogue with and between young scientists and established experts in order to sustainably link innovation and knowledge transfer and thus shape our future.

Together with Berlin Science Week and the media platform, we are calling on all curious and critical young scientists and students to take part in the “AI and Sustainability” competition.

Apply on the topic “Hidden AI” and win a prominent publication and promotion of your own contribution on the media platform, exclusive participation at the networking event on 03.11.2023 at the Berlin Science Week Campus and an appearance at the Speaker’s Corner Spot on 03.11.2023 at the Museum für Naturkunde.

When we are talking about artificial intelligence (AI), many people imagine a future in where this technology fundamentally changes the way we live and work. But AI is already in everyday use, often without us even realizing it. AI applications are hidden behind smartphone autocorrect, social media friend suggestions, personalized insurance quotes, bank lending decisions and online retailers’ dynamic pricing. These applications bring many benefits to users and businesses. But their risks should not be underestimated. Moreover, AI algorithms themselves are often described as “black boxes” – their decision-making processes and the criteria for making certain predictions are not transparent, even to their developers.

What demonstrable consequences does “Hidden AI” have for the social, ecological and/or economic dimensions of our society?

With this competition, we want to focus on the hidden applications and functionalities of AI. We are looking forward to texts that explore the following questions: Where are AI applications already being used unnoticed in everyday life and practice? In which cases are the functionalities of algorithms indistinct? What are the potential dangers for users and those affected by these applications? And what social, economic, or ecological consequences can be proven or expected as a result of Hidden AI?

Who can participate?

  • Bachelor’s and Master’s students from various disciplines
  • young scientists
  • individuals or teams can apply

Why apply:

  • all authors will receive professional feedback on the submitted works
  • the top three works will be published on the media platform and will receive a personalized DOI (DIGITAL OBJECT IDENTIFIER)
  • the authors of the best three papers will receive exclusive access to the networking event on November 3rd at the Berlin Science Week Campus
  • the best contribution will get a slot at the Speakers´ Corner at the Museum für Naturkunde
  • through the project communication of all partners, the three best works will gain wide visibility

What can be submitted: 

  • written-out contributions that have not yet been published
  • scientific papers based on facts and empirical data that deal in a well-founded way with a relevant aspect of the competition topic

 The work can be submitted in the following format:

  • German- and English-language texts can be submitted, possibly enriched with graphics, drawings or photographs (embedded in the text)
  • submission is only possible in PDF format
  • the contributions can be written in (scientific) journalistic, essayistic, literary or hybrid style
  • the topic should be clearly stated
  • the names as well as contacts and institutions of the participants are required
  • the texts should not exceed a length of 15,000 characters (including spaces)

Application deadline: September 22, 2023, 6:00 PM to

Due to numerous inquiries, the application deadline has been extended till 3.10.2023, 23:59.

The results of the competition will be announced via email by October 15, 2023.

A panel of independent experts will judge the top three entries. The main criteria will be

  • Relevance
  • Scientificity
  • Accessibility for a non-specialist but interested audience
  • Connection to social issues
  • Content structure

Finalists will be contacted separately to translate their work into a presentation and publication format.

The winners’ work will be published during Berlin Science Week, from 1 to 10 November 2023. 

Our jury 2023:

Eva von Grafenstein, specialist editor for the “AI and Sustainability” channel

Dr. Luiza Bengtsson, Head of Berlin Science Week

Marcus Röper, Expert on KI at Birds on Mars 

Benjamin Brake, Head of Digital- und Data-Policy Unit, BMDV

Dr. Isabella Hermann, Political scientist, analyst and speaker in the field of science fiction

To the call for entries

E-mail for all questions:


About our partner: is a new digital medium for open science and civil discourse that curates, publishes and discusses scientific contributions in deep thematic channels. As a non-profit platform, aims to bring together people from different professions and walks of life through innovative forms of participation and collaboration to make science more accessible. This platform invites deep engagement with complex yet highly charged issues at the intersection of research and society – and rethinks digital debates.

Berlin Science Week: Every year, between 1.–10. November, Berlin becomes a nexus for celebrating scientific excellence, knowledge and discovery, and promoting innovative exchange. We bring together more than 500 speakers, over 150 organisations and an audience exceeding 20,000 during the ten festival days.

The festival combines in person formats throughout Berlin with online and hybrid events. Our focus is on exchange and reflection: the programme is based on interactive and often interdisciplinary formats ranging from panel discussions, workshops, exhibitions, to VR-experiences, film screenings, music installations and much more. Internationally renowned scientists and institutions contribute to topic tracks reflecting the current challenges and debates in science and society.