The Fellowship Annual Competition 2018:


What is DREAM NEOM Challenge?

  • A collaboration between Misk – with NEOM, the world’s most ambitious project, this challenge will bring together Misk fellows to tackle the challenges faced by NEOM with innovative solutions. 
  • NEOM is short for ‘New Future’. It salutes the dawning of a new era. It captures a new future, unrivalled in concept and unmatched in imagination and intelligence. NEOM is the world’s first independent special zone spanning three countries. It is set to become a new vibrant destination located in North-Western Saudi Arabia. 
  • NEOM is Expected to emerge as a leading global hub that heralds the future of human civilization by offering its inhabitants an idyllic lifestyle set against a backdrop of a community founded on modern architecture, lush green spaces, quality of life, safety, and technology in the service of humanity paired with excellent economic opportunities. 
  • NEOM seeks to attract top quality talent from around the world to push the boundaries of innovation like never before, and drive the growth of this zone and its residents. Participants will be asked to: come up with innovative, transformative and sustainable solutions solve one of the following challenges in NEOM’s key economic sectors:

Why it is important to participate?

Contributing to the development of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Getting exposure and national recognition

Building your capabilities & knowledge sharing


Having a chance to win a financial award!!

Key NEOM Challenges

Participants will have to pick one of the challenges below and work on solving it according to the timeline & stages

Card image


    1. How can you incorporate the latest thinking in sustainability into the design of the city?
    2. Following the best practices of sustainability often lead to higher costs of construction and operations, how can you balance having the most sustainable city in the world with also have the most affordable to live and work?
    3. How do you design the first net negative C02 emission place in the world?
Card image


    1. How can you build the city of the future while protecting the environment?
    2. How should the region govern the protection of the environment before, during and after construction?
    3. How can you minimize the waste of food in the city?
Card image

King Salman Bridge

    1. How do you design and construct a bridge that spans over 15 kilometers and goes over water that is in excess if 1,800 meters deep?
Card image

Renewable Energy and Water

    1. How do you provide a city with 100% renewable energy, taking into consideration storage and the distance of transmission lines from the source to the demand?
    2. How can we provide the lowest water desal price globally?
    3. How can we create a zero-brine solution for desal?
    4. How can you maximize the reuse of water within the city (household and industrial)?
    5. How can you provide the cleanest waste treatment in the world?
Card image


    1. How do you integrate wellness into a future living lifestyle?
    2. What are the top three to four healthcare challenges that NEOM should focus on, and why?
Card image


    1. How do you design a city without cars?
    2. What would the airline and the airport of the future look like?
    3. How can you improve the experience of long-distance travel?
Card image


    1. What human tasks can robots replace and how?
    2. What are the toughest physical tasks for robots to replace and the solution for the replacement?
    3. How do you maximize the use of data while balance the concerns for privacy?
Card image


    1. How can NEOM design the best university in the world and attract top talents?
Card image


    1. How can you get future NEOM citizens involved in the design of the city so they have the opportunity to design their house the way they want?

What is the competition Structure & Timeline?


Ideation & Registration

31 October – 15 November

Judging round 1- Selection of Ideas

Start-Connect-Learn Workshop

20-21 January

Proposal creation

22 January-21 February

Judging round 2- Selection of Proposals

24 February- 7 march

Prototype building

10 March-4 April

Competition day 

13 April
Card image

1st stage

31 October – 15 November

Ideation & Registration

  • All interested applicants should register by filling the participation application
  • All registered applicants will participate in the competition
  • If an applicant has submitted an idea and it was selected by the first judging round, then the idea will move to further stages
  • If an applicant has not submitted an idea or his/her idea wasn’t selected by the first judging round, then the applicant will join a team in the third stage
Card image

2nd stage

16 November

Judging round 1- Selection of Ideas

  • Judging committee will choose top ideas to be taken further in the next stages
  • The owners of the winning ideas will be notified by email
  • Each idea owner will be the assigned team leader who will form his/her team during the workshop in the next stage
Card image

3rd stage

12-13 January

Start-Connect-Learn Workshop

    All participants will be asked to attend a 2-day workshop to:
  • Start: Idea owners will start forming their teams, agreeing on team norms, brainstorming, and planning for the next stages.
  • Connect: a great opportunity to network with other participants.
  • Learn: Training sessions & NEOM knowledge sessions will be offered to all participants with beneficial learning material that can be used during the work in the next stages.
Card image

4th stage

14 January- 7 February

Proposal creation

  • All teams will be asked to submit proposals
  • The proposal details will be announced later
  • Deadline of proposals submission: 7 February, 2018
Card image

5th stage

8 February

Judging round 2- Selection of Proposals

  • Judging committee will choose top proposals
  • The teams of the winning proposals will be notified by email
  • The teams of the selected proposals will compete in the finals
Card image

6th stage

3 March- 31 March

Porotype building

  • All finalist teams will be asked to develop the prototype
  • The prototype details will be announced later
Card image

7th stage

4 April

Competition day

  • All finalist teams will present their final presentations
  • The presentation details will be announced later
  • 3 winners will be selected

What would I get if I win?



If I registered in the competition, is it mandatory to participate in all stages?

Yes. By registration you confirm your commitment to participate and be present for all required stages. 

Can anyone participate in this competition?

No as the participation is by-invitation only.

Can I submit the idea as a team?

Submissions of ideas should be done individually. However, working on the later stages must be done within a team.

Who owns the intellectual property?

The theme of this competition is “giving back”. It’s from the youth of the country to the country. So by participating in this competition, you’re joining a unique opportunity to give back to the development of Saudi Arabia. Therefore, NEOM owns the intellectual property.

In what language should the submissions be; Arabic or English?

All submissions throughout the challenge (registration application & all deliverables) should be submitted in English.

Can I submit my application by email?

No. All applications must be submitted through this link.

Can I submit a solution I have already developed?

No. It should be a new idea that you haven’t worked on before. 

Can anyone participate in the competition?

Please note that participation in this competition is restricted to Misk Fellows only.


What are the key dates to remember?

Initially, the following are key dates to keep in mind:

End of Registration (15 November): This is the last day where you can submit your application to participate in the competition.

Start-Connect-Learn Workshop (12-13 January): All participants will be required to attend this workshop to officially start working on the idea and take it to the next stages.

End of proposals submission (7 February, 2018): This is the last day where teams can submit their proposals.

End  of prototype submission (31 March): This is the last day where teams can submit their prototypes.

Competition day (4 April): This is the last closing event where all finalist teams will present their final presentations. 

How many judging rounds are there?

There are 3 judging rounds that will occur as follows:

Judging round 1: Selection of top Ideas based on the evaluation Criteria.  All selected ideas will be taken further in the next stages. This is a virtual round and the decision will be communicated by email.

Judging round 2: Selection of top proposals based on the evaluation criteria. The teams of the selected proposals will compete in the finals. This is a virtual round and the decision will be communicated by email.

Judging round 3: Selection of the top 3 winners based on the evaluation criteria.  This is a physical round and the decision will be communicated in the closing event of the competition day.

How will we form teams?

Each selected idea owner will be responsible to form a cross-functional team. The process starts with a pitch by each idea owner to introduce their ideas to the participants and the needed skillset for their teams. By that, each participant will know where is their skillset is needed the most and can also join a team with an idea they believe in. 

Do I need to be physically present at any of the stages?

All participants must be physically present in the following 2 stages:

  • Start-Connect-Learn Workshop (12-13 January): it will be located outside Saudi Arabia. The location will be announced soon.
  • Competition Day (4 April): it will be located in Riyadh (attendance is only required for final teams).

If the participants need to travel in order to attend, then Misk will cover the accommodation and flights costs. 


How can i know the details of the required submissions in the later stages?

The details of the required submissions (proposal, prototype, and final presentation) along with their evaluation criteria will be shared later.

How do I know if my submission has been selected?

If your submission is selected to move on to the next stage, you will be contacted via email. 


If I have any questions or concerns, who can I direct it to?

You can email us at [email protected] for any questions or concerns. 


Please note that participation in this competition is restricted to Misk Fellows only. If you have received an invitation and you are interested to participate kindly fill the application below. The application deadline is November 15, 2018.