Clean Air Challenge

"Clean Air Challenge", dedicated for secondary schools in Hong Kong, aims to raise environmental health literacy on air quality, as well as to nurture our young talents to anticipate innovative solution ideas that accommodate the multi-dimensionalities of air pollution problems around us.

This is the very first year of the Clean Air Challenge, hoping to foster problem-solving capabilities and witness the creative vibrancy from the younger generation.

This Challenge encompasses all the elements in S-T-E-A-M (i.e., Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education model. Participation schools could opt for knowledge/skillset-transfer events/workshops complementing a project-mentorship scheme, alongside cross-disciplinary project ideas and final entries development.

The whole campaign aims to enable effective knowledge/insight transfer, as well as to foster critical thinking and problem-based learning capacity. In addition, students are also expected to acquire a wide range of "Hard skills" (Data collection, management, analysis and visualization; Report composition and word processing) and "Soft skills" (Problem-solving through creative mindset and system thinking; Team-work and effective interpersonal communication) through a variety of seminar and workshop series.


"Clean Air Challenge" is a territory-wide student engagement component under the "Clean Air Neighborhood" campaign initiated by Clean Air Network (CAN) with the support of The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Hong Kong, aiming to enhance youth empowerment and to raise public literacy on air pollution.

Complementing CAN's district deep-dive component in Tuen Mun District, which actively engages the community stakeholders within a 1.5 km radius around the core partnering school (Tam Lee Lai Fun Memorial Secondary School), "Clean Air Challenge" aims to engage all secondary schools with the vision to replicate CAN's Tuen Mun community engagement experiences and amplify the impacts to other districts in Hong Kong.



School Participation

Secondary schools in Hong Kong are invited to participate in this highly engaging "Clean Air Challenge" campaign throughout the course of "3(D)" phases:

  1. iDeation phase
    • Optional
    • submit brief ideas to win a space for the HKUST-IENV's knowledge-input events and mentorship program (details)
    • idea submission deadline (30 Oct 2021)
  2. Development phase
    • Required
    • submit a short proposal in any of these 3 categories: (A) Hardware, (B) E-solution, or (C) Social & Art (details)
    • proposal submission deadline (31 Jan 2022)
    • HKUST-IENV will provide support of (a) knowledge-input seminars / guided tours / DIY workshops, (b) online tutorials, and (c) student-mentorship program
  3. Delivery phase
    • Required
    • Wubmit final product (in short video format)
    • Winning entries will presented in Clean Air Youth Summit & Awards Presentation Ceremony (tentatively in Jul 2022)
    • Outstanding submissions will be formatted into media/impact stories
    • Product submission deadline (17 Apr 2022)


Role of the HKUST-IENV

HKUST-IENV is offering strategic input throughout the course of "4(I)" phases from, namely, (1) "Input" - knowledge & new skills transfer; (2) "Inspire" - inspiring students to think about what can be done (e.g. for ones own health, for schools, or for our community); (3) "Investigate" - assisting students to put hands together to develop creative solution ideas and powerful messages; to (4) "Impact" - amplifying students' messages and generating bigger impacts for the wider public.
Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 3
Phase 4


HKUST-IENV will provide a series of interactive activities (including seminars, guided tours, DIY workshops) to facilitate knowledge transfer. Students are expected to acquire updated knowledge and new skills regarding air science, data science, sensing technologies, environmental chemistry, and so on. This air quality-related knowledge "INPUT" would enrich students' undertanding about the problem and help them identify the potential knowledge gap and initial project ideas.

More than 20 knowledge-transfer activities and 30 online tutorials will be provided by HKUST-IENV as knowledge and new skill input in this "Input" phase.


With the acquired knowledge and new skills, students might gain confidence and be "INSPIRED" to identify their most concerned questions, project topic and goals, and then to shape their initial ideas into a better project proposal, which could be anything about investigating air pollution-related problems, exploring potential solutions, raising wider attentions, or advocating for cleaner and healthier air quality, etc.

Our goal in this phase is to make our young people aware of air pollution problems on the personal, community, and global levels, and inspire them to figure out creative solution ideas.


With the initial project ideas formulated, HKUST-IENV will be keen to play an advisory role in assisting schools to "INVESTIGATE" the problem and to formulate corresponding solution ideas. Students in this 6-month period could start to put their creativities and hands together (e.g., to start their surveys, conduct their experiments, develop their documentaries, build their model and so on) alongside the on-going knowledge-transfer workshop series as well as HKUST-student-mentorship support.

The idea of running this 6-month workshop series together with advisory/mentorship support, is to provide extended momentum to deepen their understanding about air pollution as well as to enable students to incorporate their knowledge into environmental health issues.


Schools with outstanding submissions will be invited to present their ideas in the "Youth Summit & Awards Presentation Ceremony". This event will also be an engaging clean air dialogue platform for our youth talents and decision-makers, and all winning messages will be packaged into media/impact stories for amplifying the "IMPACT" for cleaner and healthier future.

Outstanding ideas will be packaged into "media/impact stories" for wider sharing and amplified impacts.

important dates

Key events Tentative Date
Opening Ceremony & Information Day 16 Oct 2021 (Sat)
Call for Ideas 30 Oct 2021 (deadline)
Knowledge-transfer seminars, special guided tours, DIY workshops (optional) Nov 2021 – Apr 2022
HKUST-IENV student-mentorship program (optional) Jan - Apr 2022
Call for proposal 31 Jan 2022 (deadline)
Call for submission 17 Apr 2022 (deadline)
Youth Summit & Awards Presentation Jul 2022



(Click here for: Submission categories, judging criteria & Prizes)

  • Clean Air Challenge is open to all secondary schools in Hong Kong.
  • This is a team-based competition. All applying teams should be in a group of 3 or more (unless specially requested), and with one school teacher as referee. (Each school teacher could be a referee for more than one student team)
  • Clean Air Challenge is a multi-stage campaign calling for (1) initial ideas, (2) project proposal, and (3) final submission, alongside a series of dedicated knowledge-transfer workshops and online tutorials.
    • (1) Call for "initial ideas" (optional / tentative deadline: 30 Oct 2021) - best ideas could win a place for knowledge-transfer activities and/or HKUST-student mentorship support.
    • (2) Call for "project proposals" (requested / tentative deadline: 31 Jan 2022) - professional advice will be provided to help schools sharpen the proposal ideas before finalizing project scope. [Online Application / Download PDF Form]
    • (3) Call for "final submissions" (in short video format / tentative deadline: 17 Apr 2022) - over 20 prizes will be given to acknowledge school submissions with different talents (based on judging criteria) in different formats (submission categories)
  • Campaign timelines and arrangements are susceptible to changes due to the changing covid-19 circumstances. Interested schools are invited to [Subscribe to our e-News] first to collect upcoming details.
  • Watch the Opening Ceremony & Information Day's [Event Highlight] or [Full Video Record (14:47)] to know more about Clean Air Challenge's application/competition details.



Contact us

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Ms. Denise Chan - Senior Communications Officer (Environment)
Institute for the Environment
+852 2358 6941
+852 2358 1582