Winners announced in innovation programme where youth worked for humanity and nature

August 1, 2022

Prize-winning students in “Innovation Campus” training programme implemented by Samsung jointly with UNDP, METU and TBV applied artificial intelligence to solve development challenges

Istanbul, 1 August 2022 – Four winning projects were announced in the third round of the “Innovation Campus” training programme implemented by Samsung Electronics in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Middle East Technical University (METU) and the Turkish Informatics Foundation (TBV) to support young people in applying technology to build a better world.

Aiming to equip disadvantaged and talented youth with technical skills, develop their life skills and offer opportunities of employment, the Innovation Campus training programme works to disseminate Samsung’s global knowledge on technology while also supporting competency-based development of the youth. Contributing to youth employment, the programme is centred on developing solutions that are designed to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A jury composed of academics from METU, futurist Ufuk Tarhan, journalist Şelale Kadak, and executives from Samsung, UNDP and TBV selected the projects they judged to be the most creative and innovative, that made the best use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies and best served the SDGs. The selection criteria were determined globally by Samsung, which organizes similar activities in more than 30 countries.

“Wildfire Forecasting” project by Hale Afra İriş, Özge Özkaya and Gözde Gözütok won the first place in the competition. In this project aiming to detect wildfires at early stages and reduce their effects that have a huge toll on the environment and people’s lives, a machine learning model that predicts wildfires with 80 percent accuracy was built. This model will enable warning disaster risk reduction and management teams at early stages.

Serkan Özdemir’s SaveWater project that helps prevent the wastewater from polluting the nature won the second place. In this project, by using a deep learning-based artificial intelligence algorithm, the oxygen level in the wastewater released to nature is predicted. In this way, it is aimed to detect the harm that can occur in advance and create an accelerator effect to take action. The project could also be used by ministries and other public institutions as a mechanism to audit factories.

“F6: Food for Future - Future for Food” by Nisa Nur Kılıç, Selçuk Gürses and Murathan Saygılı was one of the two projects that won the third place. This project aiming to predict and reduce food waste, helps us to foresee how much, where and why food waste will occur in the future by using artificial intelligence. By focusing on the food crisis, which is one of the biggest problems of today and tomorrow, it aims to create both food for future and future for food.

The other project that won the third place is DINo-SDGs by Beyza Taşdemir and Cenk Arda Yılmaz. The tool “Dino-SDGs” predicts with high success, which SDGs texts given as input are related to, by using cutting-edge deep learning methods. By offering a classification tool that can be used by individuals and institutions from all segments of the society, from academia to industrial sector, it aims to help achieve the SDGs.

The Innovation Campus programme engages youth aged 18 to 29 to generate solutions focusing on artificial intelligence to achieve the SDGs. The programme attracted over 5,000 applications in Türkiye. Following a screening process including technical tests and competency-based assessments, 25 successful applicants received 350 hours of training in artificial intelligence over five months from METU faculty members. Those who completed the course were awarded with certificates.

Participants also competed for financial assistance and coaching support to implement the projects that would demonstrate their skills and experience.

The Sustainable Development Goals Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SDG AI Lab) which supports the work of UN agencies and partners through artificial intelligence and big data research worked in close coordination with METU to assist on curriculum and technologies. The SDG AI Lab provided training sessions on the use of artificial intelligence as well as expertise and mentoring support.

UNDP also provided participants with training on the SDGs. A team of 15 experts from Samsung and UNDP mentored the youth for project support.

In addition to technical training, senior consultants on human resources delivered training to the participants on recruiting, CV preparation and interview techniques. This year’s training also included techniques for effective communication and presentation so that students could effectively present their projects before the award ceremony.

Note to Editors:

You can find on, detailed information on UNDP’s all development projects in some 170 countries and territories worldwide. is a component of UNDP’s implementation of International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) to which UNDP is a signatory. Click for financial info on this project: Samsung Electronics Co., Limited | IP For Empowering Future Innovators | IP For Innovation Campus

About Samsung Electronics

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. inspires the world with transformative ideas and technologies and shapes the future. Samsung Electronics redefines the world of televisions, smartphones, wearables, tablets, cameras, digital appliances, network systems, memory, semiconductor and LED solutions. Visit “Samsung Newsroom” on for the latest news about Samsung.


About United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. Visit our website at


About Turkish Informatics Foundation

The Turkish Informatics Foundation (“TBV”) is a non-governmental organization headquartered in Istanbul aiming to “transform Türkiye into an information society”. TBV was founded in April 1995 by 178 founding members from 114 different institutions and currently has more than 400 members. Its main objective is to provide a necessary foundation in enabling the Turkish society to become an information society, and in doing so, to organize and develop scientific research and activities and specifically to research the effects of new technologies on the social and economic lifestyles of the society, to create and provide projects and policies and to provide reliable sources and qualified information. For more information visit


About Middle East Technical University

METU is a university celebrating its 66th anniversary this year and breaking new ground in every field, with more than 140,000 graduates. METU has weight in the education, research, social service and business world in Türkiye and in more than 140 countries worldwide. With more than 26,000 students and 2,200 academicians, 41 undergraduate programs in five faculties and 107 graduate programs, 72 doctoral programs in 5 graduate institutes, 35 research centres, 465 education and research laboratories, METU offers high-quality education both on national and international scale. METU is the leading research university in Türkiye with its increasing scientific impact. METU’s mission is to conduct research, provide education and serve the society at the level of excellence by nurturing creative and critical thinking, innovation and leadership for society, humanity and nature in the framework of universal values. Find out more about METU at


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