ILO Just Energy Transition Innovation Challenge

Fostering innovation for high-impact solutions

The energy challenge we face

The energy sector powers economies and sustains jobs. It also generates approximately two-thirds* of global greenhouse gas emissions. If the Paris Agreement goals are to be met, the energy transition needs to accelerate and reach a tremendous scale. There will be substantive employment and social impacts that need to be anticipated and planned for. Overall, it is estimated that the energy transition will deliver net job gains.

Ultimately, positive employment impacts need to be facilitated, and negative impacts, particularly those related to fossil fuel retirement, need to be identified and addressed. The energy transition must be just. Drawing upon the ILO’s Guidelines for a Just Transition towards Environmentally Sustainable Economies and Societies for All, recovery packages need to include effective measures to ensure structural changes maximise decent work opportunities and leave no enterprises, workers or communities stranded.

Complementary policy measures for a just energy transition are grounded in specific contexts and realities, and include investment strategies, industrial policies, skill training and retraining, and social protection measures.

In 2021, energy and jobs have emerged as prominent issues within most national and international agendas, underscoring the effects of the COVID 19 crisis and debates on recovery models and mounting awareness of the need for ambitious climate action. In this context, and as part of the milestones to reach the targets of the Paris Agreement, the ILO is launching its first-ever just transition innovation challenge, specifically addressing energy transitions.


The objective of the ILO Just Energy Transition Innovation Challenge is to identify, enhance, test and disseminate high-potential policy ideas and solutions that promote a just transition for all, breaking from business-as-usual.

Application is closed


What are we looking for?

The ILO is looking for innovative solutions and approaches that will:

  • Accelerate a just transition in the context of decarbonizing energy systems.
  • Benefit from ILO’s technical support and can be showcased.

  • Such solutions and approaches must be grounded in the ILO just transition guidelines and support bold climate action and decent work creation. We accept ideas and solutions beyond the early ideation phase, that have been tested and are ready for scale-up. The applicant must be able to document the initial work and efforts made in advancing the idea, and how the assistance from the ILO will benefit the scale-up of the solution.

    The solutions should contribute to one or more of the following objectives:

    • Create jobs through energy actions and initiatives (e.g. promoting enterprises and cooperative models that generate employment).
    • Provide skills required in the energy transition (e.g. skilling and reskilling initiatives).
    • Protect and support workers and people otherwise negatively impacted by changes in the energy system (e.g. social protection schemes or policies).
    • Promote better working conditions and ensure workers’ rights in renewable energy sectors (e.g. through occupational health and safety measures and initiatives).
    • Enhance mechanisms of social dialogue and participation in just transition policy processes.
    • Provide finance and investments to support a just energy transition.
    • Promote access to technology and business development services for micro and small enterprises in the renewable energy sector (e.g. through business development).
    • Enhance equity in the renewable energy sector, including along gender lines and participation by vulnerable groups, and/or contributing to poverty reduction.
    • Develop and strengthen legal instruments relevant to a just transition.
    • Other solutions that contribute to a just transition –energy but do not fit any of the above categories.

    The Challenge contributes towards the UN 2030 agenda and specifically the Sustainable Development Goals:
    No Poverty (SDG 1), Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8), and Climate Action (SDG 13).

    Who can apply?

    Any entity or legally recognized organization with contractual and registered capacity that has been in existence for at least two calendar years prior to the call deadline.

    By entity or organization, we mean government agencies, employers’ and workers’ organizations, cooperatives, education, training, and research institutions (including schools, training providers, and universities), NGOs and civil society organizations.

    The ILO reserves the right to carry out reasonable due diligence, including contacting references provided and other third parties to confirm the eligibility of participants and may refuse to award the grant to a participant if there is suspicion of any irregularity, fraudulent activities, etc.

    What will the winners receive?

    The ILO Just Energy Transition will announce 3 winners amongst the proposals and solutions submitted.
    All 3 winners will benefit from

    How to apply?


    1st Application round

    • Familiarise yourself with the challenge call description, eligibility criteria and conditions for participation in the call
    • Develop your short proposal pitch of maximum 5.000 characters, and your multimedia pitch (e.g. video or voice message) of maximum 4 minutes.
    • Submit your proposal via the Application Form by February 28 2022 (midnight Geneva time).
    • For any questions, please write refer to the guidelines first. No applications are accepted via email.
    • Applications can be submitted in English, French or Spanish. Participants will receive an email confirmation that their application has been received.
    Disqualifiers: Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted. Applications exceeding the word limit, or multimedia pitches exceeding the minute length will not be accepted. Applications will only be accepted through the Application Form as indicated above, therefore no applications sent via email will be accepted.

    2nd Application round

    • If your proposal is among the top 10% of the applications submitted, the lead applicant will be requested to submit an extended project proposal.
    • The lead applicant will have a pproximately 3 weeks to prepare the extended proposal.
    • The application form for the second round will be sent directly to the lead applicant, including additional information to further the process.
    • The proposal and the organization (lead and potential co-applicants) will be subject to an extensive eligibility check in line with the ILO Grant Agreement Guidelines.

    Applications are closed.

    Sbmission closed

    Dates and deadlines

    • December 13, 2021 2021 Launch of the call (at the Just Energy Transition Forum)
    • February 28, 2022 Deadline for the first round of submission of ideas
    • April 15, 2022 Review of first round of submissions. The top 10% of applicants will be asked to submit the second round of appraisal
    • May 4, 2022 Deadline for the second round of submissions of idea
    • July 30, 2022 The final winners of the Just Energy Transition Innovation Challenge are announced


    All questions will be publicized. Please check the FAQ before contacting the team.
    If you have any questions regarding the innovation call in general or the application process, please contact us at: