KPMG hosts global student competition to uncover innovations in artificial intelligence, identify top technology talent

Team Paramount AI from the University of Toronto in Canada wins the KPMG Ideation Challenge 2019

As organizations turn to emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) to advance their businesses, the demand for top technology talent is growing rapidly. To help develop and attract the next generation of talent, KPMG International created the Ideation Challenge, a global program now in its second year, which gathers STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students from around the globe to help solve real-world business issues with AI-driven ideas and solutions.

Out of more than 600 applicants, 9 teams drawn from 65 premier universities across 9 countries were selected to advance to the final Ideation Challenge, May 10-12 in Amsterdam. Participating teams represented Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, Netherlands, UK and US.

This year, the KPMG Ideation Challenge named University of Toronto Team Paramount AI as the winner. Paramount AI’s winning idea is a solution that aims to redefine the waste management industry, effectively combining AI and intelligent automation to solve the issue of rising landfills by automating waste segregation at the source. Paramount AI will retain the intellectual property rights to take their solution to market. The team will also attend the KPMG Annual AI Summit in October in Toronto where they will present their idea on a global stage to several hundred KPMG professionals, data scientists, influencers and clients.  

“As a recognized global leader in AI services in several categories by analyst research firms and ranked a top employer on Universum’s 2018 World’s Most Attractive Employer Rankings for STEM students, KPMG rightfully aims to be a beacon for the best and brightest thinkers in AI and data-driven technologies,” said Thomas Erwin, Head of KPMG Global Lighthouse Center of Excellence for Data-driven Technologies and a partner with KPMG in Germany. “KPMG cultivates a culture of creativity and collaboration, where ideas have the opportunity to flourish. We look forward to the opportunity to welcome top students, such as those from the Paramount AI and the other teams which competed, to KPMG member firms to help clients transform their businesses with innovative ideas using these emerging technologies.”  

Throughout the Challenge event, each team was tasked with applying AI technologies to help solve a real or imagined business issue within an organization of their choice – anything from a not-for-profit organization to a tech startup to a bank. They worked alongside KPMG professionals who helped co-develop their innovative ideas and turn them into prototypes. The students’ final submissions were reviewed by a panel of KPMG judges, who scored each submission based on five criteria: innovation, presentation, feasibility, client impact and customer impact.

“The KPMG Ideation Challenge gives talented STEM students the opportunity to ideate, create and build new technology capabilities and apply these to solve some of the most pressing issues facing our society” said Anthony Coops, Head of Lighthouse in Australia and a partner with KPMG in Australia. “Through the Challenge these students experience the type of work member firms do for clients every day and it helps us identify future leaders with the necessary skills to design, develop and deliver industry-leading solutions for clients and for society.”

To learn more about the Challenge or for students interested in participating in next year’s event, visit