The Jim Koerschen Award for Innovation in Schools


The Jim Koerschen Award for Innovation in Schools was created by the ACAMIS Board of Directors in honour of Dr. Jim Koerschen. Dr. Koerschen was a former university President and an esteemed international educator during his five years as Head of School at Concordia International School Shanghai. He served on the ACAMIS Board for three years and in 2013, was appointed and served as the first Executive Director of ACAMIS until he passed away in 2014.

Dr. Koerschen became known within ACAMIS as an innovative educator and outside-the-box thinker. It is with this in mind that the Award for Innovation in International Schools was created. Participation in the Award is open to students enrolled in all ACAMIS full membership schools in China and Mongolia.


Deadline for application submission: Friday, March 31, 2023


2022 Jim Koerschen Award Recipient
Beijing City International School

We are exploring Circularity Projects in Aquaponics, Hydroponics, Carbon Capture and Spent Coffee Ground Products. The projects are based around the Design Thinking process developed by the Interaction Design Foundation. Our Garden Club will experiment with hydroponics to grow vegetables without soil and measure the results; with aquaponics the aim is to find a self-sustaining method to grow fruits and vegetables with a minimized system that embodies a nitrogen cycle cultures fish and vegetables side by side where the waste from fish is constantly reused; the Carbon Capture unit explores ways to build a small carbon capturing device for possible household use in automatically fertilizing household plants; the coffee ground portion is to create ways to recycle coffee grounds, 75% of which currently ends up wasted in landfills when it has many other productive uses that we will explore.

Recipients in Previous Years

2021 Beijing City International School Development of Student Bulletin and EASLINK
Develop two applications that will make communication and management of extracurricular activities (E.A.s) in our school much easier and more effective. The apps are designed to increase communication efficiency and reduce paperwork for E.A.s in BCIS. Student Bulletin provides a centralized platform for community members to post announcements and information about upcoming events. EASLINK is a system for school and student leaders to manage and conduct numerous E.A.s efficiently by providing detailed information about all E.A.s in BCIS, including location, activity details, timeframe and attendance. The aim is to promote a better sense of community by making information more accessible.
2020 Nanjing International School

Working together with a non-profit organization called Project Invent, they are creating an electronic product that will help children with autistic spectrum disorder to detect the onset of anger in order to prevent a breakdown.  This award allows the students to pursue their love of technology, coding and creative thinking. They are currently finalizing their prototype of an electronic anger management device for challenged children. So far, they have built two prototypes by 3D printing watch straps with flexible filament. Once they have completed the watch, they will begin coding.

2019 Utahloy International School Guangzhou Inspired by the NIST Development Bank, two students decided to establish UISG Development Bank to support local community with reference to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. They aimed to create a financial institution to fund school projects initiated by peers (students) which aim to serve the local community in Guangzhou. The awarding of small loans and concessional grants enable individual/groups of students to focus on having positive impact on the local community. The award will serve as the initial budget for running the UISG Development Bank.
2018 Beijing World Youth Academy

Re-design Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) to preserve traditional lifestyles and cultures before becoming forgotten. Investigation at the Dushuhua site in Hebei was made to gather information of the practice and Gao Luo Gu Yue for relevant information about traditional music. A music video was then made to promote the practice to the community. The award will then be used to continue promoting and protecting different ICHs.

2017 Beijing City International School

A team of four BCIS Students dedicated themselves to creating a free platform for high school students to access professional hands-on business education and to connect with successful entrepreneurs, experienced investors and business experts. Their goal was to create a vigorous, self-sustaining network for young entrepreneurs, innovators, and business mentors that others can draw upon for advice. The award money was used to promote the project within ACAMIS and throughout East Asia.


Concordia International School 


Concordia's social entrepreneurship class started their social enterprise entitled Third Culture Coffee Roasters. Sixteen students obtained first-hand business experience by purchasing green coffee beans directly from farmers in Yunnan, China, roast them on campus, and sell the roasted coffee to the Concordia community on behalf of the Yunnan coffee growers to help alleviate poverty among the growers in Yunnan and contribute to the social needs of that community. The award money was used to purchase a coffee roaster to make the project self-sufficient and sustainable.



"I am currently working on remaking Chinese traditional clothing from the Han dynasty for my Personal Project. Although I am using modern materials, the clothes will be made in the traditional style. I want my products to inform people of what the real traditional clothing is like since there are many incorrect versions on the online market in China. At the same time, I would like to inspire people to learn more about Chinese traditional culture. "
--Elina, BWYA G10 student, Dr. Koerschen Innovation Award winner
"Our first upcoming event is a GaoLuoGuYue-themed public music performance and it will be hosted in Beijing. Its music compositions, based on the non-repetitive/non-terminating number of pi (π), highlight the incalculable charms nature may bring forward. This is meant to broaden the social influence of the GaoLuo community, and affect the audience with our collective, innovative thinking. In the observable future, our club plans to incorporate A.I. technology in the conversion of ancient GongChi sheet music from GaoLuo village (minimally interpreted) to widely accepted, modern staff music."

--Tim, BWYA G10 student, Dr. Koerschen Innovation Award winner