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.


The Koerschen Award is meant to provide a means of encouraging or stimulating innovation within schools as participants:

  • Apply academic, social, and personal skills to create an innovative program, system, activity, or service for their school community;
  • Work within groups to apply creativity to achieve authentic outcomes;
  • Gain a deeper understanding of themselves, their community, and their school;
  • Demonstrate leadership while guiding a team to solve problems and work collaboratively while helping others.


Up to $2,500 USD may be awarded to the successful applicant team as determined by the ACAMIS Selection Committee named by the ACAMIS Board.

Who Should Apply?

The Koerschen Award is open to students who are enrolled in ACAMIS member schools in the full membership category and are supported by the Head of School and a faculty representative who provides guidance to the group carrying out the innovation.

Application Process

Schools that are planning to apply for a Koerschen Award Grant should first register their intent by completing the Preliminary Notice Form. When the students are ready to make full Application, they can click here to download the application form. The proposal should be no more than 750 words.

For this award, there may be multiple applicants within one school, in which case, the school should select the best entry and submit only one application per school.

All sections of Koerschen Award Application Form need to be completed and may include supplementary and supporting information.

When completing the Innovation Award Proposal, the applicant(s) should consider the following questions:

  • What kind of innovation is being planned?
  • Why is the innovation meaningful to the school?
  • Why is this project important to the innovators?
  • What outcomes has the innovation provided fellow students and/or the schools?
  • How can success of the innovation be measured or described?

Application Deadline

The completed ACAMIS Koerschen Award for Innovation Application Form must be sent to the ACAMIS Executive Officer at no later than February 15, 2020 for the current school year. Late applications will not be accepted.

2019 Jim Koerschen Award Recipient
Utahloy International School of 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.

Past Award Recipients

School Visit and Testimonials

"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

List of Previous Recipients

YearSchool NameProjectfdasfdsafadsafsadsafdsafdsafdsafdsafdsafdsafsa
2018Beijing World Youth AcademyRe-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.
2017Beijing City International SchoolA 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.

2016Concordia International SchoolConcordia'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.