What’s different about VR? It feels real! Some experts say VR delivers such powerful experiences that they can build empathy that will lead to real change.

Betting big on that concept, last week HTC Vive announced a new program to fund virtual reality projects based on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. HTC Vive is offering $10 million to “drive VR content and technologies that will …transform the world.”

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals call for big positive changes in the world by the year 2030.  There are 17 goals that call for an end to poverty, war, and injustice, as well as action to protect the environment.

HTC Vive believes its $10 million effort will fund projects that raise awareness about the goals, educate people about them, and lead to action. They hope to spur the development of VR experiences that help people understand others, understand complex issues, work together, and travel to new places.

“There are millions of untold stories in every crisis, especially on the front lines where much of our work takes place,” said Corinne Woods, Director of Communications for the World Food Program. “HTC’s support of new ways to tell important stories, and help in shaping innovation for the UN’s sustainable development agenda, will build on the impact of our work and take it in new and exciting directions.”

Examples of the types of VR experiences HTC Vive is looking for include putting people in war zones, placing people inside math equations, letting people witness the Big Bang, showing people the inner workings of the human body, and helping people visualize a world without fossil fuels. They’re also interested in finding ways to help scientists and others work together and collaborate in virtual reality. Any project that supports one or more of the UN goals is eligible.

Developers who have ideas for VR projects in support of the UN goals can go to the VR for Impact site and apply. Winners will be announced April 22.

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Linda learned to play video games as a way to connect with her teenaged kids, and then she learned to love video games for their own sake. At Pixelkin she wrangles the business & management side of things, writes posts as often as she can, reaches out on the social media, and does the occasional panel or talk. She lives in Seattle, where she writes, studies, plays video games, spends time with her family, consumes vast quantities of science fiction, and looks after her small cockapoo. She loves to hear from people out there. You can read more about her at her website, Linda Breneman.com or her family foundation's website, ludusproject.org.