The Launch of FIDA

Building on the success of the Dollar Discovers initiative, today sees the launch of FIDA (Futures Institute at Dollar Academy), our very own open-access online learning platform that empowers young people to learn in new ways, through innovative projects rooted in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.


FIDA will empower pupils from Dollar Academy, and beyond, to work with experts from industry and universities to better understand, and design solutions to, some of the most complex challenges we face, such as climate change, poverty and social injustice. There is a wide variety of ways young people can get involved, with a core offering of 17 Global Challenges – one for each of the UN SDGs.

Built in partnership with industry and universities – including renowned textiles manufacturer Johnstons of Elgin, award-winning global architectural studio Grimshaw, and the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge – these open-access Global Challenges encourage students to apply critical thinking and creative problem solving to tackle real-world issues. Each one is centred around a core principle of helping young people develop the skills required to help build a more sustainable future.

The first five Challenges are now freely available via the website and take from 3 – 8 hours to complete. They range from ‘Zero Hunger’, which sees our very own Masterchef finalist Jilly McCord help children create a new recipe based on local, sustainably-produced foods; to ‘Future Plastic’, where pupils will make their own bioplastic at home and will design a novel packaging solution that could help reduce plastic waste.

In addition to receiving a certificate upon completion, students who submit promising work will have the opportunity to gain internships, work experience and participation in mentoring programmes – be that spending a day working with Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin in one of his restaurants or undertaking an online mentoring programme with the Head of Sustainability at Highland Spring.

In an effort to further reduce the attainment gap in Scottish education, FIDA also offers free SQA courses, starting with Higher Politics and National 5 Economics, which will allow pupils who cannot access these courses via their own schools, to study for the qualification online, supported by regular interaction with a specialist teacher via video call.

Later in the year, FIDA will offer a programme of online Sustainability Summits, beginning with a partnership with Sustainable Fashion Week in September and a UK Education and Sustainability Leadership Summit in October. There will also be a Teacher Toolbox, which will provide free resources for teachers.

To find out more about FIDA and the courses on offer, please visit the website. If you would like to get involved and support the initiative in any way, then please email