Vice-Chancellor's Challenge

 Could you have the answer to a major global challenge?


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Registration for the 2017 Vice-Chancellor's Challenge has now closed. We'll update the website with details of the 2018 Challenge once these are confirmed.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Challenge is a new opportunity for undergraduate students to have an invaluable experience and develop skills for your future studies and career. The opportunity is normally open to penultimate or second year students, depending on your College (more details below).

Working as part of an interdisciplinary College team, you'll tackle a global challenge in a competition personally overseen by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Eastwood.

 If you proceed to the later stages you will attend bespoke workshops in expertise such as debating, presenting and media production. You will then put these skills into action by creating an innovative, thought-provoking video to debate with students and academics.You'll gain important transferable skills and develop your academic learning.


What does the Vice-Chancellor’s Challenge involve?

Starting in your College, you will form a team with other students from different disciplines to come up with an original idea on a topic of global importance.

You will develop your ideas with support from academics in your college and create a thought-provoking presentation or video. Colleges are running networking events to help you form your team and each college has put together a selection process in which two teams of students from each college will go through to the University-wide stage of the competition.VC Challenge timeline

During Welcome Week, the chosen two teams from each college will be part of a two-day bootcamp, hosted by Sir David, to help  develop your ideas further, as well as be provided with bespoke training in skills such as media production, debating and presenting. Each team will create a video on their idea, from which five teams will be chosen as finalists.

The finalist teams will go forward to a final evening gala, at which Sir David will debate the ideas developed by each team before choosing the winning team and challenge champions!


What is the global challenge?

The topic the Vice-Chancellor has chosen this year is Sustainable Cities and Communities:



We want you to consider the perspectives that your discipline brings to bear on this challenge, and to come up with an original and stimulating idea in response!

Sustainable Cities and Communities have relevance to almost every discipline in the University.For example, you might think about it in relation to sustainable transport and infrastructure, the wide-scale application of smart technologies, the vital role that culture and heritage plays in our cities, the provision of radically different forms of healthcare and public services, or many other aspects! You might even tackle the question of whether sustainable cities and communities are possible or even desirable?

There's plenty of information out there on the topic. We recommend looking at these helpful sources, including this short film introducing the UN's global goals - the inspiration behind the Vice-Chancellor's Challenge this year:




What will I get out of it?

Signing up to the Vice-Chancellor’s Challenge will give you many opportunities!

You will gain employability skills, enhance your research ability, and meet new people from across the University.

However far through the competition your team makes it, this is an experience which will benefit your studies and set you apart for future employment. The finalists' videos will feature on the University’s website, where they can be viewed by the public and become a part of the conversation on Sustainable Cities and Communities globally. This will be a great opportunity for you to showcase the quality of your work to future employers.

If you are successful in making it to the later stages, you will have the opportunity to engage with the Vice-Chancellor and other senior University staff and academics, and attend bespoke skills workshops.

Your involvement in the Challenge will help your CV to standout, and we will include it on your academic transcript. And, of course, we hope you will have fun, make new friends and be proud of your work!




Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I get involved?

Registration for the 2017 Vice-Chancellor's Challenge has now closed. We'll provide details of the 2018 Challenge once these are confirmed.

If you have any questions you can email or your College rep (details at the end of this page).

Which students is it open to?

For CAL, CoSS, LES and EPS students you need to be in your penultimate year of study. This is year 2 for 3 year degree programmes, or year 3 for 4 year degree programmes.

For MDS students you need to be in your 2nd year of study.

Are all the Colleges running the same process?

Each College is running their own training and selection process based on the best way and timings for students in the College to fit around student’s deadlines. Colleges have chosen their selection process for the finalist teams based on how best the College can have academic and student involvement in the voting.

How will this be included on my academic transcript?

The Vice Chancellor’s Challenge will be included on your degree transcript an extracurricular activity. Depending on which stage you get to in the challenge, it will be listed as participant, finalist or winner.

What are the dates for bootcamp and the final event?

The bootcamp stage will run during Welcome Week from the afternoon of Monday 18th  through to Wednesday 20th September. The final event will be held on the evening of the 16th November.

What do I win?

Every participant will receive a certificate and will have their participation included on their degree transcript.

The winning team will receive a trophy and finalists will be invited to attend a University dinner event.

What support will I get from my College?

Each College has academic support to help you throughout the challenge. Please contact your College representative to find out who your academic mentors are and how they can help you.

How much time should I dedicate?

Teams will need to be available to attend the launch event, training sessions and presentations run by their College, as well as the bootcamp and final event. Please contact your College representative to find out when these sessions are and look out for College communications.

I am on a study abroad year or year in industry. Can I still take part?

Each College is running its own selection process. Please contact your College representative to find out how you can take part in a team.

How will I be contacted?

Your College will send emails to you during the College stage about the sessions and events that are running, and the selection process. We will then contact the successful teams through the bootcamp and final stage with the relevant details.



Contact us

Registration for the 2017 Vice-Chancellor's Challenge has now closed. If you would like to find out more information please contact us at or speak to your College representative: