U21 Global Ingenuity Challenge 2018

An online competition for interdisciplinary teams of undergraduate students to find solutions to real-life problems.

Closing Date for Registering Intention to Enter is 6th April 2018
  • What is the U21 Global Ingenuity Challenge (GIC)?  The 2018 Global Ingenuity Challenge is a contest designed to highlight the value of collaborative problem solving for undergraduate students:
  • Who Can Join? Teams of maximum five undergraduate students drawn from U21 member institutions. Each team is supported by an Ingenuity Facilitator – a staff member from their own university.
  • What is the Competition About? The theme of the 2018 GIC is "Global Issues: Student Responses", this theme challenges students to develop an easily implemented student response to help meet one of the UN Sustainable Goals on their own campus.
  • How do Student Teams Enter? Along with their Ingenuity Facilitator, teams enter using the interactive web-based platform ingenuityonline (IOL).
  • How Long Does the Challenge Take? Students need to give a minimum of at least ten hours’ engagement in a two week period, the final date for submitting your finalised project is the 9th May 2018
  • What is the Closing Date for Entry? Closing date to let us know that you intened to enter and take up the challenge is 6th April 2018
  • Why Enter?
    • Each student in the winning team will be awarded a prize of US$500. (There are additional prizes for Peers’ Choice Award and each student who participates will receive a commendation from U21).
    • Every student who completes the application stage receives a U21 Commendation Award to add to their CV/resume .
    • Teams that produce a high-quality concept can apply to have their concept taken forward as a practical project or initiative.

The event is sponsored by U21 and will be supported and facilitated by the developers of ingenuityonline, The Haydn Green Institute for Enterprise and Innovation, based at the University of Nottingham U.K


  • What is the U21 2018 Challenge Theme about and how does the GIC competition work?   2018 Theme: "Global Issues: Student Responses" In 2015 countries across the world adopted a set of 17 goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.
  • How does the Competition work?: Student teams from U21 universities are invited to select one of the UN Sustainable Goals , and devise a response/plan to help meet that goal that would engage a wide cross section of students at their university. This response/plan should describe a strategy and accompanying resources that they would use to help meet their chosen Sustainable Goal. Working with a staff Ingenuity Facilitator in their own university, students make a 3-minute video outlining their strategy and their Ingenuity Facilitator uploads it to the ingenuityonline IOL platform, along with supporting materials. Teams can enter the competition on one of two possible entry dates (to suit different universities’ term times). See below for details of the two possible entry stages.
  • How many students should be in each team and how many teams per university can enter?
  • Each U21 member university is invited to register at least one team.
  • Members can put forward a maximum of four teams (should more than four teams be interested please contact studentexperience@universitas21.com). 
  • Teams must comprise 3 - 5 students.
  • Members are encouraged to select multi-disciplinary teams in order to capture diverse approaches to and ideas for the challenge.
  • U21 will fund the first team from each member institution. The time commitment per student has been estimated (based on previous challenges) at a minimum of 10 hours per challenge.


  • Who are the Ingenuity Facilitators?
  • Each participating university must select one ingenuity facilitator (member of staff) to assist their student team/s prepare their submission.
  • As well as supporting students, Ingenuity Facilitators will act as the contact point in their university with U21, collate votes cast by their student team(s) for the Peers’ Choice Award, and distribute any awards and prizes to the student participants.
  • As much as possible, it is very helpful if facilitators can remain in touch with their student team(s) in a mentoring role over the course of the two-week challenge.
  • The overall time commitment per facilitator is estimated (based on previous challenges) at approx. 5-6 hours per challenge (facilitators should allow an extra hour per team if facilitating more than one team).
  • See attachments for details of Ingenuity Facilitators.


  • What do Ingenuity Facilitators and Student Teams who enter the Challenge need to do?
  • Teams must complete the challenge within a two-week period using IOL. The final date to complete the challenge is 9 May 2018 See attachment below for Instructions on how to use IOL.
  • At the end of the two-week period working on the challenge, students will have distilled their ideas into a three- minute video presentation or pitch, which forms the basis of their entry into the competition.
  • Note: Submission videos must be three minutes or less. Videos exceeding three minutes will be disqualified.


How do Ingenuity Facilitators and students choose which entry stage suits them?

Key Challenge Dates – Choosing your Entry Stage Dates & Challenge Periods

Student teams must choose one entry stage and follow the dates (below) connected with that Entry Stage


Actions that take place in each step of the Challenge

Entry  Instructions



6 April 2018


These are the deadlines for U21 member institutions to:

  • confirm entry
  • provide estimate of number of participating teams (if possible)
  • provide a facilitator contact name and email address (U21 will collect names and contact details for student participants at the end of the challenge period)


When a team has chosen their entry stage, the Ingenuity Facilitator emails  studentexperience@universitas21.com with this information.

9 - 19 April 2018

All facilitators will be provided with access to the ingenuityonline (IOL) platform, along with supporting materials.


18 April – 9 May 2018


Student teams will work on the challenge over a two-week time slot within this three-week period. The 3-minute video pitch must be uploaded at the end of the two-week period.

11 May 2018

All videos released for adjudication and Peers’ Choice Award.

14 May – 1 June 2018

Adjudication Period.

8 June 2018

Winners and Peers’ Choice Award announced.



  • Who decides the Challenge winners?
  • An international judging panel will determine the winning team.
  • Each student on the winning team will win US $500.
  • A grant of US $1,800 in funding will be available to the winning team should they wish to develop their submission into a tangible project. For example, the joint winning teams in 2017 (Universities of Amsterdam and Nottingham) are in the process of developing web apps based on their winning submissions.  The winning team will need to submit a business case with a clearly defined deliverable to receive this extra development grant.
  • A Peers’ Choice Award will be chosen by students who participate in the challenge who will review the videos submitted by their peers and vote for one of them (not their own). Winners of the Peers’ Choice Award will receive an iTunes voucher for US $100 per team member.

All students who complete a Challenge entry will receive a commendation award from U21. This can be added to their CV.


How to apply

  • Students interested in being considered for a place on their university's teams should contact their International Office (or equivalent) for further information on how to apply. See attached for further details of the steps for students participating in the Challenge.
  • Ingenuity Facilitators should email studentexperience@universitas21.com to register their team(s) by 6 April


Is there an Entry Fee for the Competition?

  • There is no participation fee for the first team from each member institution and this cost will be covered by U21.
  • Additional teams (up to four teams per member) are welcome to participate, at a registration fee of £175 per team, payable to the University of Nottingham.


Where Can I get More Information?

Please see the following attachments at the bottom of the page:


Guide for Facilitators and Participants


IOL, A Guide to the Platform


The GIC Handbook


IOL Instructional Video


Email: studentexperience@universitas21.com


Student Experience Manager
Student Experience Cluster