Partner with us

The Global Challenge 2017 is open to Higher Education institutions across Canada and the world. We invite you to partner with us to develop social impact leaders who collaborate with others to fully understand a challenge. Learn more about our approach.


Join a global movement

Be part of a movement which values understanding problems first, before proposing solutions. We believe this is the future of social impact education.


Build connections

Form relationships among staff and students from a range of other universities & colleges, all of whom are passionate about positive social change.


Create opportunities

Give students the chance to win cash prizes, tickets to the Emerge Conference, and opportunities for further research and development in their chosen field.


How it works

The Skoll Centre at the University of Oxford has partnered with RECODE, an initiative of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, and the Trico Charitable Foundation to bring the Global Challenge to Canada. Canadian higher education institutions are invited to run their own Challenge, with the support of tools provided by the Skoll Centre. Institutions running local challenges would align their branding to the Oxford Challenge, using resources provided.

In March 2017, one selected individual or team from each institution will present their findings at the Canadian final event, where participants from across the country will compete to win a place at the Global Challenge Final. The two winning teams will each receive $2,500 in prize money and attend the final event from April 30 to May 1, 2017 at the University of Oxford, UK, where teams from all over the world will pitch for the three top prizes.


The Global Challenge is open to all higher education students, including undergraduates, graduates, doctoral students, and recent graduates who completed their studies within 12 months of the competition. We do not distinguish between degree/diploma subjects and levels when marking submissions as we are looking for the strongest submissions, regardless of a student’s age or subject area, though each partner institution is welcome to set their own application requirements.

What is the cost?

This is a not-for-profit initiative. Through the support of RECODE and the Trico Charitable Foundation, we are able to cover core competition costs such as content development, final event costs, the costs to bring in high-calibre global judges, transportation and prize money. We are seeking a contribution of $1,500 CAD from participating institutions. Travel and accommodation to the Oxford Global Challenge Final will be covered for the two teams that win the Canadian final.

What support will partner schools receive?

%  Tools to run their own local challenge (application forms, judging criteria, acceptance letters and certificates, a project plan, branding material, example fliers, etc).

%  The chance to join 2-3 webinars for Global Challenge Champions at higher education institutions around the world, to gather new ideas, answer questions, and share resources.

%  Website with learning tools and resources for all Global Challenge entrants globally, as well as videos/learning resources shared directly with the Global Challenge Champions at each school to share with their local entrants.

%  In March 2017, one selected individual or team from each institution will present their findings at the Canadian final event, where participants from across the country will compete to win a place at the Global Challenge final at the University of Oxford, UK. Two winning teams will attend the Global final competition, where they will join other teams from around the world as they pitch their understanding of a problem to a set of global judges. The event will provide opportunities to network and learn with other students from around the world.

% The tools for schools to offer “Apprenticing with a Problem” funding and resources to their school finalists to “apprentice with a problem” they care about, by doing a secondment, research project, or internship, perhaps with an organization they identified during their Global Challenge research. All tools for how this is done, including application forms, funding agreements, etc. will be shared with partner schools  should they want to offer this funding opportunity to their Global Challenge students.

% Apprenticing with a Problem Funding for Canadian final winners. The two finalists of the Canadian Global Challenge may apply to receive funding, up to $10,000 per finalist, to run Apprenticing with a Problem. More information on how to apply will be shared following the Canadian final in March.


Key Dates

October 14, 2016

Register your institution

To participate in the 2017 Global Challenge, register your institution using our online form by October 14th.

Register here

The Global Challenge is open to all Higher Education institutions in Canada.

Once registered, and you have committed to provide the $1,500 CAD participation fee, you will receive an information pack which includes guidance documents, recommended timelines and processes, judging criteria, and a editable poster for promotion to your students.

October 20 –
December 20, 2016

Student registration

We will send you the link to an online form where students can register to participate in the Challenge. Students are required to submit their proposed topic and the names of the individual or team members wishing to participate.

The Oxford team will send you periodic updates on how many of your students have registered, and the final list of registered students. This gives you an opportunity to provide students with feedback on the suitability of their chosen topic so that any adjustments may be made before the final submissions deadline in early February.

February 6, 2017

Final student submissions

Students must submit their final materials for review by your local judging committee through a channel of your choice. We ask that you share all applications with the Oxford team, for our records.

February 6 – 24, 2017

Shortlisting and selection by judges

Each institution may determine who will review and select their students’ entries to the Global Challenge – we recommend a panel of at least 3 experienced judges, including someone from the centre/department managing the Challenge at your institution. Your institution may wish to hold a local pitching event, or select the winner through review of submissions alone.

Once selected, your institution’s winning team or individual will be invited to the Canadian final competition taking place in March.

March 24-26, 2017

Canadian final pitching competition

At the national competition, teams from across Canada will compete to win a place at the Global Challenge Final in Oxford. The event will take place in Calgary, Alberta.

The two winning teams or individuals from the Canadian final will receive prize money of $2,500 per team and will be invited to the Global Challenge Final event in Oxford.

April 30 – May 1, 2017

Oxford Global Challenge Final event

The final event will be held at the University of Oxford, UK, where teams from all over the world will pitch for the three top prizes.

Participants will benefit from personalised feedback from a panel of expert judges, who work in impact-focused organizations such as private foundations, impact investment firms and social enterprises. Furthermore, finalists will have the opportunity to build relationships with students from a range of other schools, all of whom are passionate about positive social change.

In addition to the final pitch event, finalists will attend a gala dinner in Oxford, where they will be addressed by an influential social impact leader. The Global Challenge Champion from the partner institution or other representative is welcome to join the winning team in Oxford.