PwC Innovation Challenge Competition 2018/2019

This unique partnership has been formed to create new worldwide talent linkages through which U21 students can have exposure to new global work opportunities and where they can communicate their specialist knowledge, skills and talents to potential employers.

Background to U21/PwC Collaboration

Universitas 21 [U21] and PwC, two globally-focused organisations, are now working closely together to create mutually beneficial links between U21’s global student groups and PwC’s top clients across its International network of companies. This unique partnership has been formed to create new worldwide talent linkages through which U21 students can have exposure to new global work opportunities and where they can communicate their specialist knowledge, skills and talents to potential employers. Conversely, the CEOs of PwC’s clients will have access to a pool of world-class, skilled, motivated students, providing exclusive employability opportunities. This is an important new international student/employer initiative that will enhance and complement existing national university, employer and industry associations. It is a key principle of this initiative to avoid any conflict with existing bilateral relationships between individual U21 members and other multi-nationals.

PwC/U21 Innovation Challenge Competitions

The first initiative arising from the new collaboration between PwC and U21 will be an online competition platform provided by U21 where CEOs of PwC clients set contemporary, globally-important challenges to which U21 students ‘pitch’ online solutions to the companies. In this way PwC’s clients benefit from the opportunity of an early introduction to the best emerging talent from top-class universities around the world. It also allows PwC’s client CEOs to better identify where they may find students with the specific types of ideas and capacities needed by their industries.

For U21 students, the PwC/U21 competition gives them a platform to showcase their educational and research skills and to obtain earlier access to potential employers before the end of their studies, coupled with additional employability and training opportunities.

U21 already has considerable experience of involvement with online student competitions across the worldwide U21 student body, including the U21 Global Ingenuity Challenge (GIC) for undergraduate students and the annual U21 Three Minute Thesis [3MT®1] competition for PhD students. (The 3MT® is a registered trademark of the University of Queensland.)

This new competition will use some of the approaches already proven to be effective in these competitions, for example:

  1. Students’ responses to the CEO’s challenges will be in the form of online videos of 3-minute duration. This format and timescale has been used successfully by U21 in other competitions.
  2. Students’ presentations will be initially submitted to a local adjudication panel in their own university and an agreed small number of up to 3 videos will then be submitted to U21 for adjudication at regional level. It is possible that a representative from PwC in the local area can be available to assist in the adjudication at university level.
  3. U21 will store and share the finalist videos for adjudication. The final line-up of the adjudication panel to be agreed between U21 and PwC.
  4. Due to the differences in term/semester dates across the network, to minimize visa problem for students taking up actual opportunities with the companies and to run the competition with a more manageable number of institutions in its first iteration it has been decided to run 3 regional rounds of the competition in 2018/2019 (see Appendix 1 & 2 for regions).

Aspects of the Challenge Competition

  1. Prizes: Prizes for the best student videos will be offered by the CEOs of PwC’s clients. It has been discussed that these prizes should be primarily in the form of employment-focused opportunities, e.g. visits to companies, internships, shadowing opportunities, access to online training etc. As much as possible there will be a greater number of smaller rewards for applicants as well as one major prize per region, to encourage applications in future rounds. There may be opportunity for students to be awarded a mixture of actual, employment-focused opportunities in their country/region as well of on-line/virtual training and job preparation coaching via the PwC Academy is being explored. The exact nature of prizes may vary between regions. A commendation certificate (non-credit bearing) will be given to each student who enters the competition by U21/PwC.
  2. Student Entrants. The competition will be open to any registered graduate student in one of U21’s universities (this includes students from taught masters programmes, research masters programmes and PhDs). It will be the responsibility of each U21 university to check the registration status of any student that they send forward as a finalist for adjudication.
  3. Status of Applicants. All registered graduate students, entering the competition, regardless of their programme of study, will be adjudicated upon under the same criteria and will compete for the same prizes.
  4. Confidentiality and Intellectual Property (IP). In order to avoid queries on any IP issues associated with the students’ entry videos (for example, if a student refers to research under completion), when a student submits an entry for the competition, the entry process will specify that, by entering, competitors agree to uphold the competition regulations. These regulations will, inter alia, contain a statement that students take responsibility to check that their entry contains no reference to the intellectual property of another person and that they agree that their entry can be made public. (see draft regulations in Appendix 1 of the attached PDF).
  5. Role of the U21 Universities:
  • To identify an individual in the university to be a named link person with U21 for the competition.
  • To communicate information about the competition (provided by U21) to relevant student groups and to encourage students to apply.
  • If necessary, to offer general advice to students on the preparation of their entries. It is not envisaged that any professional videography is required to be provided for applicants.
  • To organize adjudication of entries at local university level and to submit up to 3 student videos for adjudication in the relevant regional round.


Please refer to the attached PDF document below.