Global Ingenuity Challenge

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

Global Ingenuity Challenge 2017


The innovative U21 Global Ingenuity Challenge (GIC) was launched in February 2015. This on-line competition challenges teams of undergraduate students to come-up with solutions to real-life issues. A broad theme is selected every year that allows for an interdisciplinary approach to solutions and analysis, so that it appeals to a wide range of students and disciplines across the network.

‘Ingenuity’ is a tried and tested process for creative problem solving and radical (as opposed to incremental) innovation developed at Nottingham University’s Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. As an approach to invention and solution generation, it has been used very effectively by several thousand students, hundreds of SMEs, and large organisations such as universities, the UK’s National Health Service, Alliance Boots and many others. The process has a three-fold structure: defining the problem to be solved, identifying a wide range of possibilities, before finally determining the most appropriate solution. Students and facilitators are supported by an interactive web-based platform: Ingenuity OnLine (IOL). 



The theme for the 2017 GIC is ‘Promoting Cultural Inclusiveness in Society’. Through this theme, we ask students to reflect on how they can be a force for change (on campus and beyond) through promoting a culturally inclusive environment and in supporting diversity. More specific criteria on the theme will be provided to participants at the commencement of the challenge in March 2017.


Team Size

Each member university is invited to register at least one team for the 2017 Ingenuity Challenge. U21 will fund the first team from each member institution. 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.

The time commitment per student has been estimated (based on previous challenges) at approx. 10 hours per challenge.


Ingenuity Facilitators

Each participating university must select one ingenuity facilitator (member of staff). Facilitators are expected to play a hands-on role throughout the challenge - they are responsible for the administration of the challenge, the registration of the team(s), and for uploading the final video entry to the platform. They will be the key communication contact at their institution. In addition, at the end of the competition, they will advise the SE Manager of their team’s choice for the Peers’ Choice Award.

The overall time commitment per facilitator is estimated (based on previous challenges) at approx. 4 - 5 hours per challenge.



A judging panel will determine the 1st, 2nd, and 3rdplace winners. Each student on the winning team will win an Apple iPad 2*.  The prize for second place is a $100 Apple voucher (per team member) and the third-place prize is a $50 Apple voucher (per team member).  In addition, a Peers’ Choice Award is chosen by students who participate in the challenge who review the videos submitted by their peers and vote for one of them (not their own). Winners of the Peers’ Choice Award will receive a $100 Apple Voucher (per team member). All participants will receive a U21 goodie bag.



Teams must complete the challenge within a two-week period (see timeline section below for further information). At the start of this two-week period, facilitators will share further specifics on the overall theme of ‘Promoting Cultural Inclusiveness in Society’ with the students. During the two-week project incubation, students will have an opportunity to invite comments from trusted advisors. At the end of the two-week period, students must have distilled their ideas into a three-minute video presentation or pitch, which forms the basis of their entry into the competition.

Note: Technical support will be provided by IOL staff team during this process.


How to apply

Each individual member university coordinates team participation. Students interested in being considered for a place in their university's teams should contact their International Office (or equivalent) for further information on how to apply.



The participation fee for the first team from each member institution will be covered by U21. Additional teams are also welcome to participate, at a registration fee of £175 per team, payable to the University of Nottingham.






Key Dates


15 February 2017


Deadline for U21 member institutions to:

  • confirm entry
  • provide estimate of number of participating teams (if possible)
  • provide a facilitator contact name and email address

Please email with this information.

17 February – 3 March 2017

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

Note: Staff from the University of Nottingham will be available to answer any questions on the use of the platform during this time.

6 – 31 March 2017


Student teams will work on the challenge over a two-week time slot within this four-week period. The team’s facilitator will upload the 3-minute video pitch (videos longer than 3 minutes will be disqualified) at the end of the two-week period.

Note: Technical support will be provided by the University of Nottingham’s IOL team during this time.

3 – 28 April 2017

Judging panel (comprising senior U21 members and representatives from the business community) will choose the best solution and video pitch.

The Peer’s Choice Award will also be determined during this time.

Note: The judges’ view will be final.





Bernice Molloy, Student Experience Cluster Manager (


Further Information

Information (with links to the video entries) on the 2015 and 2016 iterations of the GIC is available below:

GIC 2015: The 2015 Global Ingenuity Challenge focussed on a solution to one of the world’s most pressing problems: how do we move people around in cities? The winning idea was Project Step City, devised by a team of students at the University of New South Wales, Australia. The People’s Choice Award (judged by the all the participants in the competition) was awarded to a team from the University of Queensland, Australia.

GIC 2016: The 2016 Global Ingenuity Challenge focussed on the challenge of sustainable housing. A team of students from Korea University and the University of Connecticut were jointly awarded the top prize. The team from Korea University addressed the isolation of a single person household in a fast-growing economy while the students from the University of Connecticut approached the problem of urban decay in the United States through the model of microfinancing. The Peer's Choice Award was another tie between Korea and Lund Universities.



*RRP £379. Colour and model subject to change with availability. Prize cannot be exchanged for monetary value, RRP for guideline purposes only. Please note Apple Vouchers cannot be exchanged for monetary value.  


Bernice Molloy
SE Cluster Manager