New PwC/U21 Collaboration: Innovation Challenge Competitions

09 January 2018
New PwC/U21 Collaboration: Innovation Challenge Competitions







U21/PwC Innovation Challenge 2018-19

Guide for Institutions

Take part in the Innovation Challenge

U21 member institutions are invited to take part in U21/PwC’s first ever Innovation Challenge.

The challenge itself will enable U21 students to respond to situations faced by the workforce of the future, to which they can apply their current knowledge and experience. Universitas 21 and PwC, two globally-focused organisations, are working 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 aims to give U21 students early exposure to global work opportunities, and the opportunity to communicate their specialist knowledge, skills and talents to potential employers. PwC’s client companies will benefit from the opportunity of an early introduction to the best emerging talent from top-class universities around the world



Who can take part?

The competition will be open to any registered graduate student in one of U21’s member 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.  Students on joint PhDs between two U21 members will be eligible to apply. NOTE: As some of the prizes may involve time in a company undertaking training, internships etc., students who enter the competition should ensure that they are in a position to take up any such workplace opportunities within a reasonable time period.



The competition is divided over 3 groups (A, B & C). One winning proposal will be selected from the finalists in each round. The overall winners for each of the three rounds will be awarded an VIP exclusive work experience opportunity in Dubai sponsored by PwC specifically tailored to the student’s career development needs. Other smaller prizes which may be actual, employment-focused opportunities in the students’ country/round as well as on-line/virtual training and job preparation coaching will be given to runners-up. Prizes may vary from group to group.


A non-credited commendation certificate will be given to each student who enters the competition by U21/PwC.






There are 3 separate groups/rounds, based on institutional term dates. Please take note of the dates and deadlines relevant to your group.


The U21 member universities included in Group A:

University of Melbourne


U. of Queensland

University of Auckland

Fudan University

Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Waseda University

University of Delhi

Important Dates for Group A
Challenge for Group A announced: Monday 23 April 2018
Final date for receipt of videos by U21: Friday 25 May 2018
Judging to take place week beginning 4 June 2018


The U21 member universities included in Group B:

Pontifical University of Chile

Tec de Monterrey

Hong Kong University

University of Connecticut

National University of Singapore

University of Maryland

Korea University


McMaster University











Important dates for Group B
Challenge for Group B announced: Monday 8 October 2018
Judging to take place week beginning 19 November 


The U21 member universities included in Group C:

University of Johannesburg

University of Nottingham

University of Edinburgh

University College Dublin

University of Glasgow

University of Amsterdam

Lund University

University of Zurich

University of Birmingham











Important dates for Group C:
Challenge for Group B announced: Monday 21 January 2019
Final date for receipt of videos by U21: Friday 22 February 2019
Judging to take place week beginning 4 March 2019 



Why take part?

The Innovation Challenge is about increasing U21 students’ employment opportunities by providing a direct connection to PwC and their company client base; PwC client CEOs will be involved in judging the final rounds, and PwC will be providing a tailored VIP experience for the winner of each Group. By taking part, students will not only benefit from this exclusive interaction, but also a chance to develop their presentation and employability skills at the same time.

Registering your University to take part in the Challenge

Challenges will be released to registered U21 institutions on the application date shown for each group. Each group will be given a different challenge to respond to. Universities need to register for the competition with U21 (Group A universities intending to enter should do this as soon as possible, Group B & C universities can register at any time from now up to the start of their group's round). We ask that one person is identified as the contact person in your university for the competition when you register.


Judging Criteria

The following set of criteria should guide universities to assess content and presentation skills when choosing their three finalists. These are the criterial which will be used by competition adjudicators for the final of each round in order to select the winning candidates.


Comprehension and Content

  • Did the presenter give a clear and persuasive response to the question? - i.e. familiarity with the background material, a coherent set of key considerations
  • Were any conclusions and recommendations clear and easy to follow?
  • Did the speaker provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation (or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect and/or was the presentation rushed)?


Engagement and Communication

  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for the challenge and genuine interest in the problem?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain your attention? (e.g. sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; ability to maintain a steady pace and confident stance)
  • Did a PowerPoint slide (if used) enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?
  • Did the presentation make you want to know more from this student, did you consider them to have good employability potential?



In the first place students submit their entries to their own university, who will hold its own internal selection process to choose the three best entries. The successful finalists (max. 3 from each institution) will submit their entry proposals in video format to U21; these should  be uploaded via the U21 website for adjudication.



Rules for submission

  • Entries are limited to 3 per U21 institution.
    • Submissions must be via video format, either an MP4 file or .MOV. Files sent in the wrong format will not be accepted.
    • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding this will be disqualified.
    • Use of slides are permitted but presentations limited to 1 slide per presentation.
      • The video must have only one camera angle filmed from a static position. Zoom in and out from the static position is acceptable.
      • The 3-minute audio must be continuous – no edits or breaks etc.
      • Presentations are to be spoken word only (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
        • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech (timing does not include the title slide).
        • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording. 
        • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.


Confidentiality and Intellectual Property

Students are warned to avoid any breach of IP in their entry videos (for example, if a student refers to research under completion). The competition regulations for entries will, inter alia, contain a statement that students take responsibility to check that their entries contain no reference to the intellectual property of another person and that they agree that their entries can be made public. When a student submits an entry for the competition the entry process will specify that, by doing so, competitors agree to uphold these competition regulations.


For further details contact


Dr Connie Wan                                                                       Prof Bairbre Redmond

Researcher Engagement Manager                                                             Provost

Universitas 21                                                                                        Universitas 21