The University of Amsterdam (UvA) and University of Nottingham are the joint winners of the U21 2017 Global Ingenuity Challenge. The theme of this year’s challenge, which is organised by Universitas 21, was ‘Promoting Cultural Inclusiveness in Society. A team from the UvA was awarded first prize for its 'Unify' entry.
The UvA received first prize for its 'Unify' entry, a proposed app that would facilitate home and international student interaction through academic and social activities while also providing a platform for further interactive engagement. The 'YOCO' entry from the University of Nottingham encouraged inclusivity by putting forward solutions to a problem that all students face - making new friends.
Guido de Wilde, Global Programmes Coordinator at the UvA, is delighted with the result. ‘It was a pleasure and a privilege to be the ingenuity facilitator for the UvA teams and to see all our talented students produce such high-quality work. A particular reward is of course to see one of the teams win, but it is a much greater reward to see eighteen (local and international) UvA students working together and successfully engage on a global platform to find creative solutions for a challenging problem.’
Rogier Jansen, Bachelor’s student in Economics and Business at the UvA and a member of the winning team, adds: ‘Working in a diverse team where everyone feels included and can challenge each other’s ideas, helps to come up with better solutions. The Ingenuity platform is a nice way to structure your thoughts and come up with practical solutions to wide ranging problems.’
Professor James Conroy, Chair of the judging panel, commended the high standard of entries this year: ‘The Global Ingenuity Challenge continues to attract entries of the highest quality from across our universities. Indeed, judging the best is itself a challenge for the panel as so many of this year’s entries combined wonderful presentational skills and innovative solutions, reflecting the passion to constantly nurture intercultural understanding and engagement. The best entries skilfully combined clever media presentation, clarity of thought and innovative solutions that reached out to communities beyond the university. From apps that enabled work with civic bodies to cleverly organised evening soirees the creativity on display is a reminder of just how talented our students are.’
This year marked the third iteration of the U21 Global Ingenuity Challenge in which fifteen teams from 9 universities participated in the challenge. Since its inception, the challenge has involved a total of forty teams (approximately 200 students). A broad theme is selected each 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. The challenge (which requires students to distil their solutions into a 3-minute video) is facilitated through Ingenuity Online; a creative problem solving tool developed by the University of Nottingham’s Business School’s Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Universitas 21 Provost Professor Bairbre Redmond, said: ''One of the best things about being an academic in one of U21’s universities is the privilege of working with our bright, innovative, and globally aware students. This energy and social concern was clearly evident in every one of 15 videos prepared recently by teams of U21 undergraduate students, from across the network, for the U21 GIC. Working to the competition brief to come up with easily implementable solutions to "promoting cultural inclusiveness in society" the teams developed approaches which were indeed ingenious and distilled these ideas into short engaging videos. I warmly congratulate the winners and all those who took part - your universities should be very proud of how you all went about tackling a very serious world issue.'
Universitas 21 is a network of 25 research-led universities around the world. It aims to promote and achieve collaboration, co-operation and work of a comprehensive nature, drawing on a strong bond of collegiality found between similarly-minded universities all of whom occupy a highly-regarded status in their respective global regions and among the global league tables.