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Innovation Challenge launched

Universitas 21 and PwC have launched a global competition to tackle real-world problems and link students and business at the U21 Annual General Meeting in Melbourne.

Melbourne played host to the competition launch. Photo: Flickr/ Francisco Anzola

Winners will be flown to Dubai as part of the city’s 2020 World Expo preparations

The Innovation Challenge invites any graduate student from U21’s member universities to comment on situations designed to represent the future challenges of the workforce.

“To reward creative, perceptive responses, we will give winners a VIP work experience”

“We and our clients want to invest in the skills of the future workforce… for example, up to 50% of the workforce is at risk of being disrupted by blockchain technology. We can shed light on problems like these as a collective, which students form an important part of,” explained Sally Jeffery, PwC education global leader.

“As part of the challenge, we have designed four ‘worlds’… modelled on the balance between a collectivist and individualist society,” she said.

“The red world is based on innovation. The blue world focuses on corporatism and business, the green on environmental sustainability and the yellow on humanism.”

The University of Birmingham’s vice-chancellor David Eastwood expressed his excitement at the promise of the Innovation Challenge.

“In the current age, international networks are crucial for students, researchers and academics to thrive. PwC is a great global organisation, like U21, and we look forward to creating many new opportunities in collaboration.”

Member universities have been placed in three groups based on institutional term dates. The challenge for the Asia and Oceania group, which comprises universities such as Sudan University, the University of Delhi and the University of Auckland is already underway. Students have been asked to consider the pros, cons and necessary skills of an automated ‘red world’.

The Americas and Asia group, containing institutions such as the University of British Columbia, begins the course in October, while the European universities, including the University of Birmingham, University of Nottingham and University of Edinburgh, will begin in January 2019.

“To reward creative, perceptive responses, we will give winners a VIP work experience opportunity to connect with some of the world’s leading CEOs, who will also make up the judging panels,” added Jeffery.

Winners will be flown to Dubai in conjunction with the city’s preparations to host the 2020 World Expo.

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