UK Global Grand Challenges Student Competition 2019

The competition is now closed.

The Royal Academy of Engineering is inviting university teams to participate in the Global Grand Challenges Student Competition 2019: a six-month competition to find the best student-developed solution to one of the global challenges, and an opportunity for students to develop their skills and expertise in developing transformational solutions to complex global issues.  


The UK competition

Twenty UK shortlisted teams took part in a two-day interactive workshop in April 2019, working with experts to explore the social, political and economic dimensions of global challenges and building the knowledge and tools needed to develop their proposed solutions to global challenges related to the Global Grand Challenges Summit 2019 theme.

Teams developed their innovations independently ahead of a competition showcase in June 2019. Five teams were selected to compete in the competition final on 13 September against teams from China and the USA:

1. Loughborough University 1: A modularised, off-grid toilet block that generates resources for urbanising communities in developing countries 

2. Loughborough University 2: Disaster relief shelter

3. University of Cambridge: Improving nutrition through dehydration innovation

4. University of Surrey: A post-harvest storage network for developing countries

5. Heriot-Watt Univeristy: Hive house

There will be a small cash prize for the winners of the competition between in-country teams from the UK, US, and China to be awarded during the Collaboration Lab. 

Global Collaboration Lab

All teams shortlisted in the UK Global Grand Challenges competition will be invited to a student Collaboration Lab event, held in London between 12-16 September 2019, alongside finalist teams from the USA and China. Please note that on 12 September 2019, there will be an icebreaking activity taking place in the afternoon. 

At the Collaboration Lab, students will be asked to form new mixed-country teams that will collaborate over the course of three days to develop new or improved innovations. They will pitch these innovations to judges on the final day of the event. Judges will then shortlist a number of mixed-country teams to present at the Global Grand Challenges Summit.


Global Grand Challenges Summit

All Student Competition teams will attend the Global Grand Challenges Summit on 16-18 September 2019 in the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the South Bank Centre in London. The winning mixed-country teams will also have the opportunity to present their Collaboration Lab innovations to an audience of engineers, researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and policymakers at the Summit.



The Academy will cover standard class rail travel / standard class air travel / mileage to London, accommodation, and food at the April, June and September events. Please note that we will cover tube transfers within London (you should endeavour to travel only between zone 1-2) only for the June Competition Showcase. However we are unable to cover external subsistence, airport transfers, parking fees, Wi-Fi outside of the venue, or Ultra Low Emission Zone fees.

Please note that the Academy will pay for standard class rail travel / standard class air travel / mileage to London and accomodation only for students and mentors coming from outside the Greater London area (but only from within the UK) for the April, June and September events outlined above.