Calling all Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions: the Global Challenge is Coming to Canada. Register your school!

The Skoll Centre at the University of OxfordRECODE, an initiative of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation; and the Trico Charitable Foundation, are partnering to bring the Global Challenge to Canada. We’re inviting Canadian higher education institutions to run the Global Challenge at their school, with the support of tools provided by the Skoll Centre. The Global Challenge offers students and recent graduates the opportunity to learn more about the issues they care about and present their findings to the world.

Canada is the only country to have this type of national effort with the Skoll Centre and the Global Challenge. 

Why run a Challenge at your School?

You and your students will be able learn how the Skoll Centre nurtures the key skill of deeply understanding problems before jumping into a solution (includes learning how to ‘map the ecosystem’ and the ‘impact canvas’). You will also have a chance to join 2-3 webinars for Global Challenge Champions at higher education institutions around the world, to gather new ideas, answer questions, and share resources.

Each participating institution will receive:

  • Tools to run their own local challenge (application forms, judging criteria, acceptance letters and certificates, a project plan, branding material, example fliers, etc).
  • Website with learning tools and resources for all Global Challenge entrants globally, as well as videos/learning resources shared directly with the Global Challenge Champions at each school to share with their local entrants.

Your students will also have the opportunity to:

  • Join the Global Challenge network, with access to new ideas, learning tools and resources.
  • Win one of two cash prizes of $2,500 at the Canadian final event (mid-March 2017).
  • The two winning Canadian teams/individuals will also have the chance to apply for up to $10,000 each to run Apprenticing with a Problem—funding to further their Challenge findings by doing a secondment, research project, or internship.
  • The two winning Canadian teams/individuals will also have the chance to present their findings at the Global Challenge Final at the University of Oxford, UK where they can:
  1. Win one of three cash prizes at the UK Global Challenge Final
  2. Win tickets to the 2018 Skoll World Forum On Social Entrepreneurship.


The Global Challenge is open to all higher education students, including undergraduates, graduates, doctoral students, and recent graduates who completed their studies within 12 months of the competition. We do not distinguish between degree/diploma subjects and levels when marking submissions as we are looking for the strongest submissions, regardless of a student’s age or subject area, though each partner institution is welcome to set their own application requirements.

What is the cost?

This is a not-for-profit initiative. Through the support of RECODE and the Trico Charitable Foundation, core competition costs such as content development, final event costs, the costs to bring in high-calibre global judges, transportation and prize money are covered. We are seeking a contribution of $1,500 CAD from participating institutions. Travel and accommodation to the Oxford Global Challenge Final will be covered for the two teams that win the Canadian final.

Key Dates

October 14, 2016 — Register your institution

To participate in the 2017 Global Challenge, register your institution using our online form by October 14th.


The Global Challenge is open to all Higher Education institutions in Canada. Once registered, and you have committed to provide the $1,500 CAD participation fee, you will receive an information pack which includes guidance documents, recommended timelines and processes, judging criteria, and a editable poster for promotion to your students.

October 20 – December 20, 2016 — Student registration open

We will send you the link to an online form where students can register to participate in the Challenge. Students are required to submit their proposed topic and the names of the individual or team members wishing to participate.

The Oxford team will send you periodic updates on how many of your students have registered, and the final list of registered students. This gives you an opportunity to provide students with feedback on the suitability of their chosen topic so that any adjustments may be made before the final submissions deadline in early February.

February 6, 2017 — Final student submissions

Students must submit their final materials for review by your local judging committee through a channel of your choice. We ask that you share all applications with the Oxford team, for our records.

February 6 – 24, 2017 — Shortlisting and selection by judges

Each institution may determine who will review and select their students’ entries to the Global Challenge – we recommend a panel of at least 3 experienced judges, including someone from the centre/department managing the Challenge at your institution. Your institution may wish to hold a local pitching event, or select the winner through review of submissions alone.

Once selected, your institution’s winning team or individual will be invited to the Canadian final competition taking place in March.

March 2017 — Canadian final pitching competition

At the national competition, teams from across Canada will compete to win a place at the Global Challenge Final in Oxford. The event will likely take place in the Greater Toronto area, with an exact date to be confirmed.

The two winning teams or individuals from the Canadian final will receive prize money and be invited to the Global Challenge Final event in Oxford.

April 30 – May 1, 2017 — Oxford Global Challenge Final event

The final event will be held at the University of Oxford, UK, where teams from all over the world will pitch for the three top prizes.

Participants will benefit from personalised feedback from a panel of expert judges, who work in impact-focused organizations such as private foundations, impact investment firms and social enterprises. Furthermore, finalists will have the opportunity to build relationships with students from a range of other schools, all of whom are passionate about positive social change.

In addition to the final pitch event, finalists will attend a gala dinner in Oxford, where they will be addressed by an influential social impact leader. The Global Challenge Champion from the partner institution or other representative is welcome to join the winning team in Oxford.

For more information about The Global Challenge,


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