Global Challenge Lab
Global Challenge Lab 23 has now ended; scroll down to watch the winning teams’ pitch videos.
Interested? Why not pre-register for next year’s programme.
About Global Challenge Lab:
Join students from across the world to form international teams and generate solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges and work towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Learn new skills, meet new people and win a share of the prize fund.
In 2023 the Challenge focused on goal number seven: Affordable and Clean Energy.
What is Global Challenge Lab?
The Global Challenge Lab is a virtual entrepreneurship programme run in partnership with Tsinghua University’s x-lab in Beijing and the Technical University of Munich.
Each year Imperial Enterprise Lab works with global university partners to bring together hundreds of students and alumni to grow their international network, gain new skills and create new ideas that help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Students from all disciplinary background are welcome in our 14-day hackathon, with optional workshops, guest speakers and mentoring. At the end of the programme, top teams from each track have the opportunity to pitch their ideas and win a share of the prize fund. Scroll down to read more about this year’s winners!
14-day entrepreneurship programme
Mixed teams – a team size of 3-6 members and each team must include participants from at least 2 different institutions
Access to energy is critical for economic development and improved quality of life, but many people around the world still lack reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy sources. This challenge requires you to think creatively and develop new approaches to tackle the complex issues surrounding energy access and sustainability.
You will work together to identify key problems, brainstorm solutions, and build prototypes or models that can address these issues. We encourage you to collaborate, share your skills, and think outside the box as we aim to create actionable ideas that can make a real impact in the world.
Students will form international teams to innovate within tracks. As a team, you must choose one of the three tracks below to innovate within. Each track has 2 winners, who progress to the final.
How might we provide affordable and reliable electricity for those hardest to reach?
How might we make energy systems more resilient to extreme weather and other disruptions?
Energy Usage and Efficiency
How might we motivate people and organisations to save energy and reduce their energy consumption?
Understand the factors that contribute to achieving UN SDG 7 from a global perspective
- You must be a current enrolled student or alumnus (no more than 3 years since graduation) from one of the partner universities: Imperial College, University of Durham, London school of Economics, the American University in Beirut, University of Queensland, Indian institute of Science Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Tsinghua University, University of Sao Paulo, University of Ghana, Technical University of Munich, University of Geneva, University of Toronto, Cornell University, Sciences Po, University of Tokyo, University of Lagos, University of Hanoi, Denmark Technical University, The New School, University of Panama, TEA-LP, University of California.
- You must be available for the final event on Tuesday 18 July 2023.
- You can join as an individual and we will help you find a team, or you can join with others, providing they are a student at a partner university. You can have no more than two people from the same university in your team.
- The programme is designed to help you generate new ideas, you should not be entering with fully formed ideas or ventures.
The challenge ran from 6 – 18 July 2023 comprising of a series of workshops, talks and networking sessions across multiple time zones. Attending all the sessions isn’t compulsory, although participation is encouraged.
1 July - Registration deadline
Make sure you register to join the challenge before 23:59 GMT+1 on 1 July 2023.
3 - 5 July (pre-programme) - Networking and team formation
Form international teams of 3-6 members. Each team must include participants from at least 2 different institutions. Teams must be confirmed on 6th July.
6 July onwards - Programme takes place
Optional and core keynotes, workshops, masterclasses, mentoring and networking to help develop your idea.
14 July - Deadline for pitch submissions
All submissions are due (12 EST/ 15 BST/22 CST) to be considered for the final.
15 July - Top teams announced
The top 6 teams named will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas and win a share of a £10,000 prize fund!
18 July - Live final and closing ceremony
Challenge finalists pitch to an industry leading panel for a share of the cash prize. If you are applying to take part in the Challenge, you must be available for this event.
Can I join with my friends/classmates?
Teams must be made up of students or recent alumni from partner universities, you will need to have a minimum of 3 partner universities represented on your team. You can join a team with your classmates as long as you meet this requirement. We will help you to form a team at the start of the programme.
Can I bring my own startup idea to the challenge?
The programme is designed to help you generate new ideas, you should not be entering with fully formed ventures.
Do I need to be fluent in English?
Do I need to have technical expertise, such as that in a traditional ‘hack’?
How do I form a team?
If you want to join a team with a classmate or friend you are welcome to do so, providing they are from a partner university. If you are joining alone, we will arrange a series of structured and guided networking sessions to help you meet students from other universities. There will also be a Slack channel for you to meet and introduce yourself.
Can I submit multiple projects?
Who owns my IP?
The Challenge is an ‘Open Hack’ meaning that neither the organisers, nor the Sponsors have any claim to the intellectual property generated by the participants at the Challenge. However, the status of the ownership of any pre-existing intellectual property generated outside the Challenge that you might use in connection with your idea/project will remain unchanged and will continue to be owned by those that owned it before Challenge.
Who can I speak to for more information?
What if I have class and cannot attend a session?
Do I have to attend every workshop?
Ideally you would attend as many as you can, but we will be recording them if you can’t attend and want to watch them back. At least two members of your team should be available on Tuesday 18 July 2023 in case you make it to the final!
Will all the sessions be delivered in UK working hours? What if I’m in another country?
Who are the mentors?
Will the prizes be awarded in UK Currency?
Register your interest
Watch the pitch videos created by our 3 winning teams:
A technology designed by students from Imperial and The New School that harnesses anaerobic digestion to convert biogas from food waste into clean energy, providing a sustainable power generation solution.
Students from Imperial, University of Toronto, University of Sao Paulo, and Indian Institute of Technology Madras teamed up to produce a model that employs machine learning to optimise heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems inside commercial buildings, achieving smarter, greener workplaces.
This collaborative effort by students from Hanoi University of Science and Technology, University of Toronto, University of Sao Paulo, and UnternehmerTUM draws on slime mould’s ability to form the shortest networks to facilitate affordable and reliable access to electricity.