Challenge Hosts

Find out more about the programme and how you can get involved.

What is Students as Change Agents?

Students as Change Agents is a safe 'living lab' approach for students, staff, and challenge hosts to tackle real-life challenges and generate fresh thinking. It involves students from multiple disciplines, who want to make a social impact. 

The programme offers a unique opportunity for selected organisations from the private, public, and third sectors to experience the exceptionally motivated and talented students at the University of Edinburgh. 

As a challenge host, you will benefit from the innovative approaches that the students bring to the table to solve the most pressing problems in society today. You will have the opportunity to work with both students and staff and explore further collaborations, particularly on data-driven innovation.

How does it work?

Undergraduate and postgraduate students from different academic backgrounds sign up to participate in the programme, expressing their motivation to be a 'Change Agent'. The team matches the students with their preferred challenge and puts them into groups of 6-8 from different subjects and degree levels. 

The students receive training throughout the programme, covering design thinking, the value of using data in tackling problems and effective teamwork. They work both independently and as part of a team to tackle their challenge, with support from staff members and the host organisation(s).

What are we looking for from challenge hosts?

We welcome organisations who:

  • Are open to innovation and welcome fresh thinking from the next generation of talent.
  • Have complex challenges that the organisation or their sector is currently facing.
  • Are willing to share their expertise and knowledge with the students to help them develop their skills, understanding and networks. 
  • Can provide students with access to relevant datasets to inform their work.

What sort of challenges are appropriate?

A good challenge needs to be explained in a clear and simple manner in order to catch the attention of students. The challenge needs to highlight how students can make a potential difference in society. A challenge that is time-limited, restricted in impact, or commercial will not appeal to students. Examples of appropriate challenges include:

  • Real-world issues with social, environmental, or economic impact.
  • Wicked problems, or cross-cutting problems, that have innumerable causes and, therefore, are unlikely to have one right answer.
  • Challenges that do not require in-depth technical knowledge in one field.

Previous challenge questions

Since 2019, we have partnered with over 30 organisations from the private, public and third sector. If you are interested in the challenges we have addressed so far, please click here.



If you would like to discuss hosting a challenge for the programme, please contact: