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Sustainable Development Goals

All of our Challenges topics link to the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Grand Challenges

Grand Challenges

Grand Challenges

Our 2022 Challenges

There are four Challenges taking place on our Streatham Campus in 2022. 

Mental Health - Challenge information and Past projects! 

Social Inequality - Challenge information and Past projects! 

Our Climate and Environment Emergency Challenge is running on both the Penryn Campus and Streatham Campus:

Climate and Environment Emergency - Challenge information and Past projects!

There is also one Challenge completely online in 2022: 

Planetary Health- Challenge information and Past projects!  

For any queries prior to Grand Challenges Week, please email 

For any queries during Grand Challenges week, visit the Grand Challenges information point in the centre of the Forum Street, or contact us at or 01392 723232 

Everyone who completes Grand Challenges will receive a digital certificate and have participation recorded on their HEAR, which records details of all your non course-related engagement during your time at University 

To have your participation in Grand Challenges recognised, you need to complete the following: 

You can submit your work and monitor your progress on your Grand Challenges Handshake page

Timetable for Grand Challenges Week – 6-10th June 


Grand Challenges will run from 9am-5pm each day.  

Each Challenge has its own personalised timetable of events, which will be a mixture of external speakers and having time to work on your projects in your groups. Your personalised timetable for the week will be on iExeter prior to Grand Challenges Week. 

You will be assigned to a group when you arrive on Monday morning, and the aim of the week is to create a project that aims to a make a difference in the area of your Challenge topic. You will also receive structured support throughout the week from facilitators and students who have previously taken part in Grand Challenges. 

Friday, 10 June 2022

09:00-10:45 (09:30 start for Climate Challenge) – Presentations in your Challenge groups – session 1 

10:45-11:00 – Break 

11:00-12:30 – Presentations in your Challenge groups – session 2 

12:30-13:30 – Lunch break, and a couple of students from each group go to the Forum to set up for the showcase 

13:30-16:00 - Grand Finale and Celebration 

13:30-14:30 - Presentations with all Challenges in the Forum Alumni Auditorium (Planetary Health joining online) 

14:30-16:00 – Showcase of projects in the Forum Street with drinks reception (Planetary Health can join remotely) 

This is a chance to showcase what you’ve done to other students, staff, members of the public and special guests, and to see what students on other Challenges have produced. 

There will also be speeches from University VIPs, drinks, nibbles and a live music performance from Illuminations. 

Optional Sessions Before/During Grand Challenges Week 

There are a series of open sessions running before Grand Challenges and throughout the week that are designed to support you with the creation of your output. These sessions are optional – you can decide if you think any of these sessions will be useful for you and your group. 

Optional Pre-Grand Challenges Week skills training sessions  

Between 24th May-1st June (the two weeks before Grand Challenges), there are a series of optional skills sessions available to book onto that focus on transferable skills for all aspects of your challenge. You can find out more and book on to these sessions here,  

Grand Challenges Weekskills training sessions 

There are some optional Grand Challenges Skills training sessions running on Tuesday of Grand Challenges Week. These sessions are all optional and you should only attend if you think that any of them will be helpful in the creation of the group output(s) that you are making during the week. Most of these sessions are run both online and in-person. 

More information, including a list of skills sessions running, can be found here. You can book onto skills sessions by following this link  

Fab Lab  

The FabLab and Makerspace in Harrison will be available for you to book on and use during Grand Challenges week. There are a wide variety of options and materials to choose from to create your project, including a 3D printer, embroidering machine, and a wide variety of wood, screws and other materials to create your prototypes.  

For the FabLab, there may be some prerequisites, such as an understanding of computer aided design. Book on to the induction session on Handshake to find out more and contact us at with any questions.

Presentation Surgery 

On Thursday, you have the opportunity to get support from a presentation coach. There are appointments running throughout the day, and students can book on these on a ‘first come first served’ basis. You can book on to these sessions by emailing 


Professional Printing at Print Services 

Printing during the week is paid for by Grand Challenges. When using printers across campus, you will not be charged during the week.  

How to access printing: 

  • Each group will be given a unique user account on the Monday of Grand Challenges. This for logging in to and submitting your work on the Print Services online portal 

  • On the Print portal website, you will need to select the option ‘show advanced login options’ to login. 

  • You will need to ensure you are submitting any printing using your group’s unique user account, to ensure that you aren’t charged for the printing.   

Make sure to add the Grand Challenges logo to your output! This can be found here! 

Printing in different sizes: 

Print Services have produced a guidance document for printing posters.  

For large format printing (anything over A3), you will need to select Northcote House as the collection point, when submitting via the Print Services online portal. 

24 hours’ notice is required for all requests so: 

  • Anything needed for Friday morning presentations needs to be sent to Print Services by the end of Wednesday 

Anything needed for the Friday afternoon showcase needs to be sent to Print Services by 12:30 on Thursday.

When submitting your requests, please ensure that you do the following: 

  • Select the ‘Grand Challenges’ Option on the homepage list of product options. 

  • Make sure that ‘Grand Challenges’ is included in the job title and the name of your Challenge is included in the title of the document. 

  • Please select ‘pay at store’ as the payment option. The printing will be paid for by Grand Challenges. 

  • In the ‘special instructions’ box, put when you need the printing to be completed by (remembering that it needs to be at least 24 hours’ notice). 

If you are unable to give 24 hours’ notice, you should call Print Services on 01392 723068 to see if they can accommodate their request. 

For smaller format printing (anything A3 or less), you can select either the Forum collection point or Northcote House collection point, when submitting via the Print Services online portal. 

Throughout Monday-Wednesday, the Forum collection point is able to turn around orders relatively quickly, however 24 hours’ notice is required for any printing towards the end of the week. So: 

  • Anything needed for Friday morning presentations needs to be sent to Print Services by the end of Wednesday 

  • Anything needed for the Friday afternoon showcase needs to be sent to Print Services by 12:30 on Thursday. 

If you are unable to give 24 hours’ notice, you should call Print Services on 01392 723068 to see if they can accommodate their request. 


If you are planning to carry out a piece of primary research such as an online survey or interview, you need to do the following: 

  1. Make sure that your research proposal is within the ethical parameters set out for Grand Challenges, and that your facilitator or academic gives you verbal approval of your idea before you carry it out. 

  1. Before carrying out any of your research, fill in the gaps and the empty box on the template consent form for online activities or for Face-to-face activitiesadding in details of your Challenge and your specific activity/survey. 

  1. If you want to Photograph, video or audio record a participant, there is an additional photo/video consent form that they need to fill out. 

  1. You must ensure that everyone who takes part in the research signs a consent form.  

  1. For each consent form, one copy should be given to the participant for reference, and you should keep the signed copy of the form and give it to your Challenge Student Programme Assistant. 

If you are carrying out online research, you should copy the text from the template consent form on to a page at the start of the survey, for participants to read and agree to. If you are carrying out online surveys, you should use either Microsoft Forms or Qualtrics. 

Getting consent from people taking part in research: 

For all research, you must get the consent of the people taking part. 

Online surveys 

At the start of the survey, you should write a paragraph that explains the purpose of your research. Underneath this, you should have a tick box, with the following text and link: 

‘I have read the details of this research and information about how my data will be used, and I consent to taking part’ [add tick box] 

For other research where the participants are known 

Before carrying out you research, you should fill in the gaps and the empty box on the Word document template consent form by adding in details of your Challenge and your specific activity/survey. Students must ensure that everyone who takes part in their research signs a consent form. 

For the photography and recording consent forms, you should make sure that your consenting participants are ‘traceable’ by either making a note, for example, of which order they are speaking in, what colour clothing they are wearing, time or date stamp on the video, or what they are doing/talking about etc.  

This is so that the Grand Challenges Team can identify that consent has been obtained for the photos/videos/audio clips of people included in your outputs.  This is important as bystanders who have not consented can be eliminated from any images and the participant has an option to become blurred or voice distorted if they wish. 

Equipment and Facility Use: Streatham Campus 

Equipment that can be given out from the Forum: 

The following equipment can be given out from the Grand Challenges information desk in the Forum: 

  • Pencils 

  • Large sheets of matt paper 

Equipment that can be loaned out from the Forum (Streatham campus):  

We have a series of cameras, tripods and Dictaphones that are available to loan out throughout the week. You can loan these out from the Grand Challenges information desk in the centre of the Forum Street.   

We only have a limited number of each of these, and so you will only be able to borrow for a limited time and may need to book in advance to ensure they are available.  

Book and collect equipment from the Grand Challenges information desk in the Forum.  

Video Editing 

There is free video editing software available for you to use which can be downloaded online here are some examples:  

Final Cut X and Logic Pro X software are also available in a multimedia room on campus. Please contact the Grand Challenges Team if you wish to use this room. We need advance notice if you wish to use this room, so please let us know early in the week if you think you will.  

Web resources 

There is a wealth of web resources that students can use for carrying out initial research. A few key ones that students will hopefully know about already are:  

University Digital Library – can search for books, journals, articles etc 

Box of Broadcasts – a database of most TV shows shown on Freeview channels within the last 10 hours. Students can log in with their University of Exeter account 

Wikipedia – good for getting an initial overview on a topic and stimulating further reading, but should never be cited 

Streatham campus: purchasing items during the week 

There are small funds available for you on each Challenge to purchase items for to support your outputs during the week. If you wish to purchase something, you need to: 

  1. Speak to your academic/facilitator who will need to authorise the purchase 

  1. Speak to the Grand Challenges team at the information point in the Forum Street. The purchase will either be made online, or students will be given cash. 

  1. If it is decided that the item needs to be purchased by cash, you will need to provide a receipt to the Grand Challenges Central Team in the Forum. Cash will be given in exchange for the receipt. 

There is support and funding available for you to continue working on your projects after Grand Challenges Week. The details of various initiatives at the University that can provide this support are below.  

On the Streatham face to face Challenges, representatives from each University initiative will be available at a drop-in session 14:00-16:00 on 9th June in Newman Collaborative, Peter Chalk Building. This is a great opportunity for you to discuss your project with them.  

On the online and Penryn Challenge, there will also be a short online session on 9th June 13:30-14:00, which will explain the different ways to continue your project. 

Support after Grand Challenges 

Be The Change  

Be the Change is an environmental sustainability campaigning society at Exeter. Their focus is to encourage and support students on projects of environmental awareness and action. They run different projects termly, some examples from this year include a COP26 project where some members got funding to go up to Glasgow and an intersectional environmentalism project where they created a session all about the basics and spoke at the first 'Environmental Conference'. They have also run a 5 demands campaign, highlighting that the Uni isn't doing enough to fight the climate crisis and putting pressure on them for more positive change!  

For further information please contact 

Students as Change Agents/Partners 

If the project is focused around change at the University or at the Guild, you can register it as a Students as Change Agents or Partners project. ‘Change Agents’ is for those taking a leading role in running the project, or ‘Partners’ is for those who are working with staff to deliver the project. 

Students as Change Agents provides you with training and support, a framework for continuing your project, and their project will be recorded on your degree transcript. 

For more information contact 

Student Start-Ups  

Whether you want to launch a new app, start a social enterprise, develop an innovative new product, the Student Startup Team are here to encourage and support your ambitions. The team bring valuable skills and experience to our programmes which are designed to support you from idea to launch to long-term growth and sustainability. We do this through workshops, peer-to-peer network building, advice, support and access to early-stage funding. 

For further information get in touch with us at 

Grand Challenges & the Undergraduate Research Showcase 

If you are making a research poster during Grand Challenges, then it could be eligible to enter into the Undergraduate Research Showcase, an annual competition that gives you the opportunity to win funded places to present your work at the Houses of Parliament, or at the British Conference of Undergraduate Research. 

If you are considering entering your poster in this competition in the next academic year, that take a look at the guidance and training and criteria for entry  If you have any questions, please contact: 

The University’s Environment & Climate Emergency Team

If your project has the potential to support the University’s response to the Environment and Climate Emergency, the team is available to discuss and provide guidance on next steps to continue developing your ideas at

Funding after Grand Challenges 

Annual Fund 

You can apply for funding for your project from the University’s Annual Fund. In your application, you would need to demonstrate how your project will impact on the student experience (which can include the personal development of themselves and their team). 


You can use the University’s crowdfunding platform to raise funds for your project. Crowdfunding projects raise lots of small amounts of money from many people. For help and support designing your page and promoting your project, you can contact 

During Grand Challenges Week, please spread the word about the exciting things that you are getting up to, by posting photos, videos and updates on social media using the hashtag #GCExeter. 

Make sure your follow our socials for updates throughout the week! 

Future Food
Planetary Health
Social Inequality
Student Mental Health
Benefits of Grand Challenges

Grand Challenges gives you the opportunity to meet like-minded people and develop a wide range of transferable skills including teamwork and public speaking. You also gain a broader understanding of global challenges, and have the potential to make a real world impact.

Benefits of Grand Challenges

Student testimonials

"The skills I have taken away from Grand Challenges are at the top of my CV"

"Our work from Grand Challenges is leading to changes being made at the University"

"I met so many new people and we quickly became friends through working together"

Read testimonials from previous students


Grand Challenges helps students to develop their sustainable thinking, self-awareness and experiential learning, in line with the Entrecomp framework.

Read more about this framework here.