Grand Challenges

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Grand Challenges offers international students the opportunity to work in a team from across the University to take part in a three-week, real world project experience. Teams work with a mentor to undertake an industry project for an organisation and offer solutions to their Grand Challenge.

Projects are available across a broad range of topics:

  • Technical innovation
  • Analytics
  • Sustainability
  • Policy
  • International business & markets
  • Strategy & Growth
  • Accounting & finance
  • Social media strategy

Grand Challenges is especially recommended for students who have previously participated in the Melbourne Employability Accelerator.

Eligibility

  • A currently enrolled international student at the University of Melbourne
  • An undergraduate students in your second or third year and above (e.g have successfully completed more than 200 UoM credit points), a postgraduate coursework or graduate research student
  • Have completed Part 1 and Part 2 of the Melbourne Employability Accelerator (MEA) program
  • Have the appropriate IT and technical resources to successfully participate in Grand Challenges (e.g. laptop and reliable internet connection)

Delivery type

    Grand Challenges is a virtual program, with an exciting opportunity in 2023 to attend some face to face sessions depending on where you are living for the duration of the program. When you register for the program you will be able to select which delivery type you would like to participate in.

    Melbourne - In person

    This delivery type includes two in person sessions that you will be required to attend, the orientation and client briefing. These sessions will be held at The University of Melbourne, Parkville campus. All other components of the program will be delivered virtually with the possibility of meeting with your team and client in person.

    Nanjing Study Hub - In person

    This delivery type includes two in person sessions that you will be required to attend, the orientation and client briefing. These sessions will be held at the Nanjing Study Hub. All other components of the program will be delivered virtually with the possibility of meeting with your team and client in person.

    Shenzhen Study Hub - In person

    This delivery type includes two in person sessions that you will be required to attend, the orientation and client briefing. These sessions will be held at the Shenzhen Study Hub. All other components of the program will be delivered virtually with the possibility of meeting with your team and client in person.

    Online

    This delivery mode is best suited to students who will be unable to participate in the in person delivery in Melbourne or China. This delivery mode will be conducted completely online. Participants need to ensure that they have access to the appropriate IT and technical resources to successfully participate virtually in the digital program over a period of 3 weeks (e.g. laptop and reliable internet connection).

Key dates

There are 3 upcoming intakes for Grand Challenges, specific dates are provided below:

 DateEvent
Intake 3Thursday 1 December 2022Applications open (register here)
Sunday 15 January 2023 Applications close
Monday 6 February 2023Orientation session
Monday 13 February 2023 Program commences
Sunday 5 March 2023 Program concludes
Intake 4Monday 6 February 2023Applications open
Sunday 26 February 2023 Applications close
Monday 3 April 2023 Program commences
Sunday 23 April 2023 Program concludes
Intake 5Monday 4 September 2023Applications open
Sunday 24 September 2023 Applications close
Monday 30 October 2023 Program commences
Sunday 19 November 2023 Program concludes

Program details

Grand Challenges has been designed by and is supported by industry partners including business and community organisations. Students can expect to spend approximately 50 hours over 3 weeks collaborating online with their team to complete the project.

Be part of this exciting opportunity and gain valuable experience including:

  • Developing a range of employability skills working in a dynamic team
  • Solving real business problems for clients ranging from starts-ups, small, medium-sized and large enterprises, to Victorian Government agencies and community organisations
  • Learning to develop a business case and pitch your ideas to a client
  • Collaborating with students across degrees and disciplines from the University of Melbourne
  • Being supported by an industry mentor
  • Gaining a competitive advantage prior to graduating
  • Be recognised with Melbourne Plus and receive the Innovation digital badge
  • Earn a certificate and a digital badge upon completion.

Grand ChallengesMelbourne Plus

Frequently asked questions

  • Am I eligible for Grand Challenges?
    • A currently enrolled international student at the University of Melbourne
    • An undergraduate students in your second or third year and above (e.g have successfully completed more than 200 UoM credit points), a postgraduate coursework or graduate research student
    • Have completed Part 1 and Part 2 of the Melbourne Employability Accelerator (MEA) program
    • Have the appropriate IT and technical resources to successfully participate in Grand Challenges (e.g. laptop and reliable internet connection)
  • What sort of time commitment is required to participate in Grand Challenges?

    While it is not strictly recorded, it is expected that students will spend approximately 50 to 60 hours overall across the 3-week timeframe on Grand Challenges with their project team. This includes 10 to 12 hours (including deliverable feedback) of engagement with their project client and mentor, and approximately 6 hours of online content a week. The exact hours of commitment will depend on your project team and the project deliverables from your client, as this varies from client to client and are based on the client’s project brief and guidelines. Deliverables are group-based.  You will need to ensure that you are able to make yourself available to participate in the University’s and Practera’s compulsory sessions to successfully complete this program.

  • Are there any fees required for participation in this program / do I receive any payment post program?

    No, there are no fees required for participation in this program. The University of Melbourne subsidize the cost for students to be involved with Grand Challenges. This program is an unpaid, extra-curricular skills development opportunity.  Students who successfully complete the 3-week Grand Challenges consulting experience will receive a digital certificate from Study Melbourne and Practera, as well as digital badge from The University of Melbourne.

  • Can we choose our team, and industry partner or client?

    The matching process is done by Practera and not The University of Melbourne. Please note that the exact host organization and client you will be working with will only be determined once Practera receives final student registration details. Host organization matching, and allocations are only done closer to the start of the placement dates.  If there is not a particular industry aligned to your area of study and/or interests, we would encourage you to take this opportunity to explore potential career paths and industries you may not have previously considered in line with the objective of the Grand Challenges Program.

  • Do we have to meet up as a team?

    This project will be delivered virtually with some opportunities for face to face sessions. This means that you will be working with your team members, your mentor and client entirely online. Having said that, the program is team driven, should there be a desire to and possibility to catch up in person that is ultimately your decision.

  • Are there any “marks” associated with this program?

    No, there is no mark that you or your team receives. You will get feedback from your client and mentor throughout the program, but there is no formal “mark”. Post program, students who successfully complete Grand Challenges will receive a digital certificate from Study Melbourne and Practera, and a digital badge from The University of Melbourne.

  • Are we located at the client’s office?

    No, you will be working remotely for the duration of the three-week program with the possibility of attending  some face to face sessions.

  • What if I am unavailable for part of the program?

    If you are unavailable for part of the program and you are concerned that this will impact your team significantly, please contact the Grand Challenges Program Team. If you are partially unavailable, but can still contribute as a team member, please communicate this with your allocated team members.

  • How do I communicate with my team?

    Students will be placed into teams and will receive further instructions from Practera, including details about the project brief, and the email addresses of your team members so you can reach out via email. You can also use the Practera chat function. You may also decide as a team to use other communication tools.

  • How do I contact my/our client?

    Successful students will be placed into teams and will receive further instructions from Practera. This includes the details of their project brief, client and mentor. From there, you can email your client, or you can reach out to them via Practera chat.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the Grand Challenges program, please send them to programs@practera.com

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Study Melbourne International Education Resilience Fund

Grand Challenges has been made possible by funding from the Victorian Government through the Study Melbourne International Education Resilience Fund. Grand Challenges is a voluntary, extra-curricular skills development opportunity delivered in partnership by Student Success and edtech platform, Practera.