Universitas 21 (U21) - Section contents

Universitas 21 (U21) is a partnership network comprised of 27 prestigious institutions in Australia and around the world.

U21 offers a range of programs which provide students an opportunity to enhance their international networks, whilst participating in world-class educational opportunities.

University of Melbourne students can get involved in two Universitas Initiatives.

U21/PWC Innovation Challenge

The Universitas 21/PwC Innovation Challenge is an online competition where postgraduate students from U21 Universities have the opportunity to ‘pitch’ solutions to an innovation challenge determined by PwC. The overall winner will be awarded a VIP employability experience in Dubai, sponsored by PwC, tailored to that student’s career development needs. Runners-up prizes may include employment-focused opportunities and/or exclusive on-line/virtual training and job preparation coaching.

Challenge question

How can universities help individuals gain a broader perspective on the long-term impact and consequences of their day-to-day actions on people, society and the environment? What types of jobs will an environmentally-sensitive economy need, and what is the best way to prepare students for them?

How to participate/competition stages

Stage 1:

  • Submit your Expression of Interest via the online form not later than Sunday 6 October 2019. 
  • The top 25 submissions will progress to the preliminary round

Stage 2:

  • Attend our application workshop to help you develop your pitch. Workshops are held during Week 11 (14–18 October 2019).
  • Present your 3-minute challenge response via video (due Friday 18 October 2019).

Stage 3:

  • Finalists will be shortlisted and asked to present live in front of a panel during SWOTVAC (week beginning Monday 28 October 2019).
  • Winners will be invited to film their final pitch to submit to the International U21/PWC Innovation Challenge Panel (due Friday 14 February 2020).

*Please note only post graduate students are eligible to participate in the challenge, including PhD candidates* 

Apply now

More information

  • Entries to be submitted for final adjudication are limited to 4 per U21 institution and will be submitted to U21 via The University of Melbourne. Students are not allowed to directly submit their videos to U21.
  • Submissions must be via video format, either an MP4 file or .MOV. Files sent in the wrong format will not be accepted.
  • Video presentations are strictly limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding this will be disqualified.
  • Entrants will be judged on their presentation skills and they must feature in the video.
  • Group submissions are not accepted.
  • It is permissible to use a maximum of one slide per presentation (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description are allowed). Props are not allowed.
  • The 3-minute audio must be continuous – no edits or breaks etc. Presentations are to be spoken word only (e.g. no poems, raps or songs). No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
  • Group round winners and runners up will be expected to provide a report after the competition to reflect on their experience.

At every level of the competition you will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below. Please note that each criterion is equally weighted.

Comprehension and content

  • Did the candidate have a logical approach to answering the question? - i.e. familiarity with the background material, a set of key considerations.
  • Did the candidate clearly explain their point of view?
  • Did the candidate articulate the conclusions and recommendations clearly?
  • Did the candidate provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the candidate spend adequate time on each element of their presentation – or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?

Engagement and communication

  • Did the presentation make you want to know more from this candidate and potentially employ them?
  • Did the candidate convey enthusiasm for the challenge and genuine interest in the problem?
  • Did the candidate capture and maintain your attention? (sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, confident stance).

By submitting your entry to The University of Melbourne and the Innovation Challenge, you are acknowledging that your ideas/research will be publicly accessible and shared with industry professionals. The University of Melbourne nominated students and their submitted videos will be uploaded to Vimeo and disseminated through the U21 website and social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), and PwC’s media channels. Your video will be shared with PwC’s clients (you will be notified which clients). Judges, reviewers, staff and the audience will not be asked to sign non-disclosure statements.

U21 and PwC may take stills, video and/or audio clips of the presentation, or copy of material prepared for the use in the presentation, for promotional purposes. If your presentation draws on work/research that is being/has been conducted under contract with an outside sponsor, you are advised to discuss the related contractual terms of confidentiality and intellectual property with your supervisor(s) before participating in this competition. U21 and PwC have the right to ask you to withdraw from the competition if these conditions are not met.

N.B. PwC are not guaranteeing any job placements and are not acting as a recruitment agent, they will however be providing guidance and training on how to enhance employability skills and will share videos with key client judges who are looking for top talent.

For more information about the U21/PwC Innovation Challenge, and to view winning videos from 2018/2019, please visit the U21/PwC Innovation Challenge website or contact the University of Melbourne Student Engagement Team.


U21 RISE showcase and awards

RISE (Real Impact on Society and Environment) is U21’s newest student opportunity, an international showcase of student achievement in sustainability and social innovation designed to accelerate the scale and impact of student-led projects by connecting them with a network of experts in academia and industry.

The project must directly address at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These aren’t just about environmental action, they cover almost every aspect of environmental and societal development. In practice most non-profit and social innovation projects will already be addressing at least one goal, even if you didn’t realise it!

Students will be invited to submit their projects by The University of Melbourne.