Interdisciplinary Challenge Program

University of Aberdeen
Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
Employer Engagement Manager
  • Undergraduate
  • 16 learners; teams of 4
  • 90 hours per learner
  • Academic credit
Preferred companies
  • Anywhere
  • Startup, Large enterprise, Non profit, Small to medium enterprise, Social enterprise
  • Any
  • 2/4 project matches
Social impact Operations Competitive analysis Community engagement Environmental sustainability Social justice
Project timeline
  • June 26, 2023
    Experience start
  • July 14, 2023
    Experience end
What can our learners do for your company?

Are you ready to ignite innovation in your business with the brightest minds from the University of Aberdeen? We invite you to participate in our Interdisciplinary Challenge this summer, an exclusive opportunity for businesses like yours to collaborate with talented students representing diverse programs at the University of Aberdeen.

Over the course of 3 weeks, these dedicated students will delve into your unique challenge or opportunity, focusing on the key themes of sustainability and inclusivity. In close collaboration with a designated contact from your organization, students will develop a comprehensive understanding of your business's needs before diving headfirst into solving your challenge. This intensive 3-week sprint will culminate in well-researched and practical recommendations.

As a participating organization, you’ll be asked to provide a particular question, topic or challenge that will be their area of focus. Their review and recommendations may encompass other areas as well, but they’ll provide targeted and actionable insights based on your primary need.

Key Dates:

May 30, 2023 - Projects to be finalized

May 31, 2023 - Student applications open

June 9, 2023 - Student groups connected to projects

June 26, 2023 - Project kickoff; projects begin

July 14, 2023 - Projects close; final presentations

Learner skills
Critical thinking
What would your company get at the end of this experience?

This opportunity is aimed at giving students a work-based opportunity therefore the deliverables can be tailored to each individual employer/experience.

However, examples of deliverables might include:

  • 10-15 minute presentation
  • Research and analysis paper
  • Report on findings
  • Action plan with key milestones

This project will be time limited to each student committing 90 hours over a 3 week period. Therefore outcomes and deliverables should be set with this in mind.

Project Examples

Examples could include, but are not limited to:

  • How might we improve our business processes to be more sustainable?
  • How can we enhance sustainability in our industry?
  • How can we better communicate sustainable initiatives in our organization, internally and externally?
  • What might be the impact of more sustainable business practices on customer satisfaction and willingness to pay?
  • What could be changed in our recruitment practices to attract more diverse talent?
  • How can we create a more inclusive workplace environment?
  • How does our organization compare to others in terms of diversity and inclusion? What might we do to set ourselves apart from our competitors?

Examples in previous years include:

- An Aberdeen-based football club provided the inclusive challenge asking students to support the development of a local women's team. Students were asked to identify sponsorship opportunities and programmes or initiatives that help to engage new fans and consider the unique selling point of the club's women's team over competitors across Scotland.

- An international car rental company ran a sustainable challenge focused on enhancing sustainability in the travel industry, and required students to give high level recommendations with suggested action steps that the company can take within the next 5 years. Students were asked to consider comparisons with other nations using evidence based techniques.

- A sustainable challenge came from a tech company, who asked students to think about ways that they can promote Aberdeen as an attractive place to build a sustainable (clean energy) business. They wanted students to consider all aspects that make a city attractive to small businesses, such as proximity to customer, the cost of offices, cost of living, quality of life, ease of commuting, how environmentally friendly the city is, and if the city has the facilities and services they need (e.g. research and development space, manufacturing facilities, lab space, an established supply chain).

- A local city council provided an inclusive challenge, tasking students with developing a hate crime strategy and a procedure to report communications in the region. The challenge focused around identifying innovative, effective, accessible and sustainable steps towards creating activities or practice to increase confidence and awareness in reporting incidents of hate crime. Students were also asked to come up with a communications plan to address incidents of online hate and micro aggressions.