The Vice-Chancellor’s Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for second year undergraduate students to gain employability skills, enhance research ability, and engage with senior staff and academics, including Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham.

VC challenge

Ten successful teams had the opportunity to attend bespoke workshops, gain expertise in debating and presenting, delivered by the University’s People and Organisational Development team, and acquire a variety of media production skills from the University’s Creative Media team. Five chosen teams created an innovative, thought-provoking video, which were all showcased at the final gala event to the Vice-Chancellor.

With a task set to tackle a major global challenge, with the theme ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’, Aritra Das, Benjamin Daziba, Callum Birkin, Josh Stoneham and Shaniyaa Holness-McKenzie from across the Schools of Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Metallurgy and Materials, worked together to design a solar aid pod – highlighting ways it will benefit cities and communities in the future. 

The team showcased their final video to an audience, and a panel chaired by senior academics, staff, and members of the University Executive Board (UEB) including Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Softley, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer, Professor Kathleen Armour, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education, Professor Robin Mason, Pro-Vice Chancellor, International, Professor David Adams, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Medical and Dental Sciences, Professor Andy Schofield, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Professor Glyn Watson, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Sciences and Professor Michael Whitby, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Arts and Law.

Following this, the panel then debated the ideas developed by each team, before the Vice-Chancellor announced the winning challenge champions. Amongst the four other finalists, an additional EPS team successfully came fourth in the overall competition for their idea of bamboo constructions for a more sustainable city.

The finalist’s videos will feature on the University’s website, where they can be viewed by the public. Each student who progressed to the final will also have their achievement recorded on an enhanced degree transcript, and will be able to claim up to 75 PSA points for their involvement in the competition.