Global Education

World's Challenge Challenge


World’s Challenge Challenge 2019
UAlberta Finals
Tuesday, March 12
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Telus Centre 134

Enjoy food and refreshments at the reception. Vote for the People's Choice Award!

It starts with one idea, one discussion. Who knows where your ideas may lead?

The World's Challenge Challenge invites student teams to propose an innovative solution to a major global issue. The team with the best proposal will win $10,000 to make their solution a reality and will represent UAlberta at the international finals at Western University, with a chance of winning an additional $30,000.

The World's Challenge Challenge is an exciting way to engage in discussions about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the complex global problems that they seek to overcome. It challenges the university community to be a source of new ideas and inspiration and brings together active global citizens who seek to make a positive and tangible impact on the world.


The Right Honorable David Johnston, former Governor-General of Canada

“It is perhaps the defining question of our time: How to tackle the complex, interrelated challenges of the 21st century in a coherent and effective way? The answer, I am convinced, lies in what I call the diplomacy of knowledge, defined as our ability and willingness to work together and share our learning across disciplines and borders. When people achieve the right mixture of creativity, communication, and co-operation, remarkable things can happen.” – The Right Honorable David Johnston, Former Governor General of Canada, 2012. 

UAlberta Team: Syeda, Raeha and Ronja, at World

"Meeting World’s Challenge Challenge participants from around the globe and learning of their innovative solutions to important world issues were incredibly inspiring and strengthened our desire to aid diabetic refugees with our project." - UAlberta WCC team, 2018.

UAlberta Competition Prizes

  • 1st Place: $10,000 and a trip to Western University (including airfare, hotel, and meals) to participate in the international finals.
  • 2nd Place and 3rd Place: Education Abroad Individual Award (valued at up to $3,750) for each team member to be used towards an international learning experience

International Competition Prizes

  • 1st Place: $30,000 CDN
  • 2nd Place: $15,000 CDN
  • 3rd Place: $7,500 CDN

Who can participate?

This competition is open to all University of Alberta students: undergraduate and graduate, from any faculty, full and part-time. We encourage your team to bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds or areas of study. Only teams of three students will be accepted.

How does it work?

Each team must submit a statement of interest, briefly outlining the problem and their proposed solution. Teams will receive feedback on their statement of interest and have time to further refine their idea before submitting a more detailed proposal in early December. A maximum of 21 teams will be selected to present their proposals during a semifinals competition in February. From there, a maximum of 9 teams will move on to the final UAlberta competition in March. The winning UAlberta team will present their idea at the international finals in London, Ontario in June. 

Where do I start?

  • Research a global problem that you are passionate about. 

    Consider: why does this problem exist? What are its root causes? What are others doing about it? Where are the gaps? What can you (and your team) uniquely offer?

  • Secure a team of three UAlberta students. 

    If you would like to participate but cannot locate additional team members, contact us at and we will try to connect you!

  • Make use of campus and community resources to help define your problem and refine your solution.

    Who, on campus or in the community, is already studying or working on this problem? Connect with them to learn more about their work.

  • Attend WCC workshops! 

    We encourage teams to attend the workshops put on specifically for WCC participants. These workshops are offered free of charge and are facilitated by experts in social innovation and entrepreneurship. They will guide you through a design-thinking process that will ultimately enhance your proposal (see the timeline below for dates, descriptions, and registration)

  • Review the scoring rubric to see what participating teams will be judged on

  • Draft and submit a statement of interest

Draft and submit a statement of interest

What happens if my team is selected?

If you are selected to participate in the semi-finals, you will be asked to give a 5-minute presentation to an expert panel of judges. A 3-5 minute question and answer period will follow. Teams will have an opportunity to practice their presentations in front of WCC organizers before the semi-final round.

Need inspiration?

  • 2018 Winning Teams (Western University)
  • 2017 Winning Teams (Western University)
  • 2015 Winning Teams (Western University)
  • 2014 Winning Teams (Western University)
  • 2013 Winning Teams(Western University)

Additional resources

Competition Timeline 

September 27, 2018 (4:30 - 6:00 PM) at Telus 134

Information Session

October 25, 2018 (6:00 – 9:00 PM) at Telus 134

Optional workshop on solution ideation
Register online by 4:00 pm, October 23, 2018

November 4, 2018 – Statements of Interest Due

11:59 pm (Mountain Time - MST)

November 8, 2018 (6:00 – 9:00 PM) at Telus 134

Optional workshop on solution feasibility and sustainability (Pre-requisite: Workshop on solution ideation)

November 22, 2018 (6:00 – 8:30 PM) 

Workshop for teams that plan to work with marginalized communities (It is mandatory for 1 team member to attend). Teams will be invited via email.

December  2 – Proposals Due

11:59 pm (Mountain Time - MST)

December 10 – 21, 2018

Notifications sent to semi-finalists

January 15, 2019 (6:00 – 9:00 PM) at Telus Centre 134

Optional workshop for semi-finalists on telling your story and evaluating success

Week of February 11, 2019

Practice presentations for semi-finalists

February 26


March 12 (6:00 - 8:00 PM) at Telus Centre 134


June 2 - 9

International finals at Western University 

Congratulations Team UAlberta!

UAlberta Team: Syeda, Raeha and Ronja, at WorldCongratulations to Syeda, Raeha, and Ronja who won the University of Alberta's local competition and who represented the University of Alberta so well at the World's Challenge Challenge 2018 finals in London, Ontario! Their proposal sought to divert unused and unexpired insulin from Canada to refugee camps. Read more about their experience at the international finals and the future of their project here.

The $30,000 grand prize winner from the World's Challenge Challenge finals in London was from the University of Otago, New Zealand, with runners-up from the University of Waterloo and McMaster University. Read more about their proposals.