A new and exciting opportunity, organised by the Newcastle International organisation, is underway as it enters the process of selecting 15-20 creative, bright-minded individuals to participate in a cross-campus ‘competition of ideas’.
The event, branded Newcastle International: Changemakers of Tomorrow (NICOT), will unravel across a four-day period from the 6th-10th of April 2017.
Uniting students from all three of Newcastle University campus’, participants from the UK, Malaysia and Singapore will form a cross-campus, interdisciplinary collaboration.
NICOT is focusing on three main aspects: international networking, interdisciplinary collaborations, and tackling global issues to bring about global change. It aims to enrich the Newcastle student experience across all three campuses, as well as complement and improve the academic system of the University.
Most significantly, it plans to establish an international network of global problem solvers, making it both significantly relevant and necessary in today’s world. In an age where sustainability is at the forefront of global issues, the framework of the competition will be taken from the UN SDG- the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. From these, the committee has chosen specific SDG’s which will form three categories: Health, Energy and Inequalities.
Having already chosen which issue they would like to tackle during the application process, participants will be sorted into their preferred category, and each category will have one winning team. To promote networking, teams will include at least one student from each of the three campus’. Participants from different backgrounds will combine their skills to create a conceptual model-device to tackle their selected global issue.
Due to the broadness of the chosen SDG’s, the committee has specified the themes so that each category has one ultimate and defining goal. Those tackling the ‘Health’ issue will target road traffic accidents. ‘Energy’ students’ will focus on clean energy research and technology. And the teams dedicated to curing ‘Inequality’ will promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all. These, combined with further-specifying topic questions, will challenge students to think creatively and innovatively while producing the most ideal solution to their global issue.
The case-study provided to competitors will be divided into two parts: a ‘Design Competition’ in which teams will brainstorm ideas, and a ‘Business model’, where they will ensure the feasibility and sustainability of their product. Representatives from the University and the UN will be using the judging criteria, prepared by the committee, to judge which three teams will take first place.
When asked whether winning model-devices could go beyond the competition and tackle their global issue in the real world, Chris Duddy, Education officer, stated:
“There is always a possibility! As of right now any further research is not a definite post-competition process, but as the event (hopefully) grows and involves over the years we would imagine this to become part of the process.”
April’s competition, though the first of its kind, has the potential to evolve into a platform from which the upcoming generation can resolve global issues head-on. Within the academically-stimulating environment NICOT will create, it is undoubtable that promising solutions to global issues will be proposed by the students of Newcastle University.
While placing great value on the opportunity for campus’ to unite and work together, Chris Duddy light-heartedly added:
“Seeing as it’s a competition… it’d always be nice if the team we send from the UK saw some success!”
Due to the competition being held at NUMed Campus in Malaysia, the NUSU is generously contributing £250 towards each participant’s trip.