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ECOChallenge 2022

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The Climate Emergency will remain a hot topic of conversation for years to come and 2022 is no exception. Each year we host a competition between all nine colleges to come up with new and innovative projects that can improve sustainability on campus. This year’s competition kicks off on the 27th January and will take place over Lent Term.

A wind turbine with logos overlayed.

Our biggest challenge yet

Each college team chooses an ‘issue of today’ to explore, looking at sustainability across travel, waste, biodiversity and energy, in line with the four core areas of Green Lancaster. Focusing on their chosen issue they develop meaningful solutions that are put to the test in the Judges Panel, where teams will present their ideas to a panel of University experts; senior University staff members who are actively involved in the University’s sustainability agenda.

A little extra support goes a long way.

This year we’ve teamed up with Lancaster University’s Work In Progress, who will be providing three support workshops to help you unpackage and develop the best sustainability ideas for Lancaster University.

“The workshops help you to learn how to unpack and reframe a place-based Eco Challenge to develop meaningful and innovative solutions that can be tested, and make an impact on the world around you.” Amanda Brooks, Enterprise Education Development Manager – Research and Enterprise Services.

These dedicated workshops are provided as part of the U Start project, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Northern Powerhouse Scheme.

This event is supported by the U Start project which is funded by:

Work in Progress Logo
Northern Powerhouse logo
European Regional Development Fund
All nine college logos form the nine college office logo.

Funding and prizes

Of course, it wouldn’t be a competition without prizes. The winning team will receive a £500 pot to split between the team and the runner-up team will receive £250 to split. Prizes and hospitality are kindly provided by the Lancaster University Nine Colleges team with promotions and final spectator support brought together by your College Manager.

Session timings

Launch Event & Masterclass 1 - Choose your challenge: Be the Change

Thursday 27th January 7:00-10:00pm – Online via Microsoft Teams

Our launch event and introduction to the challenge. Innovation begins by taking action to meet real needs. In this workshop, you will hear from campus-based Challenge Sponsors about real place-based eco challenges. You’ll connect and align with others based on what resonates for you, and together you’ll dive deeper into unpacking the challenge to understand the wider context of the issue, and reframe it to explore the opportunities for change.

Masterclass 2 - Research and discovery for innovation: Understand the Change

Saturday 29th January 13:00 - 16:00pm – Online via Microsoft Teams

Big innovations are driven by meeting the needs of people, wider contexts, and systems. Developing your solution to the Eco Challenge requires understanding the issues and the people involved. In this research and innovation masterclass, you and your team will frame your challenge and develop your research plan. You’ll go on an experience tour of possible research activities to explore your chosen challenge out in the field. Teams will then create a plan to take discovery action, including gathering research and talking to stakeholders and users about real needs and perspectives.

Masterclass 3 – Idea generation and prototyping: Design the Change

Saturday 19th February 13:00 - 16:00 pm - Online via Microsoft Teams

Ideas have to meet real needs. In this idea generation and prototyping masterclass, you will use your previous research and insights to reframe a challenge, and to design the change you want to see. Your team will think like designers to generate lots of ideas for possible solutions, and after expanding on your initial ideas, you’ll choose one idea to test and take further. Choosing between different ideas can be difficult, but in this session, you’ll experience industry-leading ideation techniques along with practical prototyping methods. These techniques will allow you to boost the sustainability and potential impact of your ideas, which will help you select the best idea possible.

The Judges Panel - ECOChallenge Final

Thursday 17th March, 19:00 - 22:00, venue tbc.

You've worked through your project and developed your ideas. Now it's time to put your project to the test against our panel of judges. This year we will see judges from across the University, from the highest level and across all areas. Subscribe to the Green Lancaster newsletter to find out who will be judging this year's competition.