A collage of photos with a theme of sustainable projects in agriculture, energy production etc.

ECOChallenge 2023

Scroll to content

The Climate and Ecological Emergencies will remain a hot topic of conversation for years to come. 2022 has been no exception, with the international climate and nature summits (COP27 and COP15 respectively). Each year we host a competition between all nine colleges to come up with new and innovative projects that can improve environmental sustainability on campus. This year’s competition launches on Tuesday 31st January 2023 and will take place during 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.

Sign-up to participate in ECOChallenge 2023 is now closed as the teams prepare the pitches for final night on Thursday 16th March.

However, we are now taking sign-ups for wider student and staff college members to attend the final as an audience member. Visit the LibCal page to sign-up and attend.

Masterclasses with Work in Progress

ECOChallenge Masterclass workshops are delivered by our on-campus enterprise and innovation experts from the Work in Progress Team.

Duncan Campbell, the Team's Design Facilitator, will provide your team with critical support to help you develop a fantastic idea and a rock solid pitch to impress the judges on Pitch Night. Alongside the Masterclasses, the Work in Progress Team will also be holding weekly drop-in sessions in their Studio in Alex Square to support you and your team as you develop your idea. More information on these will be shared in the ECOChallenge Microsoft Teams group.

Attendance at all Masterclasses is strongly recommended for all team members, as it will develop your team working and innovation skills. At a minimum, representation is required from each team at all Masterclasses as a pre-requisite for receipt of the prize at the final.

Masterclasses will enable you to:

  • Connect and align with others to get behind a vision for ECO change
  • Collaborate to identify opportunity areas for change
  • Research challenges and develop prototype solutions for change
  • Design and pitch your ECO solutions and vision
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

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

Tuesday 31st January 2023, 5:00-10:00pm – Management School Lecture Theatre 15

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 4th February 2023, 12pm 4pm, with lunch provided George Fox Lecture Theatre 5

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 11th March 2023, 12pm 4pm, with lunch provided George Fox Lecture Theatre 5

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.

ECOChallenge Final

Thursday 16th March, 7pm - 10pm, Management School Lecture Theatre 15

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.

For all events, please bring your own water bottle to reduce packaging waste.

You also have the opportunity to claim a £30 voucher with Work in Progress!

Simply use our Enterprise Self-Assessment tool (ECHO) to measure your enterprise skills before and after taking part in the ECOChallenge.

All it takes is 15 minutes to fill in, using the sliders to reflect on your current level of confidence in 15 skill areas including ethical and sustainable thinking, mobilising others, creativity, and vision.

Just complete the form using the sliders (just type ECOChallenge in the explanation sections) and then email a PDF of your results to workinprogress@lancaster.ac.uk with your name, and ‘BEFORE’ in the subject line. Then after completing the ECOChallenge, do the same thing again, with your name and ‘AFTER’ in the subject line. Participants that complete and return their before and after self-assessments will receive a £30 voucher. That’s it - simple!