Do you have a brilliant idea for a carbon reduction project?

What would you do to reduce carbon emissions from University or college operations?

You have a unique and prestigious opportunity to turn your brilliant idea into a trial project. If your application is successful, you will get support and a budget.

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Challenge aims to accelerate the decarbonisation of UK universities and help the sector towards net zero. It includes a Student Challenge that aims to encourage innovative thinking from students, with a chance for the best ideas to get funding for implementing their project in the University.

The challenge aims to inspire students to come up with brilliant ideas and run small-scale trials to test them, in order to reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable behaviours at the University. The trials must focus on the institution’s operations, student body, and staff, and should have the potential to be scaled up to help reduce overall emissions across the university sector.

Prize funding will be awarded in amounts of £5,000, £10,000 or £15,000. Projects must be small scale, student-led, on-campus, and take place between July and December 2022.

Focus area for the project

  • Energy - Ideas for engineering solutions; organisational change; behavioural insights and change; microgeneration
  • Food - Ideas to reduce agricultural emissions; food miles and distribution; cooking and food waste; landfill emissions
  • Travel - Ideas that reduce emissions through transport; research travel; student travel to and from home
  • Carbon Removal and Sequestration - Ideas that offer natural solutions or technological solutions to removing carbon from the atmosphere

How to participate

  • Respond to our call for ideas by midnight on 29 May, via this online form. You will need your idea, a brief description of how you plan to test it in a trial project at the University, a team of students who will deliver the project, and an estimate of the budget you will need.
  • We will choose 4-5 projects, which will be assigned support from academics or practitioners within the University.
  • You will receive support to review and improve your idea and produce a full application.
  • Our internal judging panel will choose a final project for submission to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Student Challenge.  
  • It will then be judged against the ideas from other universities, with the best entries receiving funding to apply the project in their university.

Timeline for the challenge

  • 29 May – deadline for forming your project idea and setting a team of students who will deliver it if chosen.
  • 30 May – shortlist of leading ideas announced
  • 1-14 June – continue working on the project proposal with the support of University academics or practitioners. Produce a short video that best describes your idea and suggested impact.
  • 16 June – the internal judging panel reviews all finalists and chooses a single project to be submitted to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Student Challenge.  
  • 27-30 June – Five winning projects chosen from all the participating universities.
  • July - December – projects implemented and start running on campus.
  • Mid-October (progress update) – progress report submitted
  • Early December - Project completion, with final data and findings submitted in early December for inclusion in The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Challenge Report.

More information

The challenge is open to all current undergraduates and postgraduate students. The winning teams will be teamed up with a member(s) of academic staff. Representation can be from across different schools and disciplines.

Prize funds will be awarded in amounts of £5,000, £10,000 or £15,000. Each application must specify how much money they require and how this will be used within the project. In exceptional circumstances, an additional £5,000 may be made available.

Evaluation of student submissions will focus on the following:

  • Practical –The trial must be executable by the students between July and December 2022 using the funding provided
  • Innovative – The idea must be creative and innovative within the UK higher education sector
  • Impact – The carbon impact and broader results must be measurable (i.e., there must be a data-based way to assess the trial’s impact by December 2022)
  • Scale – Ideas should have the potential to scale up and be applied other institutions for the biggest impact on reducing carbon
  • Engagement – Ideas should demonstrate a high level of energy, excitement and engagement from the students themselves

Read the Inspirational Ideas for Student Challenges document for some ideas

Apply now