SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

2019 SPRU Science Technology and Innovation Policy Challenge

19 June 2019 – 17.30-19.30
Room G29/G30, Jubilee Building
Sussex Business School
University of Sussex

About the competition

Do you have a novel science, technology and innovation policy and/or management idea that could make an impact on the world? Can you convince an expert panel of the brilliance of your idea in under five minutes?

 The Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Challenge is a competition open to all 2018/19 SPRU MSc students. It provides participants with the opportunity to develop novel ideas on science, technology and innovation and then compete for a prize awarded to the idea with the most potential to solve a significant policy and/or management challenge.

 You can work either individually or in a small team of two to four students. Two prizes will be awarded to the best proposals:

  • Main prize             £500 in book vouchers
  • Audience prize     £300 in book vouchers

 Last year winners and presentations can be accessed at the link below


Stages of the competition

  1. Teams will need to send a 1-page brief detailing your idea to Dr Ohid Yaqub (o.yaqub@sussex.ac.uk) by 30 May 2019. The brief should be easy to read and accessible to a wide audience; it should identify the significant issue that your idea seeks to address and provide some details on the proposed solution. Diagrams and figures can be used to illustrate key points. Your 1-page brief should use 11-point Arial font and should be submitted as a either PDF or Word document.
  2. Submitted briefs will be judged by a group of senior members of SPRU, with the 10 strongest ideas going through to the final. Teams will be notified whether they have been selected for the final by 31 May 2019.
  3. Selected ideas and groups will receive supervision to develop further the brief and their presentations. Groups will have the opportunity to test their presentations with a mock panel of senior members of SPRU in June, so to receive additional feedback for the final presentations.
  4. The final presentations will take place in the evening of one of the following days 19 June 2019 with winners being announced afterwards. Presentations can be given using any chosen medium but must not last longer than five minutes. 

Guidance on scope of entries

We are aiming to keep the scope as wide as possible with the aim of giving you room to explore your varying interests and to make it a diverse and interesting experience for SPRU as a whole. The idea can relate to any aspect of science, technology and innovation policy and/or management and to any region of the world.

 However, we also want to ensure that there is some level of coherence to the prize so have limited it in three ways:

  • The idea must relate to SPRU’s broad research interests in science, technology and/or innovation including areas related to environmental protection, energy and sustainability (http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/research).
  • The idea must relate to policy and/or management solutions only. Ideas of new technological, product or process innovations will be excluded,  although the proposal could involve the use of technology in some way. For example, a proposal for the development of an innovative smartphone app on its own would not be accepted, but a policy proposal for a public-sector organisation which utilises a particular app to improve public services would be.  

Guidance on judging criteria and prizes

 Main prize

Judges will be asked to identify the proposal with the most potential to address a significant issue on the basis of both the brief and the presentation.

 The evaluation will take into account:

  • the creativity and originality of thinking;
  • evidence that participants have considered the perspective of the policy maker and/or manager and how barriers to the implementation of the innovative solution could be addressed;
  • how engaging and clear the style of communication is – judges will be looking for a style that grabs and holds attention and that uses a language that is widely understandable.

 Audience prize

The audience prize will be awarded on the basis of the votes of the audience. If the group chosen by the audience is the same group that the judges choose then the group with the next highest number of votes will receive the audience prize.

Important note

We do not expect participants to have done all the research that would be expected with a real-life proposal, as this would be too onerous for an extra-curricular activity of this sort, but rather to have drawn on some sound evidence and research and also to point judges in the direction of what further research would be needed and, if appropriate, where relevant information could be found.

 If you have any query about the competition, please email to the organisers: Ohid Yaqub (o.yaqub@sussex.ac.uk), Simone Vannuccini (s.vannuccini@sussex.ac.uk), Daniele Rotolo (d.rotolo@sussex.ac.uk).