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Elliott Lancaster says UK students deserve huge praise for continuing to fight for their future during the pandemic and for the “leading role” they will play in rebuilding the world

Elliott Lancaster, a student at Keele University, Staffordshire, who was named a top 10 finalist for the inaugural Global Student Prize, has urged fellow UK students to apply for this year’s prize, as applications open today (Thursday 27 January).

Now in its second year, the Varkey Foundation launched the Global Student Prize, a $100,000 sister award to the Global Teacher Prize, to create a powerful new platform to highlight the efforts of extraordinary students throughout the world that are making a real impact on learning, the lives of their peers and on society beyond.

Elliott Lancaster, a 25-year-old environmental innovator, has overcome immense odds to succeed in education and help others in his community. He launched Utter Rubbish – a social enterprise and mobile app connecting citizens to local councils, helping to reduce waste and updating residents on recycling policies in real time – as well as establishing new mechanisms, setting up groups and lobbying organisations to become carbon neutral. Elliott was selected as a top 10 finalist for the inaugural Global Student Prize from over 3,500 nominations and applications from 94 countries around the world.

Elliott believes his fellow students across the UK have made huge contributions to society that deserve to be recognized through the prize, which showcases to a global audience the amazing promise students throughout the world demonstrate in their learning and far beyond.

Elliott Lancaster said:

“I am so grateful to have been selected as a top 10 finalist for the inaugural Global Student Prize and the platform that comes with it to continue to help change lives in the UK.

“I know I am not alone. There are now a generation of young changemakers across the UK that have the drive and imagination to transform our society for the better. They deserve huge praise for continuing to fight for their future during the pandemic and their incredible contributions deserve to be recognized and supported. This is why I am encouraging UK students who have an inspiring story to tell to now apply for the Global Student Prize. After all, they will play a leading role in rebuilding our world.”   

The prize is open to all students who are at least 16 years old and enrolled in an academic institution or training and skills program. Part-time students as well as students enrolled in online courses are also eligible for the prize. UK citizens have a history of excelling in both prizes, with the winner of the 2018 $1M Global Teacher Prize being Arts and Textiles teacher Andria Zafirakou, who has been transforming the life chances of young students at the Alperton Community School in northwest London. partnered with the Varkey Foundation to create the Global Student Prize. Dan Rosensweig, CEO & President of Chegg, said:

“Students throughout the world are in a hurry. They know that 2022 is the moment when some of the greatest challenges in history have reached a tipping point. Despite facing enormous obstacles, students everywhere are bringing their creativity and talents to the fore. They deserve huge praise and recognition – but most importantly they deserve our support for continuing to learn and never giving up.

“The Global Student Prize will continue to give students in every corner of the world a voice, encouraging others to follow their dreams and, like them, help to build a path to a better future.”

Sunny Varkey, Founder of the Varkey Foundation, said:

“Both the Global Teacher Prize and the Global Student Prize have been launched to highlight the importance of education in tackling the great challenges ahead – from climate change to growing inequality to global pandemics.

“With the world leaders now focused on rebuilding our world in the wake of the pandemic, I urge them to never forget that it is only by prioritizing education that we can safeguard all our tomorrows. Education is the key to facing the future with confidence.”

Students applying for the Global Student Prize will be assessed on their academic achievement, impact on their peers, how they make a difference in their community and beyond, how they overcome the odds to achieve, how they demonstrate creativity and innovation, and how they operate as global citizens.

Applicants for the Global Student Prize can apply at and the closing date for applications is Sunday 17 April 2022.

The prize will be narrowed down to a Top 50 shortlist and Top 10 finalists, to be announced later in the year, helping provide worldwide recognition for high achieving students. The winner will be chosen from the top 10 finalists by the Global Student Prize Academy made up of prominent individuals. The winner is expected to be announced live at a ceremony later in the year. 

If students are being nominated, the person nominating them will write a brief description online explaining why. The student being nominated will then be sent an email letting them know they’ve been nominated and inviting them to apply for the prize. Applicants can apply in English, Mandarin, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. To join the conversation online follow @cheggdotorg

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