From education to employment

New student challenge bridges gap between education and industry 

Jisc has partnered with Wazoku to launch an innovative competition for students, who could win up to £5,000 or an internship. 

The Open Innovation competition gives UK students the chance to tackle several ‘challenges’ created in collaboration with international organisations Thales, the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory and the New Zealand Defence Force. 

Innovation scale-up Wazoku will help bring the winning students’ ideas to market through its powerful open innovation platform and community, InnoCentive.  Jisc, the UK’s edtech not-for-profit for tertiary education, will make it easy for students to access the platform.  

Andy McGregor, director of edtech at Jisc, says, “This initiative is designed to help students improve their employability. It’s a great opportunity for UK students in further and higher education to enhance their CV and make valuable contacts at major employers.  At the same time, they can make a difference by trying to solve important problems that could have a real impact on the future of work.”  

Open to undergraduates and graduates, the challenges invite individuals or teams of four to submit innovative solutions to a wide-ranging set of complex real-life business challenges as specified by industry leaders:  

  • Thales, a multinational provider of electrical systems and services for aerospace, defence, transportation and security, is offering internships to students who submit winning ideas for improving biodiversity across the company’s six UK work sites.     
  • On the artificial intelligence side, Thales is also seeking to recruit student talent to understand better how humans engage with AI and use it to find specific data in an instant.    
  • New Zealand Defence Force is looking to promote safety and productivity of their ship bearing arrangement by sourcing new ways to minimise hands-on activity and accurately measure the wear of the bearing arrangement while the ship remains in operation.   
  • National Nuclear Laboratory, a UK government-owned and operated technology provider covering the whole of the nuclear fuel cycle, is interested in ideas from students on how to break down the barriers to craft-trade roles in industry and entice young talent to enter trades-based career paths. 

With a global community of almost 500,000 on-demand expert problem solvers from within and outside industry, Wazuko empowers organizations to solve complex problems and continually drive innovation by helping them find, capture and share ideas. 

Simon Hill, CEO, Wazoku, says, “Open innovation is a way for organisations to look beyond their own boundaries for ideas and inspiration and access a much broader set of skills, experience and expertise.  It’s already used in many areas of industry, and this competition is a unique opportunity for the companies involved to tap into the brainpower of UK students.  There is huge value in the collective crowd, and I can’t wait to see what the UK student body comes up with.” 

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