Students from around the world solve global issues with $52,500 at stake

Students from some of the world’s best universities are visiting Western University this week to compete in the international World’s Challenge Challenge.

Over the past few months, extraordinary students from 15 participating partner universities and eight countries – working in diverse teams of three – have been innovating and incubating new ideas to address global issues. Their chosen topics include saving the Great Barrier Reef, charging electric cars, cultivating hydroponics in an urban setting, harvesting carbon from algae and fighting global warming with your fork, among many others.

Teams presented their unique solution to a panel of academic and community leaders at their own institution. Then the top team from each World’s Challenge Challenge partner earned a trip to London to compete in the international final, which is being held on Thursday, June 7.

Leading up to the global final competition, which will be live streamed, teams – including one from Western – have the opportunity to network with some of the best and brightest students from around the world, to participate in academic events, to generate further discussion around global issues and to experience a taste of Canadian and London hospitality.

The stakes are high for the students as they vie for a share of $52,500 in prize money. But the stakes are even higher for the planet in this international, Western-led competition as exciting new ideas will be presented to solve significant global problems.

“Western is proud to host 15 outstanding university teams from across Canada and around the world to focus on changing our world for the better,” said Jim Weese, Western’s Acting Vice-Provost (International). “We firmly believe that bringing some of the world’s brightest minds together to tackle difficult problems and embrace a global vision is the key to addressing some of the most pressing issues of our time.”

Teams come from Bond University (Australia), The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Dalhousie University (Canada), Hirosaki University (Japan), McMaster University (Canada), Queen’s University (Canada), Radboud University (The Netherlands), University of Alberta (Canada), University of British Columbia (Canada), University at Buffalo (United States), University of Calgary (Canada), University of Lausanne (Switzerland), University of Otago (New Zealand), University of Waterloo (Canada) and Western University (Canada).

First-place finishers will share $30,000 and the second-place team will win $15,000. The third-place team takes home $7,500. The intention for prize money is to help further develop the proposed solution and support implementation.

WHAT: World’s Challenge Challenge, global final competition, featuring pitches on world issues from student teams from eight countries

WHEN: The week-long event culminates in presentations before a panel of judges on Thursday, June 7 from 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

WHERE: McKellar Room, UCC 290, Western University (open free to media and the public)

For more on the week-long event, please visit

Follow the events and experiences during International World’s Challenge Challenge using the hashtag #WorldsChallenge or follow @WesternULive on Twitter.

The livestream of the Global Final Competition will be found here:

MEDIA CONTACTS: Kris Dundas, Communications & Marketing Manager, Western International, 519-661-2111, ext. 81064, 519-615-9625 mobile, or Jeff Renaud, Senior Media Relations Officer, Western University, 519-661-2111, ext. 85165, 519-520-7281 (mobile),

Western delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.