UTAutumn ChallengeThe challenges

The challenges for the 2021 programme

Challenge 1

A future-proof community fund in Twente – Twentse Noabers Fund

Twente is a region in the east of the Netherlands, as part of the province of Overijssel. With its 620.000 inhabitants, this proud area is comprised out of fourteen municipalities and tightly knit communities. Local funds in the area consist of active citizens and/or companies who aim to bring people together to improve the quality of life in local communities. Such funds are united in the Lokale Fondsen in the Netherlands and the European Community Foundation Initiative within Europe. The Noabers Fund (local dialect for “neighbours fund”) was founded to promote social cohesion and participation of all population groups in Twente. The Noabers Fund financially stimulates and provides knowledge to social initiatives of citizens collective. To achieve this, they need more financial independence themselves. Your case is to help the Twentse Noabers Fund to find sustainable and innovative ways to secure financial researches that can help them support local communities and organisations.

Challenge 2

From the ivory tower to the layman valley – Authentia Foundation

The Authentia Foundation is a non-profit organization consisting of Hellenic Scholars located in the Netherlands. We are aiming at providing technical solutions for the problems that we have recognized in Greece by utilizing our academic knowledge and experience of living abroad. While resistance to change is a fundamentally human trait, we witnessed in the COVID-19 crisis the diversity of resistant responses to otherwise thoroughly known measures regarding disease prevention. Whether it was masks, social distancing or vaccination, there seems to be a valley between scientific knowledge and the general population. Scientific progress is rapidly increasing, especially with the development and commercial deployment of Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, tissue engineering and additive manufacturing scale-ups. Who is responsible to prepare society for the incoming drastic changes that these technologies require? What is the role of scientists on this as the pushers of such progress? How effective are current science communications attempts when compared to easy to mainstream media? Would a new generation of scientists that turn into peer-reviewed journalists fix the issue? Are scientific journals also accountable for this knowledge gap? Let's think together and make a roadmap on how to rebuild public trust in science and scientific literacy.

In this case, we seek to: smoothen the communication between the scientist and the layman.

Some relevant questions that we are looking for an answer to:

Challenge 3

First language first – Public library of Enschede

Recent research shows that 24% of native citizens in Enschede, the Netherlands, do not master Dutch as their first language well enough. In a ranking of Dutch illiterate cities, Enschede takes third place. Although there are several programmes offered for people to improve their literacy, participation is too low to have a positive effect. Some people might be ashamed of their Dutch level, others might not even know of the possibility to improve themselves. We would like to know how we could lower the barriers for this group and get more people to improve their first language. How do cities in other countries cope with that problem? How can we reach this group and communicate the possibilities for language improvement to them? How can we help the citizens in Enschede to put their first language in the first place?

Challenge 4

Empowering young voices in local government – Municipality of Enschede

Some of the largest social movements worldwide have been started by young individuals. Their activism and strong beliefs for justice, peace and equality has inspired change and strongly affected politics on all scales. With such abilities to influence the communities and the world around them, young voices should be empowered to actively participate in the political debates around them. This starts with motivating young individuals to vote in their (local) elections but also involves their active participation in the (political) development within their municipalities. How can we make (local) politics more attractive for young people, as applied to the city of Enschede? This case focuses on activating young people to participate in their local government institutes and engaging them in the political debate that takes place.

Challenge 5

Recycling behaviour in university communities – University of Twente GreenHub

Recycling is one of the pillars for shifting from a linear to a circular economy. The Dutch national goal is to become 100% circular by 2050, and the University of Twente is trying to follow up with innovative solutions that are in line with the national policy. Some say that a key factor of such a transition is to change our behaviour towards waste and teach and to encourage citizens to recycle their raw materials. Since the University of Twente (UT) environment is highly international, people have different habits, knowledge, and interests towards recycling. The main question of this challenge is how to, therefore, improve the recycling behaviour of such a diverse UT community? Can technical innovations alone solve the recycling problem? What behavioural and psychological insights do we need? Do students lack knowledge of the importance of recycling? How many UT students recycle, what are the barriers to their understanding and action, and how can this be improved? You are invited to investigate these questions, by interviewing students, policy writers, by finding the best practices of other universities, or in any other way that will lead you to the valuable answers that can be applied at UT. We hypothesise that we need behavioural science and technological innovation in equal (interdisciplinary) measures. You can help us to create a foundation for persuasive and sustainable behaviour change at the University of Twente!

Challenge 6

Future energy system to support green energy and electric aviation – Dutch Electric Aviation Centre (DEAC) Teuge

Flygskam (‘flying shame’), the Swedish word used to describe the shame people feel at the negative environmental costs of their flights around the world. At the Dutch Electric Aviation Centre (DEAC), an effort is made to improve the sustainability of flying in a safe and responsible manner. In this case, a contribution is made to the mission of DEAC for electric aviation.

Challenge 7

Young talents in the regional labour market – 8RHK (‘Achterhoek’) Ambassadors

The 8RHK Ambassadors is a foundation in which seven municipalities and several private sector companies, non-profit organisations, health and education institutes collaborate in solving societal challenges in the Achterhoek local region of the Netherlands. Through six so-called ‘Thematic Tables’, regional experts and stakeholders work together in many different policy areas, for instance, innovation, education, labour market, the housing market, mobility, circular economy, sustainability and healthcare. The ultimate objective of the 8RHK Ambassadors is to enhance the region’s open innovation system and increase the quality of life for all its citizens.

The Achterhoek region is internationally known as a forerunner in Smart Industry, being home to many innovative small and medium enterprises which sell their products and services all across the globe, primarily in a business-to-business setting. This means the region is an innovative ecosystem in which there is a high demand for highly educated young professionals. However, many young professionals choose to move to other regions in the country, meaning that the region is experiencing a lack of the professionals they need to remain an international top player in the Smart Industry. Together with the Autumn Challenge, the 8RHK Ambassadors would like to look into this problem and evaluate the current policies, ideas and structures in this area.