Competitions and awards are a fantastic way to show employers just what you can do.

Whether it's a chance to get an innovative business idea off the ground, study abroad or secure funding for the internship of a lifetime, it's a great way to stand out from the crowd.

Below you will find a selection of various challenges and awards. If you wish to search for further awards or scholarships, please log into JobsLive, click on 'Find a vacancy' and filter the Vacancy type by 'Studentships, scholarships & awards'. 

Competitions, Surveys and Awards

Imperial Award

Want to earn an official extra from Imperial on your graduation transcript? Do you want recognition for your employer-friendly attributes? Then the Imperial Award is for you.

Open to all current students (and designed with input from the Careers Service), Imperial Award gives you a completely private online portfolio to use as a diary or journal. The interactive journal lets you identify your best evidence to enhance your CV and, if you wish, to back up your claim to the assessors (one page of writing). The assessors give written, individual feedback. Multiple assessment periods are offered.

Why? College wants you to develop and rehearse the reflective self-awareness that employers seek from graduates and College is willing to recognise it, formally.

Simply register by logging in with your College username and password, click on ‘guidance’ to watch the promo video and read the Student Guidance pack [pdf], which contains all the information you need to start working towards the Imperial Award. Once you've registered, you’ll hear from the Award team about upcoming workshops and further guidance to support your progress. 

It is free, has immediate benefits, runs all year and could enhance your official transcript.

Find out more here: Imperial Award

50th St. Gallen Symposium - Global Essay Competition

The 50th St. Gallen Symposium Global Essay Competition provides graduate and post-graduate students an outstanding opportunity to share and sharpen their points of view. The top three of the 100 selected participants from the essay competition have the unique opportunity of presenting their ideas in front of a world-renowned audience and share in the grand prize of CHF 20’000. Additionally, the 20 best essays will be published on their website.

For immediate further information, kindly visit the Symposium website.

Airbus Presentation Competition with UKSEDS

Future space solutions

Airbus invites students to propse an innovative space-based concept that addresses a pressing issue facing the current and furture global population. Suggested topics include:

  • Climate Change
  • Pandemic Response
  • Resource Scarcity
  • Natural Disaster Response

Your idea should focus on a space mission, instrument or application. You can base this on current topics of study at your university or from your own creative thinking and research. Finalists have the opporutnity to present their concept at the National Student Space Conference 2021 where they will be judged by a panel of industry experts in front of a (virtual) audience of students from across the country.

To enter you must provide a single A4 page submission outlining your concept. Your entry can include pictures. Your submission will be judged based on the technical merit, creativity and potential for development of the idea. The best entries will then be invited to expand on their concept and deliver a presentation at the conference to compete for the top prizes.

The competition is open to all students working towards an undergranduate or master's degree and entries must be individual. To receive an application form or for any questions please email The submission deadline is 1 February 2021 and the NSSC2021 is being held from 6 - 7 March 2021.

  • 1st prize - £500
  • 2nd prize - £250

CodeVita coding competition

This is the 9th season of the contest hosted by TATA Consultancy Services taking the joy of programming across the globe.

What will the format look like?

  • There are three rounds: the Pre-qualifier stage (1 December), the Qualifier stage (1st week of February) and the Grand Finale (March).

Who can join?

  • All students in the UK and Ireland, including international students, can participate
  • Students from all years in higher education
  • Students from any academic backgrounds (with a passion for coding)
  • Students graduating from 2021 onwards

What’s in it for you?

  • Some of the main benefits include: the top three global winners will receive a monetary prize and the top three UK winners will gain the opportunity to work at TCS.

How do I register?

  • Visit the TCS Codevita website to register for participation. The website will allow you to access further information, which includes an about section, sample questions and an FAQ section.

ICAEW 100 competition

ICAEW is searching to find the brightest students who have the potential to be the next generation of business leaders. Test your skills against your peers by taking a short online exercise and the students with the top 100 scores from each region will be in with a chance of winning unique opportunities and prizes!

Visit the ICAEW website for further information and to apply.

Master the Mainframe coding competition

You are invited to a unique, virtual contest, open globally to all tech students interested in gaining skills to land high paying jobs on the fast track.  

What can you expect:

  • Gain tech skills
  • Earn employer-recognized badges
  • Win prizes
  • Take part in invite-only workshops
  • Connect directly to employers
  • Receive a fast pass to entry-level jobs

 Register on the Master The Mainframe website to take part. 

Merck Innovation Cup 2021

From 26 June until 2 July, 2021, Merck KGaA, will be hosting the 11th edition of the Merck Innovation Cup.

During a one-week Summer Camp, 30 selected postgraduate students will attend in-depth presentations about the pharmaceutical and chemical industry. Participants will work in small teams to generate an innovative idea that addresses a scientific challenge and develop the idea into a business plan. The teams will receive coaching and guidance from Merck managers and scientists as well as experienced retirees. The teams will present their business plans to a grand jury composed of Merck top management plus external experts. The jury will select the best business plan and present the winning team with the Innovation Cup award and a cash prize of EUR 20,000 plus EUR 5,000 for the runner-up. Options to implement the best business plans will be evaluated. 

For further information and to apply visit the Innovation Cup webpage. The deadline to apply is 31 January, 2021.

RCSU Science Challenge 21

The Science Challenge is the Royal College of Science Union's (RCSU) annual science communication competition.

Requiring entrants to demonstrate their skills in scientific debate and reasoning, the Science Challenge tests the ability of today's young scientists to teach the public about the science that affects their lives. Choose from a range of categories, enter as an individual or as a team with prizes and awards on offer.

For more information about the competition and the judges go to the RCSU website.

Submissions close on 21 February 2021 at 09.00.

Stock Pitch Competition

Are you in your penultimate year of study? Do you want to grow your understanding of today’s complex investment landscape?

Showcase your thinking by highlighting your predictions on future business performance, sustainability as well as your estimate of fair value for your investment. Network with our Asset Management team, who will provide guidance, advice and support along the way. Not only can you take away the winning prize, but if you are interested in pursuing a career in Asset Management, simply taking part could present you with the opportunity to kick start your career.

Competition timelines

Attend one of our Stock Pitch Competition virtual launch events, during which members of the equity investments team will separate myth from reality and walk you through what is the purpose of investing and how investors go about taking decisions.



Run by Agorize, Studyka is the leading open innovation challenge platform that brings together students, startups, and developers.  Take part in the best student challenges! Mix your skills, win prizes, and be noticed by companies. 

See all the current challenges.

TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year - 2021 Awards

Have you got what it takes to be crowned Undergraduate of the Year 2021?

TARGETjobs are looking for the best undergraduates in the UK and this year have nine different awards to suit every student regardless of university, degree subject or year.

Each award is partnered with a prominent graduate recruiter who provides a fantastic prize for the winner, including paid internships, work shadowing, networking, and other exclusive opportunities. Set yourself apart and be an Undergraduate of the Year 2021!

Ten finalists from each award category are invited to the exclusive event final, taking place either in person or virtually in April 2021. The finalists can network with graduate recruiters before the winners are announced! Visit the Undergraduate of the Year website to learn more and to enter.

The deadline for applications is 1 February 2021.

The Discovery Fund

The Discovery Fund (formerly the Pioneer Fund) is a grant programme providing up to £500 for students and recent alumni who want to explore an early stage idea.

We’ve developed the Discovery Fund, which runs from December to March, to help you get out of the building, find customers, design business experiments and discover if an idea is worth pursuing.

It’s not just about the money. We also help you develop the practical entrepreneurial skills you need to make the most of your grant. You’ll have access to our dedicated online learning module “Testing Business Ideas” and receive expert coaching and facilitated peer-to-peer mentoring by Dr Harveen Chugh, Senior Teaching Fellow at Imperial College Business School.

We’ve got 20 awards of £500 available and we’re prioritising applications from people/teams that have never engaged with the Enterprise Lab before, so if this is your first time with the Lab this could be the perfect opportunity.

Find out more and apply via the Imperial Enterise Lab website.

The IBSA Foundation Fellowships 2020 Call

The ISBA Group have recently launched the 8th edition of The IBSA Foundation Fellowships 2020 Call that awards five fellowships of €30,000/each to young researchers under the age of 40, from Universities and Research Institutes around the world, who have distinguished themselves for their skills and have ongoing projects of particular relevance in the following research areas:

• dermatology
• endocrinology
• fertility/urology
• orthopaedics/pain medicine/rheumatology

and the 2020 special edition

• coronavirus infections - systemic and tissue-specific effects, novel targets for potential therapies

Please find more information about the Call on the IBSA Foundation's website.

The Start-up Series

The Start-up Series is a monthly seed funding competition. Every month, one start-up is awarded up to £150,000 of equity funding along with support from an experienced director and media coverage across Start-ups must have been trading for less than 21 months and be UK-based.

 Application deadline: 14th of every month

To find out more information visis The Start-up Series website.

UK Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge 2021

The Atlantic Council, in conjunction with industry sponsors and academic partners, with the support of Her Majesty’s Government, will again be holding the UK Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge from 16 - 17 February 2021.

In the UK Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge, teams of four competitors take on the role of senior advisors to government and industry dealing with a complex escalating cyber-attack with national and international ramifications across government and Industry. Teams first need to asses and understand the technical and strategic implications of the scenario before briefing judging panels of senior cyber leaders drawn from across the UK and international community.

The strategy challenge is designed to provide students across multiple academic disciplines, be they technical or non-technical, a deeper understanding of the strategy challenges associated with cyber security and conflict.

Over two days, the scenario evolves through three judging rounds into a grand final in front of a panel of senior cyber security leaders and all the other competitors.

For further information and to register for your place visit the cyber912 website.

Deadline for applications is 14 December 2020.

Venture Catalyst Challenge 2021

The VCC is Imperial’s flagship entrepreneurial competition for Imperial students and alumni to develop an innovative idea for commercialisation AND win big!

We’re talking seven intensive weeks of evening masterclasses, 1-1 coaching, and meetings with experts, all with one aim – to help you bring your idea to commercial reality while growing your knowledge, skills, and network. It’s a unique opportunity not to be missed!

For more information and to find out how to apply, visit the Venture Catalyst Challenge 2021 webpage.

Application close on Sunday 24 January 2021.

WE Innovate Programme

Do you want to develop an idea, enhance your leadership skills, win a prize fund and join a community of extraordinary women?

Apply to take part in WE Innovate 2021, a transformational nine-month programme that develops your entrepreneurial skills through interactive training, coaching and a chance to pitch for a cash prize. The programme is for current students and recent graduates from Imperial who identify as women; you can apply as an individual or a women-led team.

Find out more and apply via the Imperial Enterprise Lab website.

YOUniversity Deal Challenge event 2021

Duff & Phelps' YOUniversity Deal Challenge engages teams of business students from around the world to hone a broad range of skills, including mergers and acquisitions advisory, transaction opinions, disputes and investigations and valuation advisory.

The YOUniversity Deal Challenge encourages students to team up with their like-minded peers in hopes of being rewarded for their potential as future leaders in the finance field. For some participants, it has opened a door into the business world via an internship and later a full-time job with the company. Even better, all finalist teams receive thousands of dollars in scholarships. Working in teams, participants apply technical reasoning and critical thinking through key stages of the deal-making process. Together, they put those skills to work as they solve a complex transaction related to a key stage in business deal-making. If selected as finalists, teams present their solution to Duff & Phelps experts and nationally recognized professors.

Registration for 2021 is now open. Please click here for information on the rules and regulations, and find the links to the registration pages for each region below: