Summer of Student Innovations launches at today’s Digifest

Student competition for new tech tools and ideas launches at Digifest

Students are now invited to submit their ideas for technologies that will improve the learning experience for Summer of Student Innovation 2016.

The annual competition – run by digital solutions’ organisation Jisc – is open to learners in further, higher education (HE) or skills in the UK. It is designed to harness students’ innovative thinking about how technology can make life better for learners, researchers and apprentices, and give them the support they need to develop their ideas into products for the future.

Andy McGregor, deputy chief innovation officer, Jisc says: “Ownership of the student experience shouldn’t belong solely to organisation governors, leaders and staff. Three years of running Summer of Student Innovation have shown us just how astute learners are in devising needs-based tech solutions that address some of the common problems of today’s education and research.

“What our competition does is support students to acquire the business, entrepreneurship and technical skills they need to take their vision forward, and create robust digital products that could potentially change the education space forever.”

There are two strands to this year’s Summer of Student Innovation: 

·      Student ideas, which invites individuals and teams to pitch formative ideas about a learning tool or app they would like to see developed. Successful ideas will receive £2,000 worth of expert support to get them started, with the most promising ones in line for further funding and collaborative opportunities worth £3,000 at a later stage.

·      Supporting technology start-ups, targeting existing teams who have a beta version of their product and are looking for help in building, promoting and piloting these products with universities, colleges or learning providers. Up to £20,000 is available to the best projects, which includes business mentoring and development support.

To enter, students need to submit a short video and written summary about their idea on the Jisc Elevator platform. The public will then be able to vote on the ideas, with each project that receives more than 250 votes eligible to go on to the next stage.

Submission to the competition is open until 23 May, with public voting taking place for a further fortnight (6 June). The winning projects will then be decided by a panel of judges and announced on 24 June, at which point they’ll start the development process with Jisc. 

In both strands of Summer of Student Innovation there is the potential that the winning ideas will be fully-supported by Jisc to become operational products and services. Projects from previous years of the competition that Jisc continues to work with include Call for Participants, an open platform that helps connect researchers with willing participants from the University of Nottingham, language-learning app Lingoflow from Sussex Downs College, and the University of Southampton’s project to close the feedback loop between staff and students, Unitu.

The student leads from these projects will be exhibiting at Jisc’s Digital Festival from 2-3 March at the ICC in Birmingham, where they will be talking about their experiences and how they’ve found working with Jisc to develop their products.

Summer of Student Innovation is a Jisc co-design project, which sees the organisation work in partnership with stakeholders to inform product and service development and create solutions that are for the sector, by the sector. It was originally derived from conversations between Jisc and ALT, RLUK, SCONUL and UCISA.


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