Students tackle "Grand Challenges" at Exeter

Undergraduates at the University of Exeter are given the opportunity to take part in a Grand Challenge. The six 2017 Grand Challenges have attracted more than 550 students, with more than 100 having applied to investigate mental health.

This topic was chosen as it presents a challenge on a global scale. Students heard from experts at the NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, a mental health service user, chief executive of a public library service and two academics with research expertise in English and Sports and Health Sciences.

Students come from all colleges of the university, giving them the opportunity to work with people from different departments and courses, supported by post-graduate students.

Taking part in a Grand Challenge gives students the opportunity to develop the ability to analyse the literature available, apply their knowledge and develop research skills. They also develop transferable and employability-related skills.

As part of the programme, students produce papers, guidelines, reports, patient information in written or visual format, apps, physical objects, campaigns or various outputs based around social media.

Students who took part in the Grand Challenges said:

  • “We really liked our project and hope to continue what we’ve started”.
  • “Actually, it was great taking some time to look at mental health, including how it is affecting society as it is very relevant”.
  • “Working with different people from different disciplines on something that we were all interested in was great”.

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