Challenge Programme

ChallengeWhat is the Challenge Programme?

The Challenge programme is:
• A programme of extra-curricular activities
• offered by five universities
• for selected highly talented students.
• four modules in the form of long weekends (Thursday evening- Sunday afternoon)
• organized alternatively at each IDEA league partner university (RWTH Aachen, Politecnico di Milano, Chalmers University, ETH Zurich)

For whom:

Target group: 3rd year BSc and possibly also 1st year MSc students selected for their outstanding academic performance and interest in interdisciplinary work. All applicants must be officially registered students at one of the five IDEA League institutions throughout the duration of the programme.


For each selected student a stipend of €1000 to participate at the four long weekend modules. Of this amount €500 will be paid at the start of the programme and the remaining €500 will be paid to the participants upon their completion of the programme.
Housing is provided by institution that offers the module. Diner on Thursday is included, as well as lunches on Fri, Sat and Sunday. All other expenses (travel, diner, other) have to be paid out of the budget of €1000. Please note that the the amount of €1000 is a target amount. Partner institutions may amend this amount should travel costs do not match the stipend.

Features of this programme:

This programme is for excellent students interested in future leadership roles, both in the public and private sector and therefore interested in issues at the intersection of technology and society. To be more specific: leadership, politics, entrepreneurship, policy making.
Working at this intersection requires different mindsets – the analytical mindset of the engineer, but also and in addition: a high tolerance of ambiguity, inherent to human behavior. We will work with real world problems, not with toy problems — students will experience the complexity of these problems, will experience what the strengths and weaknesses are of their engineering mindset en skills end will learn and develop new skills. The programme is design-oriented: students should not only analyze problems, but should also design and present solutions. Since the programme is on real world problems, we will involve practitioners in our modules.
The extended weekends in the four cities will be like a pressure cooker: at the start students will be faced with a problem, within 3 days they should present both an analysis and a design of a solution. These weekends will also contribute to strengthening skills like working in groups, dealing with limited information, working under time pressure, cooperation.

You can read a blog about the students’s experiences here, or download the Challenge Programme brochure here.


The accumulated four weekends will amount to the equivalent of 5 credit points for Generic/transferable skills and is in accordance with the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS – 28 hours = 1 EC). At this time, only students registered at the TU Delft can earn 5 ECTS towards their interdisciplinaire part of the Honours Programme Bachelor

Quality Assurance: a joint Challenge Advisory Committee of academic representatives of all five partners, and including the Secretary General of IDEA League, will be responsible for the overall quality assurance of the joint Challenge Programme.
An IDEA League certificate will be provided after successful completion of the IDEA League Challenge Programme. The courses will be listed on the certificate.

Dates and Topics of the four modules:

Click here to see the dates and topics of the four modules of the Challenge Programme 2018-2019


Send your CV and motivation letter BEFORE June 8th 2018 to:
TU Delft students: Patrice Kauw,
RWTH Aachen students: Britt Krukau,
Chalmers students: Sophie Broström,
ETH Zurich students: Regula Christen,
Politecnico di Milano students: Application through the Online Services; for enquiries:

The home institution is responsible for selecting their own 6 students. All students will be notified before July 23th 2018 at the latest.

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