Challenge Programme


The Challenge Programme

The Challenge programme is a programme of extra-curricular activities offered jointly by the five universities of the IDEA League. Four complementary modules in the form of long weekends (Thursday evening- Sunday afternoon) are organized alternately at each IDEA league partner university (RWTH Aachen, Politecnico di Milano, Chalmers University, ETH Zurich).

The Challenge Programme is geared towards highly talented students, selected for their outstanding academic performance and interest in interdisciplinary work. Typical candidates are in the 3rd year of their BSc programme or the 1st year of their MSc. All participants 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. Dinner 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 amount of €1000 is approximate. 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 competencies: the analytical and problem solving mind-set of the engineer as well as a high tolerance of ambiguity, which is inherent to human behaviour. We will work with real world problems, not with theoretical problems — students will experience the complexity of these problems, will experience what the strengths and weaknesses are of their engineering mind-set and will develop new skills. The programme is design-oriented: students should not only analyse problems, but should also design and present solutions. Since the programme is focused 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, and cooperation.

You can read a blog about the students’ 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 the interdisciplinary part of their BSc Honours Programme


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 followed will be listed on the certificate.


Dates and Topics

Click here to see the dates and topics of the four modules of the Challenge Programme 2019-2020




Apply here via SiROP BEFORE June 30th 2019.

The home institution is responsible for selecting their own 6 students. Successful applicants from Chalmers University of Technology will be notified of their selection by September 4th 2019. All other selected applicants will be notified by July 31st 2019.

For further information, please contact the following people.
TU Delft students: Young Mi Poppema,
RWTH Aachen students: Elina Krause,
Chalmers students: Ing-Britt Carlsson,
ETH Zürich students: Regula Christen,
Politecnico di Milano students: Dora Longoni and Enrico Tagliaferri,

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