Partner with us

Map the System is open to post-secondary education institutions across Canada. We invite you to partner with us to develop social impact leaders who collaborate with others to fully understand a challenge.
Learn more about our approach.


Join a global movement

Be part of a movement which values understanding problems first, before proposing solutions. We believe this is the future of social impact education.


Build connections

Form relationships among staff and students from a range of other universities & colleges, all of whom are passionate about positive social change.


Create opportunities

Give students the chance to win cash prizes, tickets to the Emerge Conference, and opportunities for further research and development in their chosen field.


How it works

The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, has partnered with RECODE, an initiative of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, and the Trico Charitable Foundation to bring Map the System to Canada. Canadian post-secondary education institutions are invited to run their own Map the System competition, with the support of tools provided by the Skoll Centre. Institutions running local competitions would align their branding to the Oxford competition, using resources provided.

On 5-6 May 2018, one selected individual or team from each institution will present their findings at the Canadian final event, where participants from across the country will compete to win a place at the Global Final. Two winning teams will each receive $2,500 in prize money and an invitation to the Map the System Global Final held on 1-3 June 2018 at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, UK, where teams from all over the world will pitch for the three top prizes.


Who is Map the System for?

Map the System is for students and recent graduates of any discipline who have an interest in social or environmental issues and who want to learn more about a problem they care about and present their findings to the world . The purpose of the competition is to promote a systems-thinking approach to tackling social/environmental challenges. It is ideally suited to:

% Those who have an existing passion for or lived experience of a particular social/environmental challenge and would like to investigate this problem fully to understand what sort of intervention in the system would be most effective


% Those that are looking to have a high-impact career and want to understand where their unique skill set can be best applied to effect lasting change


% Those who have an existing solution, product or business idea in mind, but would like to research the issue area thoroughly to understand what solutions have already been tried, and are willing to pivot their idea based on their findings

Map the System is less well suited to those whose business idea or start-up enterprise is further advanced to the point where pivoting their model is not feasible at this stage.

Participant eligibility criteria:

% Participants can apply for Map the System as an individual or in a team of up to 5 people.

% At least one member of the team must be a current student at any of our partner institutions (enrolled on a course of 6 months or longer), OR a recent graduate of one of those institutions (i.e. having completed studies within 12 months of the date they register for the competition). Non-students, or students from another institution, may join a team as long as at least one member is a current student/recent graduate of the registered partner institution.

% Students may be at undergraduate, diploma, postgraduate, or doctoral level.

We do not distinguish between degree/diploma subjects and levels when marking submissions as we are looking for the strongest submissions, regardless of a student’s age or subject area, though each partner institution is welcome to set their own application requirements in addition to the above.

Criteria for participating institutions:

We invite institutions to partner with us who meet the following criteria:

% Partners must be post-secondary educational institutions whose students are eligible to receive Canada Student Loans.

% Each partner must have internal capacity to support students throughout the cycle of the competition (mid-September 2017 to early June 2018). As a guide, we recommend a minimum of one staff member to support the administrative process (estimated time commitment 50-70 hours total) AND one educator to advise students on the content of their submissions and provide feedback (estimated time commitment 15-20 hours). However, it is ultimately up to the staff members involved to decide how much time they wish to dedicate to supporting the competition’s activities.

% Each institution must commit to securing at least 3 entries from teams/individuals at their institution, from which it will use the judging criteria provided to select one winner to progress to the Canadian Final event.

Participating institutions may choose whether to incorporate Map the System into their for-credit curriculum or run it as an extracurricular programme.

What is the cost?

This is a not-for-profit initiative. Through the support of RECODE and the Trico Charitable Foundation, we are able to cover core competition costs such as content development, final event costs, the costs to bring in high-calibre global judges, transportation and prize money. We are seeking a contribution of $2,000 CAD from participating institutions. The McConnell Foundation will cover reasonable transportation costs for up to three members of your selected team to attend the Canadian final. In addition, travel and accommodation to the Global Final will be covered for the two teams that win the Canadian final.

What support will partner schools receive?

%  Tools to run their own local challenge (application forms, judging criteria, acceptance letters and certificates, a project plan, branding material, example fliers, etc).

%  The chance to join 2-3 webinars for Map the System Champions from education institutions across Canada, to gather new ideas, answer questions, and share resources.

%  Website with learning tools and resources for all Map the System entrants globally, as well as learning resources shared directly with the Map the System Champions in each institution to share with their local entrants.

%  Tools for offering “Apprenticing with a Problem” funding to finalists. This is funding for individuals to apply to “apprentice with a problem” they care about, by doing a secondment, research project or internship, perhaps with an organisation they identified during their Map the System research. All tools for how this is done including application forms, funding agreements, etc. will be shared with university partners in case they might want to offer the same funding opportunity to their students.


What opportunities will students have?

%  Access to the Map the System network, with new ideas, learning tools, and resources

%  The chance to win one of two cash prizes of $2,500 CDN at the Canadian final event (May 5-6, 2018)

%  Presenting their findings at the Map the System Final at the University of Oxford, UK (this opportunity is for the two winners of the Canadian final). The event will provide opportunities to network and learn with other students from around the world.

%  The chance to win one of three cash prizes at the global Map the System Final (June 1-3, 2018) and tickets to the 2018 Emerge Conference

% Apprenticing with a Problem Funding for Canadian Final winners. The two finalists of the Canadian Final may apply to receive funding, up to $10,000 CAD per finalist, to Apprenticing with a Problem. More information on how to apply will be shared following the Canadian final in May.


Key Dates

Until October 6, 2017

Register your institution


Institution registration for Map the System 2018 has now closed.

If you have already registered, and you have committed to provide the $2,000 CAD participation fee, you will receive an information pack which includes guidance documents, recommended timelines and processes, judging criteria, and a editable poster for promotion to your students.

September 18, 2017 –
January 22, 2018

Student registration open

We will send you the link to an online form where students can register to participate in the competition. Students are required to submit their proposed topic and the names of the individual or team members wishing to participate.

The Skoll Centre Team will send you periodic updates of how many of your students have registered, and the final list of the names of the students who have registered. This gives you an opportunity to provide students with feedback on the suitability of their chosen topic so that any adjustments may be made before the final submissions deadline in late March.

March 26, 2018

Final student submissions

Students have until 26 March to submit their final materials via an online form. By that date they need to submit three documents:

1. Visual map or chart
2. Analysis of Research
3. Bibliography

Full details about what should be contained in each of these documents can be found in the Submissions Guidelines.

March 26 –
April 13, 2018

Shortlisting and selection by judges

Each institution may determine who will review and select their students’ entries to Map the System – we recommend a panel of at least 3 experienced judges, including someone from the centre/department managing the competition at your institution. We recommend selecting your winner by hosting a local event where teams present their maps to judges (guidelines will be shared), but you may instead choose to select the winner through review of submissions alone.

Once selected, your institution’s winning team or individual will be invited to the Map the System Canadian Final event on 5-6 May. You must inform us of the name of the finalist(s) by 13 April at the latest.

May 5-6, 2018

Canadian Final competition

At the national competition, teams from across Canada will compete to win a place at the Global Final in Oxford.

The national event will span two days (location to be determined based on geographic distribution of participating institutions). There will be opportunities to network with other participants, receive pre-competition feedback on presentations, and finally, two rounds of presentations in front of a panel of judges. The two winning teams from the Canadian final will receive prize money of $2,500 per team and will be invited to the Map the System Global Final event in Oxford.

June 1 – 3, 2018

Map the System Global Final event

The final event will be held at the University of Oxford, UK, where teams from all over the world will present their ideas to compete for the three top prizes.

Participants will benefit from personalised feedback from a panel of expert judges, who work in impact-focused organisations such as private foundations, impact investment firms and social enterprises. Furthermore, finalists will have the opportunity to build relationships with students from a range of other universities, all of whom are passionate about positive social change.

In addition to the final presentation event, finalists will attend a traditional Oxford College dinner, and receive a keynote address by an influential social impact leader. A representative from each partner institution is welcome to join the winning team in Oxford.