Partner with us

Map the System is open to post-secondary education institutions all around the world. 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

Universities and post-secondary education institutions are invited to run their own Map the System competition, with the support of tools provided by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. Institutions running local competitions would align their branding to the Oxford competition, using resources provided.

One selected individual or team from each institution will be invited to the Map the System Global Final event 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:

% It must be a post-secondary educational institution offering courses of 6 months or longer.

% It 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).

% 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 Global Final event.

% Each institution must commit funds for the registration fee, as well as the cost of sending the winning team/individual to Oxford (including accommodation costs) for the Global Final from 1-3 June 2018.

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 and we aim to keep costs as low as possible for participating institutions. In order to cover core competition costs such as content development, final event costs, the costs to bring in high-calibre global judges, and sufficient prize money, participating institutions are required to contribute £2,000. In addition, partner institutions should cover the travel costs of the individual or team that they send to the final in early 2018.

What support will partner universities receive?

The Skoll Centre will provide each partner with:

%  Tools to run their own local competition (application form, judging criteria, a project plan, branding material, example fliers, guidance on process).

%  The chance to join 2-3 webinars for Map the System Champions at institutions around the world, 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 university to share with their local entrants.

%  A 2.5 day Map the System Global Final competition hosted at the University of Oxford, UK, where a winning team or individual from each partner institution will present their understanding of a problem to a set of global judges, as well as have the opportunity to network with and learn from other students from around the world.

%  Tools for offering “Apprenticing with a Problem” funding to finalists. At the Skoll Centre, we make applications for this additional funding available to Map the System entrants. 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.


Key Dates

Until 6 October 2017

Register your institution

Institution registration for Map the System 2018 has now closed.

If you have already registered, we will invoice your institution for the £2,000 participation fee and will send you an information pack which includes guidance documents, recommended timelines and processes, judging criteria, and a editable poster for promotion to your students.


18 September 2017 –
22 January 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.

26 March 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.

26 March –
27 April 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 Global Final event in Oxford. You must inform us of the name of the finalist(s) by 27 April at the latest.

1 – 3 June 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.