What is COVID-19 Students’ Policy Challenge?

The COVID-19 Policy Challenge is a students’ contest dedicated to designing policy proposals that aim to solve today's most pressing challenges. 

Why should students participate in this contest?

  • having an opportunity to win online courses. First-place winners will receive a voucher of GBP 1,500 for courses at universities in the United Kingdom, while second place winners will receive voucher of GBP 1,000
  • having your proposal published in the British Council online collection of all finalists’ policy briefs
  • networking with other students with diverse academic backgrounds
  • developing critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills.

What are the challenge prompts?

The challenge prompts are overarching thematic areas among which participants have picked the specific problem at local or national level, or in universities and hospitals, and try to solve it through their policy proposals. The challenge prompts for this contest are as follows:  

Challenge #1: How to respond to and recover from COVID-19 by strengthening social justice and protecting the most vulnerable?

The pandemic has disproportionately impacted marginalised and disadvantaged populations. The evidence around the world shows the worrying health, psychological, social and economic situation of people from ethnic minorities, including Roma; older people; minors, migrants and refugees; prisoners; people with disabilities; women; sex workers; drug users; those living in poverty, working in the informal economy, or lacking stable housing – to highlight just a few.

What are the ways to help to vulnerable groups? How can care be delivered to people who struggle to care for themselves or have limited or no access to care? What measures can be implemented to protect workers in informal economy? How can we ensure that all kids have access to online learning? How can we ensure that low-income families with children have a stable income? How can we ensure undisrupted access to healthcare for non-COVID-19 patients? How can much needed psychosocial support be provided for those in need?

Challenge #2: How to respond to and recover from COVID-19 in a manner that helps building resilience to climate change?

Coinciding with pandemic, we are facing unprecedented global climate change challenges evidenced in rise of temperatures, shrinking ice sheets, warming oceans and extreme weather conditions.

How has the pandemic impacted on climate change, but also vice versa? What is the best way for managing enormous number of surgical masks and other medical equipment that ends up in wastelands? How can we recover our economies from the pandemic in a way that they are greener, cleaner, healthier and more resilient? How can we enhance our mitigation and adaptation capacities to be better prepared to respond to climate change challenges?  Are there measures that can be imposed on businesses, public institutions and private households to save our environment?