PLEASE NOTE: This page is being revised and may not currently provide updated information for the 2018 student and staff challenges. Please contact us on innovation@it.ox.ac.uk if you have any questions or need to confirm any of the information given. 

The IT Innovation Challenges, part of the University’s IT Capital Plan, support small start-up digital projects that will bring a benefit to the University. They aim to fund innovative projects which will enhance the staff or student experience at Oxford through digital means. Successful projects may go on to become full services or work with Oxford University Innovation (formally Isis Innovation) on spin out opportunities.

The scheme welcomes ideas for projects that could bring benefit to the University. If you and your colleagues have a great idea then send it in!  If you don’t have an idea you can still be involved, for example by collaborating with colleagues, providing technical expertise or advice or by commenting and voting on the ideas presented.


Each round of the scheme issues a challenge to encourage people to focus their thoughts and submit ideas for others to discuss. The challenge(s) take the form of key strategic objectives of the University and ask you to suggest ideas for small digital projects that could address these. The challenges are set by the IT Innovation Group in collaboration with senior University committees (e.g. Education Committee). There is also an ‘open’ category where you can submit ideas that do not fit the current theme but nevertheless offers benefit to the University and its members. The annual student challenge is being run in collaboration with Oxford University Student Union (OUSU).

Each idea is assessed against five key criteria: if the idea is innovative in its approach; if it meets the challenges set for this particular round or (if part of the ‘open’ category) supports one or more of the University’s strategic aims; if it demonstrates the potential for a wide impact across the University (though not necessarily within the lifetime of the innovation project itself); if collaboration between units is demonstrable; and if it seems feasible in terms of start up and completion.

For more information, see:

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