Social Innovation Programme
Become part of a team of consultants and provide innovative solutions for charities and social enterprises in Cambridge. No experience necessary!
Michaelmas and Lent term
The next round of the Social Innovation Programme will be held in Michaelmas term 2020. If you'd like to register your interest and get a reminder email when applications open, please fill out this form.
When is the next round?
We run the Social Innovation Programme twice a year. Information about the upcoming Michaelmas 2019 cohort will be available in early autumn.
What's this, then?
The Social Innovation Programme (SIP) is an initiative for university students to address challenges in their local area through research, ideas generation and project development. In a team, you're faced with a real-life challenge faced by a local organisation or initiative, and act as external consultants to propose and implement an innovative solution to a problem.
The programme provides the perfect opportunity to apply and develop your research, problem-solving and project management skills to address social and environmental issues. In the past, we've run challenges with homeless shelters, climate campaigns, a children's mental health charity, a charity supporting people with learning disabilities, and dozens more. Our exciting set of partners for this term covers everything from biodiversity to wealth inequality, with loads in between!
We're looking for motivated and ambitious students whose existing skills will be complemented by a programme of high-quality training. SIP lasts for 6 weeks, with possibilities to extend your work with the organisation long-term.
What will I get from the programme?
Cambridge Hub and its partners in the corporate, public and not-for-profit sector will provide training for all participants. These training sessions provide you with the opportunity to develop professional skills and gain experience essential to careers in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Additional challenge-specific training will be provided to teams where appropriate.
What challenges have students worked on in the past?
and many, many more!
What happens when?
Attendance at a selection workshop, the launch event, all six training sessions (you can miss one), and the closing event is a required part of the SIP - make sure that you can attend before applying.
Here are the SIP dates from our Lent 2019 cohort as a guide to the level of commitment expected:
Mon, 21st January at 9am: Application deadline
Tues, 22nd January: You will be informed as to whether you are invited to the selection workshop.
Wed, 23rd January: Selection Workshop
You need to be able to attend one workshop:
Workshop 1: 17:00 - 18:00
Workshop 2: 18:15 - 19:15
Workshop 3: 19:30 - 20:30
Fri, 25th January: You will be informed as to whether you have a place on this cohort.
Tues, 29th January, 17:30-20:00pm: Launch Event
Wed, 30th January, 17:30-19:30pm: Training 1
Wed, 6th February, 17:30-19:30pm: Training 2
Wed, 13th February, 17:30-19:30pm: Training 3
Wed, 20th February, 17:30-19:30pm: Training 4
Wed, 27th February, 17:30-19:30pm: Training 5
Wed, 6th March, 17:30-19:30pm: Training 6
Tues, 12th March, 17:30-19:30pm: Closing Event
During the launch event, successful applicants will meet the rest of their teams and their supporting organisations, and will be presented with their challenge briefs.
There will be six training events held throughout the term, allowing you to learn new skills and hone existing ones to better help you address the challenge. In addition, there will be constant support from the Cambridge Hub office, should you need it.
The programme concludes with a closing event, where the teams will give a brief pitch of their findings along with any recommendations.
How much time commitment is expected?
For normal team members we expect about 5 hours a week (plus the weekly training), depending on the stage you are at with your project. In the final stage of report writing, you may need to set aside some extra time. For a team leader we expect about 8 hours a week (plus the weekly training). This time is important to regularly meet together as a team and work with your community partner.
Who can apply?
We are looking to recruit self-motivated individuals who are excited by the prospect of exploring and implementing innovative solutions to the needs of local organisations and the community. Successful applicants will be divided into teams, with each team being allocated a specific challenge.
The programme is open to all current students of the University of Cambridge, and we encourage undergrads, postgrads, and PhD students to apply! Visiting students are absolutely welcome. We are not looking for any particular year, degree subject or background, just the enthusiasm to see your own ideas in action.
No prior experience of consultancy or the non-profit sector is necessary, and whatever your skills and interests, we'd love to hear from you. Whilst we're interested in knowing what experience you would bring to the team, we're ultimately interested in motivation, enthusiasm and potential.
If selected for the programme, you will receive training and support to help you develop the skills needed to meet the challenge.
How can I apply?
As part of the application form, you will be asked to specify if you are interested in being a team leader. Team leaders will be responsible for the coordination of their team, including meetings and division of activities. They will also have ultimate responsibility for the meeting of deadlines and for liaising with the community partner. Cambridge Hub is a student-led charity, and we're always keen to support leaders to grow and develop.
You need to check that you will be able to attend all of the events listed above: a selection workshop, the launch event, all six training sessions, and the closing event.
You can apply here.
If you have any questions about the application process, please contact
Cambridge Hub is committed to making our activities inclusive to all students. We can make reasonable adjustments to application processes, selection workshops, training sessions, volunteering projects and other activities on a case-by-case basis. We also provide ongoing support for the students we work with, so if you have particular accessibility needs, including special educational needs, please write to and let us know how we can make the activity more accessible.
Information for local organisations
If you are a non-profit organisation based in Cambridge and would like to host a group of student consultants, have a look here and write to
The Social Innovation Programme is sponsored and supported by the University of Cambridge Careers Service. Alt text
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© Cambridge Hub is a branch of Student Hubs, a registered charity in England and Wales, number 1122328.