Social Innovation Programme

Become part of a team of consultants and provide innovative solutions for charities and social enterprises in Cambridge. No experience necessary!

Informaton icon Become part of a team of consultants and provide innovative solutions for charities and social enterprises in Cambridge. No experience necessary!

Location icon Cambridge

Clock icon Michaelmas and Lent terms

Applications for Lent 2020 are now closed

Key dates for Lent

  • 19th January - applications close 12pm
  • 23rd January - selection workshops 5-5.50pm/6-6.50pm/7-7.50pm
  • 27-29th January - meet your team & Cambridge Hub
  • 30th January - meet your community partner at the launch event (5:30-6:30pm)
  • 6th February - 5th March weekly workshop (Thursdays 5.30-7pm)
  • 12th March - presentation evening with all students and community partners (5.30-7pm)


What's this, then?

The Social Innovation Programme (SIP) is an initiative for university students to address challenges faced by organisations 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.

We're looking for motivated and ambitious students whose existing skills will be complemented by a series of workshops. 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 run workshops for all participants. These 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 can be provided for teams where appropriate.


Who have students worked with in the past?

and many, many more!


What happens when?

Attendance at a selection workshop, the launch event, all workshop sessions (you can miss one), and the closing event is a required part of the SIP - make sure that you can attend before applying.

You will be placed in a team and assigned a challenge. You will first meet with your team and Isobel from the Cambridge Hub to discuss your challenge brief before meeting your community partner at the launch event.

There will be workshops 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?

We expect about 2-4 hours a week (plus the weekly workshop), 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 3-5 hours a week (plus the weekly workshop). 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 guidance 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 training sessions, and the closing event.

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact [email protected]


Cambridge Hub is committed to making our activities inclusive to all students. We can make reasonable adjustments to application processes, selection workshops, training sessions 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected]

The Social Innovation Programme is sponsored and supported by the University of Cambridge Careers Service. Alt text


Strategic Partner

Strategic Partner