Social Innovation Programme

Become part of a team of consultants and provide innovative solutions for local organisations in Cambridge. No experience necessary!

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

Location icon Cambridge (virtual delivery)

Clock icon Michaelmas and Lent terms - applications for Lent term now open!

Social Innovation Programme logo

Applications now closed

The next round is January - March 2021!

The programme will be delivered virtually in line with the current guidance.

The Social Innovation Programme

The Social Innovation Programme (SIP) is an initiative for Cambridge University students to address challenges faced by organisations through research, ideas generation and project development. In a team you're presented with a real-life challenge faced by a local organisation and you will act as external consultants to research and recommend an innovative solution.

The programme provides an excellent opportunity to apply and develop your research, problem-solving and project management skills whilst addressing local 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.

Outcomes for students

  • Engage professionally with clients in the third sector
  • Engage, collaborate, and communicate effectively with students across disciplines
  • Conduct meaningful and relevant primary and secondary research into a contemporary issue
  • Develop innovative recommendations based on analysis of research
  • Present their research process and recommendations concisely, coherently, and professionally

Who can apply?

We are looking for motivated individuals who are excited by the prospect of helping our local community. You should be organised, interested in volunteering, and able to work as part of a team.

The programme is open to all current students of the University of Cambridge, 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.

Key dates & timings

On average, students spend between 6-8 hours a week on their project. This may vary depending on the tasks for each week. It's important to plan how you would fit this in with your other commitments.

Each week you will have a workshop with Cambridge Hub. These are designed to develop skills and help you progress. They are important team building spaces and you are asked to attend all of them. You will meet with you team and community partner in addition to these workshops.

Important points

  • We ask that you only miss one of the training sessions
  • You will be assigned a team by Cambridge Hub, although in your application you may express areas you are particularly interested in
  • The training workshops are held in addition to team meetings each week
  • Time management is very important! This is a demanding programme so please think carefully about how to best fit it in with your studies & other hobbies
  • You will have 6 weeks to complete your project!

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Hear from last year's participants

Who have students worked with in the past?

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How can I apply?

You can apply via the link at the top of the page. Applications for Lent Term will close 20th January, 12 noon.

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]

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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.

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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

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Strategic Partner

Strategic Partner