Social Impact Consulting Challenge

This project aims to improve the Social Impact Consulting Challenge.

The Social Impact Consulting Challenge is offered to students of the Master Programs, Business & Social Impact and Sustainable Finance and Investments, and provides novel learning opportunities for the students to support impact-driven, real-life, companies in solving actual, managerial problems related to sustainability.

For the challenge, a company partner offers a real-life consulting problem with a societal impact focus and briefs the class. Then, in teams, the students are asked to solve the case based on their knowledge, research, and instructions they receive during the course. As the final examination, the students present their solutions to a board of company representatives, consultants, and UU (PtS) staff and receive realistic and useful feedback.

In a transdisciplinary way, this project aims to prepare students with the relevant problem solving and consulting skillset, which enables them to create societal impact by solving a real-life, complex case for a company partner, whilst still retaining the support of a university environment.

The project is led by a team of researchers, Friedemann Polzin, Katrin Merfeld and Helen Toxopeus, who are all engaged in sustainability research and have gathered extensive experience with the pilot edition of this challenge.

The Seed awarded funding will be used to support the coordination and planning activities, in addition to the logistics and catering for the presentations.

Update from the Project Team (December 2022)

Most recently, the project team onboarded their new assistant to coordinate the upcoming project activities, which are listed below.


  • December 15: Deadline for companies for submitting challenge

  • February 1: Student teams rank the challenges

  • February 2: Companies rank the teams

  • February 3: Matches are communicated.

  • February 6-10: Kick-off meeting and interview with the student teams

  • Mid March: Final presentations are organized at the Social Impact Factory in Utrecht

This project was made possible through Pathways to Sustainability Seed funding.