4TU Honours challenge
4TU is the federation of four leading Dutch technical universities: Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, the University of Twente, and the Wageningen University and Research Centre.
Honours programmes are extracurricular programmes for ambitious and motivated students. The UT offers this programme for vwo, bachelor, and master students.
The 4TU Honours Challenge aims to increase the collaboration between the individual Honours programmes of the participating universities. ‘We want to connect the different students, as well as connect the students to the companies,’ says Iris van der Loo, a student assistant at the UT Honours Office and one of the event’s organizers. ‘Honours programmes are not yet well known outside of the universities and we want to show the companies why they should consider hiring Honours students.’
Real business cases
Four companies were asked to contribute cases for the one-day think-tank. Shell, RoyalHaskoningDHV, The Sustainable Trade Initiative and ING all supplied a real business issue that the students will be working on. For instance, Shell is looking for more sustainable forms of energy production, explains Van der Loo. ‘In shallow water areas such as the Dutch North Sea, Shell is already involved in offshore wind. In deep water areas, including Japan, Gulf of Mexico and Brazil, offshore wind might not be the most economical solution due to high costs and technical challenges. The question is: Are there other options to harvest energy from the oceans?’
The participants will be working on the cases in teams of four. ‘We have eighty participants in total. The teams will include one student from each 4TU university,’ says Van der Loo. ‘Also, we wanted it to be different from other think tanks, and so all students will get to work on all the cases. The teams will keep moving to different stations. This way the students can meet each other and meet all the companies. Moreover, the students will get various workshops, ranging from brainstorming to pitching.’
Because everyone will work on every case, there will not be a winner at the end of the day. ‘There will be judges from the companies and from the academia. They decide which idea they liked the most, but there will be no prizes,’ says Van der Loo. ‘The 4TU Honours Challenge is meant to be mainly a networking event, a chance to introduce Honours students to the companies and highlight their unique skills.’