An exciting scholarship opportunity for our students with Schmidt Futures

01 September 2020 | From Kgethi

Dear colleagues

Last week I spoke with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt about an exciting scholarship opportunity for university students that he is running through his philanthropic initiative, Schmidt Futures.

I’m writing to ask all of you to encourage your students to enter an exciting challenge run by his organisation that invites university students to submit their ideas about ways to drive social change. There are specific prompts for the students to use, which are below.

The challenge is open to all university students at both undergraduate and graduate levels, and the winners will receive $25 000 for themselves, as well as a matching amount for their universities.

Beyond these scholarship awards, this is an excellent opportunity for our students to engage in this global conversation and for the university to receive global recognition for the extraordinary work of its students and academic faculty.

Please circulate the details below to students at all levels. The students must make the submissions themselves, which they can do through the Reimagine Challenge 2020 website, where there are additional details on the challenge.

The deadline is 25 September 2020.

The Reimagine Challenge 2020 is calling for university students at all levels (including those pursuing bachelor’s degrees and graduate degrees) to submit a short (no longer than 1 200 words) essay that addresses one of two topics:

Sparking a Global Movement

What is one concrete way that YOU could motivate 1 000 000 people to work in concert to make the world meaningfully better within 10 years? What would you do, what would be the key steps to grow an effective massive action, and why would this have significant impact? Why should we have confidence that you will succeed and how would we know that you had succeeded?

Community Impact from COVID

What is the most surprising or unusual insight you have had about your community in the wake of the pandemic? Given this insight, what is the most important concrete action that YOU and a growing group of others could take to help your community or country better respond to changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic? How would you and we know you had succeeded?

Up to 20 final entries will be selected as winners to be published in an online anthology and up to $1 million will be awarded in scholarships and prizes. Each winning author will receive up to $25 000 in scholarships, as well as an additional $25 000 to the student’s school.

It would be wonderful to have UCT represented among the winners, and I hope you will encourage your students to make submissions.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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