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Report: UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2022

Between 2nd August and 23rd August 2022, the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge held its 8th annual summer school programme for pre-university students. This year, due to continuing difficulties posed by COVID-19, the programme took place online. More than 100 students from the UK and Japan joined to participate in the 3-week course. This year’s theme was “Innovative Enterprises for Sustainable Future”.

Over the course of the programme, the students participated in a wide variety of lectures and workshops. These were delivered by university academics in both the UK and Japan. The topics were diverse and included “The Genes and Neurons of Sleep”, “An Introduction to Linguistics and Linguistics Olympiad”, “Using Stem Cells to Understand and Treat Vision Loss”, alongside lectures which aligned with the programmes theme, such as “Emissions trading and climate policy”.

Although most of the programme took place online, participants within the UK were also invited to spend the day at the UCL campus. Lectures were delivered face-to-face, and attendees were given a tour of the UCL facilities, including their newly built Japanese Garden in the UCL Student Centre.

The students also took part in cultural exchange, with UK students learning about Japanese culture and vice-versa. The students also received advice from various organisations about study abroad options, career options, and how to learn about each other’s cultures. Students were often placed into separate groups to discuss different topics with one another, share ideas, and build friendships.

The programme ended with the “Grand Challenge” final presentation day. The students displayed their knowledge, teamwork and skills gained during the course of the programme by delivering presentations on different topics that they had worked on in groups.

The sheer amount of work put in by the students was evident as different groups spoke concisely and confidently on innovative ideas to contribute to a more sustainable future. These ranged from promoting gender equality in the workplace, to creating a rewards based app to encourage consumers to be more sustainable with their buying habits. Each idea was unique, well-researched and professionally presented.

We were very impressed with this year’s participants and their enthusiasm. Throughout the three weeks, they were motivated, engaged, and asked insightful questions.

We were truly inspired by the students and already look forward to next year’s programme in 2023!

For more information and to view the full 2022 programme, please visit the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge official website at:

Image Credit: UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2022, UCL Grand Challenge Workshop illustration by Scriberia