Case Studies

QChallenge London

Queen Mary University of London and Common Purpose

As a leading university that continues to push the boundaries of research and innovation alongside providing opportunities to individuals with talent and potential, Queen Mary University of London wanted to offer an extra-curricular leadership programme to give their brilliant students a chance to work alongside inspiring London-based organizations. Queen Mary University of London partnered with Common Purpose to create QChallenge London.


Sample Challenge
How can we prevent the issue of fly tipping on our estates and neighbourhoods?


The solution the students developed was to establish a volunteer group within the local community, with various roles including promotion (weekly ‘Skip Days’ where they’ll help remove bulky trash and rubbish), assistance (to groups of people unable to remove bulk items from their home) and events (to create awareness and recruit more volunteers). The students also proposed that the volunteers take on additional responsibilities to gain new skills or develop existing ones (eg creating and producing promotional materials), creating a sustainable solution that will motivate and empower the volunteers to improve their community and themselves.


The benefits for students:

90% of students say QChallenge London has helped them develop as leaders
94% of students say QChallenge London has helped them broaden their networks
90% of students say QChallenge London has helped them make better decisions
94% of students say QChallenge London has helped them drive bold innovation 


  • Developed an entrepreneurial and problem solving mindset
  • Grew their Cultural Intelligence - the ability to cross boundaries and thrive in multiple cultures
  • Became decision makers and contributed to real organizational change
  • Formed networks with potential employers
  • Created an impact within their city


“I met with different stakeholders involving a wide range of professions and interests and I was surprised to notice that there were no two comments that were the same. Everyone viewed the same problem from very different angles and if you put the different views together you ended up with a more complete, well-rounded picture of the problem which was then much easier to tackle.”
Klaudia Rodi, Student, Queen Mary University of London


“We were able to meet with people of all ages who are changing and having a big impact on the world. Eye opening and inspiring to see so many people from all walks of life striving for social impact.”
Jennifer Son, Participant, Queen Mary University of London


The benefits for the University:

  • Support the strategy to embed and bloodstream extra-curricular and employability programming into their offering to all undergraduate students
  • Align with the graduate attributes the University seeks to develop and deliver
  • A different offering to appeal to students who for many different reasons are not normally able to take up development opportunities.


“QChallenge London develops the entrepreneurialism, network-building and multidisciplinary skills that help our graduates to be successful in whatever they choose to do after studying here at Queen Mary University of London. In particular, QChallenge London boosts our graduates’ leadership potential so they can make a really positive societal impact.”
Professor Rebecca Lingwood, Vice Principal (Student Experience, Teaching & Learning), Queen Mary University of London


The benefits for the Challenge Holders:

  • Benefitted from fresh ideas, new perspectives and innovative solutions from great young talent
  • Built brand awareness amongst young people
  • Helped to develop London’s next generation of leaders
  • Broadened their networks and built relationships with diverse individuals from different sectors


"It has been an absolute pleasure to work on the challenge and engage with the students. I have worked on something similar before with graduates working on internal business problems. This programme was much better as you are meeting with students who haven't had the full experience of working in organizations – they were not held back by any red tape, bureaucracy or ideology.”
Damien McGlue, Project Manager, Electric Blue


“QChallenge London was a great experience for Oomph! In addition, the programme was a development opportunity for me and for the company. I was quickly and professionally brought up to speed. I always felt well informed from Common Purpose. It wasn’t too much of a drain on my time as the students were very proactive with both the contacts and their deliverables.”
David Terrace, Head of Community Partnerships, Oomph! Wellness