Map the System Challenge

What is the Map the System Challenge?

Map the System is a global competition hosted by the University of Oxford that challenges students to think differently about social and environmental change.

Unlike traditional business pitch competitions, students are not judged by their proposed solutions, but rather on their depth of understanding of the challenge they want to address.

Map the System encourages a learning first approach to social change – one where people take the time to understand and build upon existing efforts before attempting something new.


Deeply explore an issue that matters to you and share your findings with the world.

Map the System is for SFU students and recent graduates of any faculty who have an interest in social or environmental issues, and who want to learn more about a problem they care about and present their findings to the world.

Ideal applicants are:

  1. Those who have a passion for or, experience of, a particular social/environmental challenge and would like to investigate this problem fully to understand what sort of intervention in the system would be most effective;
  2. Those that are preparing for a career with a social impact and want to understand where their skills could be applied to deliver lasting impact;
  3. Those who have an existing solution, product or business idea, but would like to research the issue thoroughly to understand what has been tried and tested, and are willing to pivot your idea based on their findings.

program information

How to Participate in Map the System Challenge

Who is Eligible?

  • Teams consisting of 1 – 5 people.

  • One team member must be a current SFU student or recent alumni within 12 months of the date they register for the competition – Team members can include, community members, students from other institutions, professors, etc.

  • Students may be at undergraduate, diploma, postgraduate, or doctoral level.

Register for Map the System Now

Registration is now open. You will need the following information to register:

  • Your team member(s) name and emails,
  • A rough outline of your proposed research topic (this can be changed after your submission if needed)

Looking to learn more about the challenge? Register for one of our upcoming Map the System virtual workshops, or visit Map the System Canada’s official website.

Interested in finding a team or a research topic? Join our Canvas community to connect with other like-minded individuals to form a team and/or to discuss potential research topics.

Looking for inspiration? Check out the Global finalist submissions from 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017.

Key Dates

Registration: Open until Sunday, January 31st, 2020

Final Submissions Due: Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021


Please contact Hansel Wu, Student Engagement and Development Coordinator, at for more information.

RADIUS SFU’s student programs are supported through funding from the following partners: