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

Key Dates

  • January 14: Surrey Campus Mixer – Register.

  • January 16: Burnaby Campus Mixer – Register.

  • February 4: Registration Deadline – Register your team.

  • March 25: Final Submissions Due – See submissions from last year.
    • Visual Map
    • Research Summary
    • Bibliography

  • April 6: SFU Final (Location TBD)
    • Teams that successfully submit their projects and meet the requirement of the competition are invited to participate in the SFU Final on April 6.
    • The winning team will represent SFU at the Map the System Canadian Final on May 7-9, 2020 in Montreal.
    • The top two teams from the Canadian Final will compete at the Global Final on June 5 – 7, 2020 at the University of Oxford, UK.

What do I Need to Submit?

  1. A visual map that tells the story of your research in an accessible and engaging manner.

  2. Written summary of your research (3,000 words max).

  3. Bibliography that cites the sources used throughout the research.


Amy Farahbakhsh – Student Engagement Coordinator at for more information.

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