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Innovation Generation

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Weekend workshops for undergraduates

CENSIS is running weekend workshops to help undergraduate students find out if they have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

The workshops will challenge students to:

  • Think strategically
  • Identify problems that need solutions
  • Channel their entrepreneurial curiosity
  • Focus their energy

Students will work in teams to explore a set challenge and investigate potential innovations. Teams will pitch their ideas to a judging panel who will award £2500 of prizes. The top team will win £1,000.

Everyone who completes the weekend will receive a CENSIS Certificate of completion and a goody bag.


  • Where are the workshops being held?

    Workshops are non-residential and will be held on campus at:

    Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen
    22-24 October 2021
    Closing date for applications is 10 October 2021

    University of Glasgow/Glasgow School of Art
    19-21 November
    Closing date for applications is 3 November 2021

  • Who can apply for a workshop place?

    The weekend workshops are open to 2nd, 3rd and 4th year undergraduate students.

    There are 50 places available and application is competitive.

    Students from any subject background can apply. The focus of the weekend workshop is on new ideas and solving challenges, and while there will be a technology element to the programme, students don’t need to have a technical background or be studying engineering or computer science to take part.

  • What will be covered in the workshop?

    As well as a team challenge, workshop participants will explore:

    Innovation and business idea generation
    How to ask the right questions to generate innovative ideas

    Real world problem solving
    How to tackle real problems that don’t currently have solutions

    Team building/team working
    Understand how to build effective and high performing teams

    Prototyping and user testing
    How to develop and refine a business idea through engaging with the product or service and the customer

    Communicating and pitching ideas
    How to engage and persuade

  • The Internet of Things (IoT) team challenge

    Participants will work in teams based on a real-world problem issued by CivTech. CivTech is a Scottish Government programme that helps solve public sector challenges in collaboration with innovative businesses.

    The challenge will require you to explore potential technology solutions to a challenge based around the Internet of Things (IoT).

    The challenge:

    How do we better plan, manage and respond to the experiences of visitors and communities at visitor hotspots in rural, remote and other locations?

    The pandemic of the past year has disrupted much of life, including how people spend their leisure time. Restrictions on travel – especially internationally – have encouraged ‘staycations’ in the UK.

    Such restrictions mean that infrastructure designed for visitors and communities near to “visitor hotspots” in rural and remote areas can be overwhelmed, as was experienced throughout 2020.

    The resulting upsurge in local visits, especially for remote and rural communities, can offer advantages as it brings much needed revenue, and can help rebuild the local economy. But this change in people’s patterns of behaviour also puts real pressure on rural beauty spots.

    There have been many well-publicised incidents across the UK of the downside: ‘dirty camping’, uncontrolled campfires, BBQs left to smoulder, motorhomes accessing remote sites, traffic jams and illegal parking, anti-social behaviour, excessive noise, and littering are unfortunately common.

    In Scotland, it is anticipated that even beyond the lifting of Covid travel restrictions, there will be a permanent, sustained demand on infrastructure, teams, volunteers and resources. The experiences of visitors and residents are all impacted by public services that provide infrastructure for transport and parking, camping, littering and waste management, leisure, health and safety.

    There is an opportunity to devise new ideas and innovations to help in solving these issues thus help creating more positive experiences for visitors and local communities while also contributing to sustainable tourism and the wellbeing including economic benefits of rural and remote communities.

    These innovations may focus on such things as anticipating demand and planning for future visitor numbers; reacting to sudden increases in visitor numbers; and reacting to situations such as parking problems, camping, litter, fires, anti-social behaviour but you may have other, better ideas!


    CENSIS would like to thank CivTech for its generous support of this Innovation Generation weekend and allowing us to use one of their challenges.

  • About the Internet of Things (IoT)

    You will explore the Internet of Things (IoT) as a part of the weekend workshop. You won’t need prior knowledge of IoT.

    At its simplest, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the connection of physical objects that contain sensors and software to the internet. These devices can then communicate with each other and share data to make the physical ‘things’ smarter.

    IoT examples are everywhere around you – your phone is an IoT device and at home things like Alexa, FitBit or Ring are too. In business and industry IoT systems can be used everywhere – from traffic management to farming, from manufacturing to tourism.

    At its core, IoT helps organisations better understand their operations and shines a light on how well they are performing in real-time. It lets businesses ditch clipboards and manual checks to generate new efficiencies, whether that’s reducing costs or margins of error, managing supply chains, or even improving safety and security.

  • Prizes

    There is a total of £2,500 to be won.  On the last evening of the weekend workshop, teams will pitch their ideas to meet the challenge to a judging panel.  Prizes will be awarded to teams, with the top team winning £1,000.

    All participants will receive a CENSIS certificate of completion and a goody bag.

  • Privacy policy

    This event will be run by CENSIS in conjunction with consultants Dawn Shand and Jonathan Tait who will require to access the application data provided in order to deliver the workshop.

    The CENSIS Privacy policy can be found at

  • How to apply

    Places on each workshop are limited to 50 participants and application is competitive.

    To apply, fill in our application form and tell us what attracts you to working on new and innovative business ideas and what attracts you to working with the IoT and tourism themes. (Maximum 2000 characters).

    The closing dates are

    • 10 October 2021 for Robert Gordon University
    • 3 November 2021 for University of Glasgow/Glasgow School of Art

Apply for a CENSIS Innovation Generation weekend workshop

Application for the CENSIS Innovation Generation weekend workshop is online. Please ensure you check the application closing date for the workshop you are interested in.