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The University of Southampton
Careers and Employability ServiceStudents

Student Innovation Projects

Jasmine Morse, BA Fashion Management & Marketing

Making sure that you are using the transferable skills that you have learnt during your time at University is just as important as your exams and assignments; but how can you put them into practice? Student Innovation Projects are a great opportunity to exercise the areas in which you already excel, increase your knowledge of the working environment and truly make a real impact on how an existing organisation operates.


COVID-19 guidance

As we are sure you will appreciate, we are currently in an unprecedented  situation with the outbreak of coronavirus, which has significantly affected the Student Innovation Projects. We appreciate that these circumstances may be giving you cause for concern and we are aiming to do everything possible to support you. Therefore, we have put together advice and guidance that relates to all Work Experience Programmes which you may find helpful.

Please read our dedicated COVID-19 guidance document

There is currently a new and exciting innovation challenge which commences in Semester 1:


CDK Dealer Tech – University Automotive Technology Competition

An outstanding opportunity, open to all UoS students, for teams to develop a technology product idea that can make a difference to the automotive retail industry.  The winning team from Southampton will win £3,000 and go through to the national competition to have a chance at winning the £10,000 grand prize!

If you are interested in participating, but are not part of a team, please email and we will be happy to bring you together to make a team.

Click here for further details and to watch the kick-off call. You can also read more about the competition on the CDK DealerTech Microsite.



How will Student Innovation Projects benefit you?

Student Innovation Projects are designed for you to be able to gain valuable experience working on a real-life business issue with other students across disciplines. You will be working in a small team paired with either a business, or non-profit organisation to create inventive ways to solve problems and help their business thrive.

These projects are a fantastic way to build your awareness of business problems, and an insight into how to build a professional network while developing skills including:

o Confidence                     o Time management

o Report writing                 o Critical thinking

o Problem solving              o Market research

o Presentation                   o Commercial Awareness


What previous participants have said:

63 students who recently took part in the Student Innovation Project responded to a survey about their experience in which:

98% said they have developed skills and enhanced employability prospects by participating on the Project

100% would recommend the Student Innovation Project to friends/peers

My confidence has improved now I have experience dealing with a ‘real business’, I know now how to put a proper business report together and I have learnt more about how to work successfully in a team.

  • Student Innovation Projects are exclusive to University of Southampton students.
  • Students on any degree discipline can take part, but please ensure the Project does not interfere with your academic workload.
  • Third year and Masters students should bear in mind that Semester 2 Projects sometimes fall over Easter and the months leading up to dissertation deadlines. Please take your workload around this time into account, as pulling out of the programme can significantly affect your group, your project and your client.

Please note: Student Innovation Projects are only available to students currently studying at the University. If you will not be studying for the entire 6-week duration of the project, then you will not be eligible. 

Additionally: Being appointed onto the Student Innovation Projects is a competitive process and unfortunately, not everyone is successful.  When selecting students to participate in the programme we take into consideration the quality of the student application in terms of how well questions have been answered, attention to detail and accuracy. Additionally, in order to ensure a meaningful experience for our students and clients, we seek to appoint interdisciplinary teams with a mix of skillsets, diversity of degree subject, year group and nationality.


Student Innovation Projects will see you working in a small group with other students to solve a real-life business issue given to you by your client (a business or third-sector charity). Working together, you will need to research the issue and report back to the client, providing recommendations of practical solutions to the problem.

Your participation in a project will involve the following:

  • Attendance at a mandatory training day to prepare you for your project
  • Assignment to a team and project
  • An initial meeting with your client to discuss their business needs
  • Support throughout the project will be available from your client and the Careers and Employability Service
  • Work to be carried out on the project for the duration of the 6 weeks – all team members to play an active role in the project and to work together to fit around other commitments
  • Final report to be produced and team presentation to your client and members of the Careers and Employability Service at the end of the 6 weeks
  • Attending the reflection event, to help you recognise the skills you have acquired from participating in your project and how best to present these in future applications

The project duration is 6 weeks and requires around 4-6 hours of your time each week.

To apply to be part of a Student Innovation Project, you will need to complete an application form on MyCareer. Applications will open from January 2021. In your application, you will need to explain why you want to take part in the programme, and what skills you can bring to your team.

Semester 1 - 2020

Due to the current guidance surrounding COVID-19, Student Innovation Projects have been cancelled for semester 1. However, other innovation-based, virtual opportunities will be available. You can find further details about these opportunities above.

Semester 2

Applications open will open in January 2021. To receive updates and be the first to know when applications have re-opened, please register your interest.

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