Seeking for socially, economically and environmentally sustainable solutions

Challenge campus - About

The event is devoted to MSc and PhD students from different fields of study, who go through life with open eyes, wish to contribute to make the World a better place to live and are open to other people’s opinions and who wish to acquire skills in the field of science communication.

Challenge campus will be organised according to the principles of “challenge-based learning” and will follow the path Engage > Investigate > Act > Document. It will stimulate students, working in groups to identify a challenge during the visit of the preselected company, and develop an idea for improvement. Following a short workshop, the groups will prepare a (draft) short proposal and pitch their idea. Both, the proposal and the pitch will be evaluated by a commission to award the prize for the best group.


- Acquiring “soft” communication skills (preparation of project proposal, pitch)

- Connecting doctoral students from different fields of study at IPS with the students of social sciences and humanities at ZRC SAZU

- Promoting innovation, creativity and social awareness


Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School (IPS/MPŠ) in collaboration with Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts (ZRC SAZU).

Location of the workshop:

Outside Ljubljana - hostel or youth hostel (e.g. Marine Biology Station Piran, CŠOD OE Bohinj, .. )

(Online, if in-person meetings not possible)


MSc and PhD students of natural and technical sciences (IPS) and students of humanities and social science (ZRC SAZU)

The students will work in groups of 4-5 members from different (complementary) fields / course of study (ecotechnology + nanotechnology + Information and communication technology + sensors + social sciences/humanities).


The whole event will involve three steps:

1st step: Identification of challenges

The students will visit the companies, accompanied by an IPS mentor. The hosts will introduce them to the production program, life-cycle of the products, challenges for the future, etc. The presentations will be followed by a vivid discussion, where the students are expected to ask questions and create first ideas of possible improvements in any of the various perspectives: new products, technology, marketing approaches, recycling, etc, without being limited by the realistic quick changes.

Challenge keywords: Sustainability; circular economy; concern for the environment; recycling; durability; new products; quality of life; marketing approaches; communication.

2nd step: Development of ideas

Without a defined timeframe, the groups are encouraged to brainstorm about the challenges and select one, which will be used in the third step.

3rd step: 2-days Workshop (weekend)

Day 1: Morning session (2 hours; 9-11h)

- Introduction (lecture): prof. Saša Novak

- Discussion about the challenges/ideas with coaches (rotation)

- Project preparation (lecture)

- Pitch (lecture)

- Instruction for the workshop and discussion

Afternoon session: (4 hours; 14-18h)

- Workshop: (by help of the lecturers)

Preparation of short (2 pages) project proposal (template) - continuation in the Day2

Preparation of pitch - continuation in the Day2

Evening: teambuilding activities

Day 2: Morning session (3 hours; 9-12h)

- Continuation from Day 1

Afternoon session: (2 hours; 14-16h)

- Short presentations of the projects, followed by 2 min questions given by the commission

- Announcement of the best group


The Commission:

- company representatives

- IPS representatives (and ZRC SAZU)

- journalists


Am I allowed to visit more than one company?

Yes, you can visit as many companies as you want!

Do I have to visit all the companies and then decide which group I’ll join?

No, you can decide whenever you want to join a group or form one. You can do it in the middle of the first visit to the first company or after the visit to the last company. Though you have to visit at least 3/5 companies to be eligible to receive the 5 ECTS.

Can I visit a company even if I don’t want to be a part of the Challenge campus experience?

Yes, you can visit any and all companies without any obligations.

What do I get for being part of the Challenge campus project?

Apart from acquiring real-life experience in project and team management, collaborating with the private sector, improving your research and communication skills, getting to know your colleagues and people in these companies, you also receive 5 ECTS and a certificate of “Challenge campus participant”. If you write the best proposal and prepare the best pitch, you can also receive a nice reward and a formal certificate of “Best project and pitch in 2021/2022 Challenge campus”. A really motivated team can further collaborate with the company, prepare proper extensive solutions, propose projects and obtain funding, write and publish publications, etc.

How much time will I have to devote to Challenge campus?

This can vary from person to person, group to group, but you should be prepared to reserve 3-5 days to visit companies, two days for the workshop and one day to deliver your pitch. You must also prepare a 2 A4 page project outline and a 3-minute pitch, which should also take a few days. 5 ECTS point are generally an equivalent of 125 hours of work, which in this case includes all the visits, workshops, preparation of the project and pitch, presenting your work, reading this description and all other activities associated with Challenge campus.

If I'm not a student of IPS or ZRC SAZU, can I also join the company visits and Challenge campus?

Yes, you can join both, though there is a limited number of people that can be involved. If there is too many people, IPS and ZRC SAZU students will be selected first.

I work at JSI as a young researcher and would like to visit a company, do I need a travel warrant ("potni nalog") for this trip?

Yes, you should obtain a travel warrant, though it's best if you discuss this with the secretaries at JSI and/or your department.