AU Challenge is a large interdisciplinary case competition for students from all faculties at Aarhus University. Every year, 200 students from all fields of study build up networks and experience by applying their knowledge to solve cases for companies within the framework of the United Nations sustainable development goals. It is the world's most interdisciplinary case competition held at a university.
AU students gain important interdisciplinary experience by participating in AU Challenge. This experience is in demand from companies and increases students’ understanding of their own professional expertise. It points them towards new fields of work and increases their job opportunities. The aim of AU Challenge is for students to train an agile and entrepreneurial mindset, and to learn to understand and collaborate with people from all types of disciplines and cultures. Therefore every effort is made to make the target group for participants as diverse as possible, partly so that it contains the innovation capacity required to solve complex challenges, and partly because the university wants to strengthen collaboration, understanding and cohesion across different disciplines.
At the same time, participating AU students reap experience in applying their knowledge in interaction with both companies and public institutions. AU Challenge encourages students to collaborate with the surrounding society while they are studying, and thus it strengthens their transition from university to the labour market. This is also in line with the fact that employers are looking for people with experience in working in teams and with the ability to link their academic knowledge and competencies with knowledge from other fields of study.
An important objective for AU is, through AU Challenge, to demonstrate to the students that they can seek to influence major societal and global challenges, and that their commitment is actually crucial to solving these challenges. Solving the complex problems of the world in the future will require an interdisciplinary mindset, combining knowledge from different domains. Seen in a wider perspective, this is also why it is important to secure that students have strong interdisciplinary competencies.
One or more of the UN sustainable development goals will be a general theme for the business cases to be worked on during AU Challenge. Based on the sustainable development goals, the students will propose sustainable solutions for realistic and topical cases from companies and public institutions. In other words, the solutions will be locally anchored but with a global perspective and upscaling potential, where business development is combined with the UN sustainable development goals and global sustainable considerations.
AU Challenge is an important element in AU's strategic initiative for the period 2020-2025, and it aims to create better cohesion between education and the labour market through close ties with the business community.