The University of the Future Challenge

The UoF Challenge aims to create a collective of inspirational innovative ideas that will be used to inform the UCT strategic roadmap towards 2034. The ideas that make it through phase 1 could be funded through the UoF Fund or through donor funding. All successful UoF Challenge Ideas will be showcased at the UoF exhibition.

Call Timelines

31 May 2023

Launch Event

15 June 2023

Input from co-creation workshop considered by UoF steering committee

31 July 2023

Phase 1: Launch of Call for UoF Challenge Ideas

01 August – 31 October 2023

Stakeholder Roadshows – Conceptualising the UoF

01 November 2023

Deadline for UoF Challenge Ideas

November 2023

Phase 2: What to expect after the challenge?

February 2024

Showcase UoF Challenge Ideas and current UoF projects (Exhibition Event)

June 2024

Phase 3: Submission of UoF Project designs to the relevant university Committees

Although the UoF Project Steering Committee endeavors to abide by the above-mentioned dates, it should be noted that the nature and complexity of the UoF Project requires synchronisation of all processes and alignment within the UCT governance structures. UoF Project therefore reserve the right to change and amend the above-mentioned dates without prior notification to applicants.

Phase 1 – Call for ideas

1. Application process

Please read through the call for ideas process details thoroughly. The link to submit ideas is available at the end of this section.

UoF Challenge Ideas can be submitted according to the following themes or a combination of themes as below:

  • Teaching and Learning: Create adaptable learning offerings geared towards social justice and responsive to the changing labour market.
  • Research: Create an environment in which new knowledge can be co-created to address local and grand challenges; and practice justice-oriented and equitable dissemination of knowledge.
  • Inclusive: Adapt existing spaces into versatile, student-centred, multi-sited accessible teaching, learning and research spaces and identifying opportunities for new people-centred spaces.
  • Smart Campus: Optimise equitable opportunities through smart technology and artificial intelligence, while addressing the risks posed by technology.
  • Green-Campus: Adapt campuses to be eco-efficient.
  • Heritage: Establish creative, informative spaces and experiences that link historical narratives in the built environment with histories of indigenous knowledge in the fauna and flora through critical exhibitionary and curatorial practice, including the strategic positioning of existing heritage to attract diverse local and international researchers and scholars.

The UoF project themes emerged from the co-creation workshop held at the UoF project launch on 31 May 2023.

This table should serve as a guide to applicants regarding the size and importance of project ideas:



Estimated budget

Tier 1

Projects that aim to create a more vibrant environment without changing the physical infrastructure. May include equipment, furniture, painting.

Up to R500 000

Tier 2

Minor refurbishments of existing infrastructure and equipment

Up to R2 000 000

Tier 3

Major refurbishments of existing infrastructure

R2 - 5 million

Tier 4

New infrastructure or equipment

More than R10 million

Applications can only be made by groups and not by individuals. A group should consist of at least one student and at least one staff member. A group can have up to 5 members. There will be an added advantage if members of the group are from different disciplines, and if they also include UCT alumni. The lead applicant can be either a staff member or student, as deemed appropriate by the group.

2. Review process

UoF ideas will be reviewed and curated for the UoF Exhibition by the committee appointed by the UoF steering committee.

3. Funding

No funding will be provided to the participants. Successful projects may be funded in the future through the University of the Future Fund.

4. Submission Deadline

Deadline for submission: 19:00, 01 November 2023.

Phase 2 – What to expect after the challenge?

1. Ideas to projects

Following the closing date, UoF Project Proposals will be reviewed by the UoF Review Panel. The expert panel will evaluate each proposal based on the following broad criteria:

  • Adherence to the UoF project themes.
  • Positioning UCT within the existing eco-system.
  • Leveraging funds and developing financial sustainability models through partnerships and establishing resource-sharing networks on the African continent.
  • Alignment with UCT’s Vision 2030.

2. Project Designs

The UoF steering committee will work with designers to turn the ideas into concepts and designs for projects. At this stage some of you may be contacted or requested to submit or contribute further to the design process.

3. Funding

The University of the Future fund will be used for the implementation of the projects. None of the applicants will receive funding directly for the implementation of their projects.

Intellectual Property

UCT has the right to make use of ideas submitted and take them forward in any manner.

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Contact details:

Project manager: Ms Bobbie Jacobs
Servicing officer: Ms Delight Masocha
Chair of the UoF Challenge Ideas committee: Mr Nave Naidoo and Dr Philippa Tumubweinee
Chair of the UoF project steering committee: Prof Salome Maswime