All-Innovate is Oxford University's inter-college idea competition for the WHOLE University

All-Innovate is Oxford's inter-college idea competition run by the Oxford Foundry in partnership with Oxford colleges. Students pitch entrepreneurial ideas for a chance to win a top prize of £10,000 prize money, and two runner up prizes of £5,000 each. All-Innovate is led by Oxford Colleges, in partnership with The Oxford Foundry. 

All-Innovate encourages ALL students at Oxford, regardless of discipline, to develop an entrepreneurial skill-set and to generate entrepreneurial ideas - useful skills for all careers. READ ABOUT THE WINNERS OF ALL-INNOVATE 2019!

Key dates: 

20 January 2020: Entry open

16 February 2020: Entry closes

4 March 2020: Shortlisted entries attend a one day selection bootcamp at the Oxford Foundry

12 March 2020: All-Innovate final - The top 10 team pitch to leading judges for prize money. **THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO TRINITY TERM**

20-24 April 2020: Winning teams attend a 5 day bootcamp to help turn their idea into reality. 

Start thinking of new ideas with our Design Thinking workshops delivered by IBM and turn them into reality in our Idea Exploration workshops delivered by Entrepreneur First. Explore our online learning library and Creative Live.  

your idea

I strongly believe that SeaStrong and the All-Innovate competition were an essential part of my Oxford experience. It was fun and it contributed a lot to my personal growth, plus exposed me to a lot of skills that will help me professionally too – like delivering a pitch in front of CEOs, lecturers and fellow students!”


Competition information for All-Innovate

When can I apply?

Online entry for All-Innovate is 20 Jan 2020 - 16 Feb 2020. 

Am I eligible to apply?

The competition is open to all current University of Oxford students who have an official association to an Oxford College. Applications to the competition must be done via a participating college.  If a team is made up of members of multiple participating colleges, then the team will apply through the college of the founder/leading team member, and may not submit multiple applications through multiple colleges. Should there be two co-founders, the college through which they apply will be at the team's own discretion.

All applicants MUST be members of the Oxford Foundry. Becoming a member is free, easy, simply complete the online membership form and then come to collect your membership card from the Foundry next time you are passing.

Is my idea at the right stage to apply?

Entrants will be judged on the idea itself as opposed to how developed the idea is. So whether you have just thought about an innovative solution to an everyday problem and think you might have found a niche, or you have been working on your idea for some time and have started to gain some traction, All-Innovate is for you!

What are the judging criteria?

  • What is the problem that your idea is helping to solve? (Is there a clear need, does an interesting market exist? Will it be of benefit to society? What is the potential for positive impact?)
  • How well does your idea address the problem? (Is your idea innovative, does it address the problem in a new way? How is it superior to potential competitors?)
  • Strength of team (Why is this team best placed to work on this idea? Diversity of team and collaboration across departments will be looked on favourably)
  • Potential viability of the idea (Considering the information provided about the idea, and the skillsets of the team)
  • Quality of application (How effectively the idea is communicated)

What if my college hasn't opted in?

If you have an official association to a college, but that college hasn't opted into the competition, then you are still eligible to enter the competition, represented by the Oxford Foundry.

Who can apply?

The competition is open to all current University of Oxford students who have an official association to an Oxford College. Applications to the competition must be done via a participating college. At least one member of each team must have an association with the college through which they apply.  If a team is made up of members of multiple participating colleges, then the team will apply through the college of the founder/leading team member, and may not submit multiple applications through multiple colleges. Should there be two co-founders, the college through which they apply will be at the team's own discretion. 

Key dates

  • The bootcamp on Wednesday 4th March 9.00-18.00
  • Pitching practise during the day of 11th-12th March 
  • The All-Innovate Final is the evening on the 12th March

Those who reach the final 10 will also be awarded a place on the Oxford Foundry's 5 day start-up sprint which will take place 20th-24th April.

What additional support is there? 

Our Idea Exploration workshops series takes you through all the steps of coming up with new ideas, testing and building on them. Check out our term card for venture pitching events and more. 

    Selection Process

    • College shortlist – Each college will select their top 2 applicants and submit them to the Oxford Foundry Bootcamp selection day.
    • During the bootcamp selection day, the top 8 teams will be selected to go through to the All-Innovate final.
    • Finalists - The 8 finalists will pitch at the All Innovate final contest for their chance to win a share of the prize money.

    3 Winners:

    • Best Idea - £10,000
    • Best Undergraduate idea - £5,000
    • Best Postgraduate idea - £5,000

    What will be involved in the 1 day selection boot camp?

    The top two entrants from each college will go through to the bootcamp selection day. Whilst the day is a part of the shortlisting process to select the final 8 teams, it is also a fantastic learning opportunity to work with and receive feedback from expert mentors on your idea.

    The one day boot camp day will involve 2 rounds of selection. Firstly you will pitch your idea to designated expert mentors, there will then be a pitching workshop, whilst the mentors decide who to take through to the second round. The teams who get through the first round will go on to pitch to the afternoon judging panel who will go on to shortlist the final 8 teams.

    What will be involved in the 1 week boot camp for finalists?

    The five day intensive workshop will be designed to support and prepare the teams in their vital next steps to move their business forward. The week will be made up of immersive workshops and deep-dives with experts. By the end of the week, each term will walk away with a personal and business development action plan.

    I have an idea but how do I find team mates?

    The best place to find team-mates is to engage with The Oxford Foundry! We have a number of workshops and events through which you can meet and connect with students from across the university.

    In addition to this, join the Foundry community and come and visit! The co-working space is designed to encourage students to connect and collaborate through communal notice boards and collaborative working areas, and membership is entirely FREE to all University of Oxford students. Fill in a membership form today.

    What are the guidelines around spending the prize money?

    The prize money awarded is for the winning teams to spend on developing their idea. The Oxford Foundry will work with the winning teams, providing them with mentorship and guidance as to how to best allocate the given prize money.

    What about Equity and IP?

    The Oxford Foundry will not take any equity or claim any ownership in ideas or intellectual property (IP) created by teams or individuals through their participation in the All-Innovate Competition.

    However, if non-Foundry University staff contribute to your idea outside of All-Innovate, if University research is involved or your ideas have been developed using other University resources or facilities, there may well be formal legal obligations between the University and its staff or the sponsor(s) of the research that you might not be aware of as a student entrepreneur. More information can be found here or you can contact OUI directly if you have specific questions around IP and Equity:

    For more general questions about the All-Innovate competition, please email

    Are visiting students able to enter the competition?

    Whilst the primary audience for the competition is full time students, visiting students are eligible to enter, at the college's discretion, if they have official association with the college.

    Is this competition connected with the Tri-Innovate idea competition?

    Following a kind donation, Will Hutton, Principal of Hertford College and Pat Nuttal, Fellow of Wolfson College, launched Tri-Innovate in 2015 as a collaborative initiative between Hertford, Pembroke and Wolfson Colleges. Following the tremendous success and growth of the competition since 2015, Will and Pat have endorsed and are supporting The Oxford Foundry to scale the competition to include all 38 colleges, expanding the opportunity to all students at Oxford.

    What were the winners and finalists in 2019?


    Last year the finalist's ideas included:

    • 📰 A digital news platform to curate your ideal newspaper
    • 🌍 recyclable 3D-printed medical devices for developing countries
    • 🦗 insect farming using waste food produce
    • 🚰bottled water subscription service, a consultancy service offering uncommon ideas
    • 💯a crowd-sourced platform to help you commit to your pledges
    • 🎓a platform to connect international students with alumni who help them pay their tuition fees
    • 📊 AI-generated census data
    • 🕹️Virtual Reality for design
    • 💱microfinance
    • ⚕️AI early-stage cancer diagnosis
    • 📝a platform to organise journal papers
    • 💊a patch to help treat drug overdose
    • 🌱automated greenhouses for your home
    • 🆘 panic buttons for victims of domestic abuse
    • ♻️upcycling waste in India
    • 👵an app to support the care of the elderly
    • 🚴‍♀️smart bike racks
    • ℹ️ welfare support service for uni students
    • 🔬an app to help set up science experiments
    • 🥡 supermarket reusable packaging
    • ⌨️electronic stamps for cybersecurity
    • 🔦a navigation app for conflict zones
    • ⛹️a doctor-led app to support exercise
    • 📟a visual analysis tool for disease diagnosis
    • 🍣 a sustainable seaweed seasoning
    • 🎙️a radio show in Senegal to learn english
    • 🚨better intelligence information for emergency service staff
    • 👪a chatbot to help with parenting
    • 💉an app to help people overcome the fear of needles
    • 🌊a water pollution net solution
    • 😷a group chat platform for doctors
    • 🍬a solution for turning sugar into fibre
    • ☕a reusable coffee cup
    • 🌃a night-time safety app
    • 🥣diabetic-friendly restaurants
    • 👾3D imaging with a 2D sensor. 

    How much involvement do the Foundry have with engaging alumni?

    The engagement with alumni, and the degree to which the college wishes to involve their alumni in the competition is at the discretion of each college. The length, duration and monitoring of relationship between entrepreneurial alumni and students is the responsibility of the college. The link to the University Safeguarding Code of Practise can be found here>>

    Colleges participating

    In 2020 the Colleges who have opted in are:

    Brasenose College

    Christ Church

    Exeter College

    Green Templeton College: Bricks & Order and AttAIn represent Green Templeton in All-Innovate 2020

    Harris Manchester College

    Hertford College

    Jesus College

    Keble College

    Kellogg College

    Lady Margaret Hall

    Linacre College

    Lincoln College

    Magdalen College

    Merton College

    New College

    Oriel College

    Pembroke College

    Queen's College

    Regent's Park College

    Somerville College

    St Anne's College

    St Antony's College

    St Catherine's

    St Edmund Hall

    St Hugh's College

    St John's College

    Trinity College 

    University College 

    Wadham College

    Wolfson College

    *Students from Colleges who have not opted in can still apply and get involved in the competition, represented by the Oxford Foundry

    In its inaugural year, 2019, 21 Oxford colleges participated.


    Pitching ideas
    Pitching ideas

    My Cofounder Inna and I first met when we were competing against each other as finalists in the Oxford Foundry’s All-Innovate competition. Back then we were both working on completely different ideas leading different teams.I felt early on that combining our expertise had great potential for an exciting new venture in the personalised neurology space. And this was it, Neurolytic Healthcare was born! Over the next few weeks I recruited a diverse team of seven PhD students from Oxford that would allow us to turn our idea into reality.

    Roman Rothaermel, Cofounder, Neurolytic Healthcare

    The Oxford Foundry offers a place for students to gather with purpose, to grow their ideas with like-minded people, eager to apply their talents to enterprising initiatives. It has been wonderful to see so many Somervillians seize the chance to be a part of this entrepreneurial community, particularly through the Foundry’s first inter-college ideas competition, All-Innovate.”

    Jan Royall, Baroness, Principal of Somerville College

    “It is not always easy to make the leaps of faith which produce entrepreneurial ideas. I am enormously impressed at how the Oxford Foundry has provided students and alumni with a forum
    in which to do this, empowering them with both confidence and the courage to innovate, that can only come from thinking and working together in a multidisciplinary and supportive environment.”

    Miles Young, Warden of New College

    “Winning the All-Innovate competition has been a springboard, propelling to further perfect our business, establish strategic clinical and scientific collaborations, and present on the international stage. Since our win, we have presented our business at Founders Forum HealthTech in London, where attendees included health innovation leaders such as Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England, and the UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. We have been establishing collaborations with the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and we are in the process of establishing further clinical and scientific partnerships, with experts both in the UK and North America. We now have a full-time research intern working for our business and are acquiring further seed funding so that we can establish a strong business structure with full-time employees.”


    Thank you to our 2020 supporter

    All-Innovate 2020 is held in partnership with Oxford Sciences Innovation.