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

All-Innovate is Oxford's inter-college idea competition. 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. The 2020 competition open in Hilary 2020. 

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: 

21 October 2019: Colleges start announcing their involvement. In 2018 we were delighted that 21 colleges competed. 

20 January 2020: Entry open 

16 February 2020: Entry closed

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 

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

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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.  



Pitching ideas

FAQs for All-Innovate

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. 

When can I apply?

The next round of the All-Innovate competition will open in Hilary 2020. 

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.

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.

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. 

Selection Process

Shortlist - 20 teams will be shortlisted to attend a 1-day boot camp, with experts and mentors who will provide guidance and feedback. At the end of this day, all teams will pitch their idea, and 10 finalists will be selected by the judging panel.

Finalists - The 10 finalists will pitch at the All Innovate final contest. Prior to this, all finalists will be invited to a 1 week long boot camp, which will offer additional guidance and support to help the teams to refine their proposition and pitch.

3 Winners:

1 Top Prize  - Innovation of the Year Award £10,000

2 Highly commended awards £5,000

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 will be involved in the 1 day selection boot camp? 

The one day boot camp will involve an intensive ‘Pitching’ workshop after which, teams will pitch to judges and mentors who will offer guidance and feedback throughout the day. The day will end with teams pitching to a judging panel who will combine feedback from throughout the day to shortlist the final 10 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 is the commitment if colleges ‘opt in’?

Opting into the competition is a commitment from the colleges to encourage their students to get involved in the competition. Ideally, each college who opts in will be able to submit a minimum of 1 application from their students.

What happens if a college doesn’t opt in, and a student from that college wants to apply?

If a team of students wishes to apply but none of their colleges have opted in, their application will be supported by The Oxford Foundry. Students will be given the opportunity to nominate their college to take part. The Oxford Foundry will collate nominations and communicate these to the relevant colleges.

How will applications be collected and distributed?

The Oxford Foundry will collect all applications and distribute these to Colleges for shortlisting. Each College will then choose and submit their top two entries to the Oxford Foundry. Entries that make it through this round of applications will then be invited on the 1 day boot camp, after which the final 10 teams will be selected to pitch.

What are the judging criteria?

  • Light bulb - does the idea capture the imagination
  • Team -  diversity of team will be looked on favourably; particularly in relation to diversity across disciplines and gender
  • Quality of pitch – quality of slides, how effectively the idea is communicated
  • Impact - Is the idea of benefit to society, does it have a clear purpose and problem to solve?
  • Validity of idea - strength of value proposition and business model

What were the finalist's ideas 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>>

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 this via

Pitching ideas

Colleges participating

In 2020 32 Colleges have opted in, they are:

Brasenose College

Christ Church

Exeter College

Green Templeton College

Harris Manchester College

Hertford College

Jesus College

Keble College

Kellogg College

Lady Margaret Hall

Linacre College

Lincoln College

Magdalen College

Mansfield College

Merton College

New College

Oriel College

Pembroke College

Queen's College

Regent's Park College

Somerville College

St Anne's College

St Benet's

St Catherine's

St Edmund Hall

St Hugh's College

St John's College

Trinity College 

University College 

Wadham College

Wolfson College

Wycliffe Hall

*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.


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.”


“Through All-Innovate at the Foundry, I had the opportunity to apply the business skills and learnings from my MBA course, and also to meet and interact with other amazing students from the wider University. It was also a great chance to develop teamwork, as we basically assembled in less than a week and had to work on a full pitch. 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!”


Thank you to our 2020 supporter

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