Students at Eindhoven University of Technology, Wageningen University & Research, Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht have joined together with the City of Utrecht to find solutions to alleviate the negative effects of the coronavirus control measures, such as loneliness among the elderly. They will start working on this Covid Challenge today.

In the Covid Challenge, 49 Bachelor’s and Master’s students from the four institutions will be challenged to find creative solutions to problems that have become part of our daily reality during the coronavirus pandemic: depression among young people, heavy workloads for health care professionals, loneliness among the elderly, but also day-to-day problems such as sharing food or beverages and touching lift buttons. In their work, the students take the national control measures into consideration, but they also receive instruction on the epidemiological and virological aspects of COVID-19, to equip them to arrive at concrete, applicable solutions. The goal is to make people’s lives easier and to generate a positive impact.

The City of Utrecht commissioned the challenge, and staff from the city’s Public Health department will attend the kick-off ceremony today. The students will present their results to the client on 10 June. The City of Wageningen, and most likely the City of Eindhoven as well, will also attend the final presentation so that they can benefit from the students’ solutions to this tangible problem that they have also experienced in their own home towns.

Arnold Bregt, WUR Dean of Education and member of the alliance’s education steering committee: “By participating in this challenge, the students will have control over their own learning process: there are no limits such as exams or learning objectives set by the lecturer. That learning process is more important than the results, but of course we hope that we’ll have some wonderful solutions to present to the client on 10 June.”