What will I learn?

You will learn about global issues, sustainability, ethical decision making, and how these relate to you and your chosen degree subject. You will learn about project management and then get the opportunity to practise what you have learnt in managing the project through the week (in collaboration with the rest of your group).  You will also develop the following skills: team working, communicating your ideas and being able to assess your own strengths and weaknesses.  You may already have worked extensively in teams at school, in which case you will be able to bring that experience with you and use it to the full advantage of your new team.

How does it relate to my degree?

You are in the first year of your degree and will have two or three more years of study ahead of you. During that time, the knowledge and skills that you will learn and develop during the GEC will help underpin your ongoing studies on many occasions.

Will you be undertaking projects (whether individually or in groups)? Learning about project management will come in handy then!

Will you be working in groups? Learning how to work together in a team and overcome difficulties will be useful!

Will you have to use your knowledge and judgment to solve a real-world problem?  Real problems are complex and often involve balancing conflicting requirements.  To develop effective engineering solutions involves an iterative process of problem analysis, solution identification, development and critical evaluation and decisions based on engineering knowledge and judgement.  This project will provide a framework for tackling complex problems.

Will you ever do work that involves working with the constraints of a particular geographical location or requirements of a user group not exactly the same as yourself? Understanding more about the world, global issues and how sustainability and inter-linked systems underpin successful engineering solutions might be useful.

Will you ever work for a “client”? Being able to view things from a different perspective is fundamental to all engineers/computer scientists.

Will you ever have to explain/ answer questions about your own work?  If we aren’t able to explain to others the value and importance of the work we do, then people will stop believing in us/ funding us/ employing us!  

My degree is accredited, does it impact on that?

The skills and knowledge developed through engagement in GEC are used for accrediting your degrees. They include the following:

  • Plan, budget, organise, direct and control tasks, people and resources.
  • Be confident and flexible in dealing with new and changing interpersonal situations.
  • Communicate in English with others at all levels.
  • Present and discuss proposals.
  • Undertake engineering activities in a way that contributes to sustainable development.

Will it help me get a job?

Employers will expect you to have technical competence in your chosen subject area, but they also want to know that you can function effectively in the workplace. That means being able to work in teams, working with people from different subject areas, nationalities and cultures. They will want you to be able to demonstrate your skills in these areas by giving examples of scenarios, including things that may have been difficult, and how you helped navigate through them.  You may already be doing things that contribute to this experience, such as having a part time job,  working for a student society or activities in the community. Your experiences in Global Engineering Challenge will add to this, giving you further scenarios that you can call on.  


Where do I go?

At 9am on Monday 21 st January 2019, you need to be in a lecture theatre for the opening of the GEC. You will be told which lecture theatre in an email you will receive in the week beginning 14th January 2019. This information will also be available from this website. You will be instructed in the opening lecture, where to go next.

Who will be in my group?

You will be given the opportunity to rank the projects in order of your preference. The groups of 5 (occasionally 6) will be compiled using this information, but we also want to mix you up, so we will ensure that there are students from several departments in every group. There are over 1200 first year students in the Faculty of Engineering and all are doing the GEC. It is therefore unlikely (although not impossible) that you will know your other group members. You will do by the end of the week.

What is a Hub?

Seven groups are gathered together in a Hub.  Each Hub has its own room for the week and its own dedicated Hub Facilitator. Your Facilitator is a PhD student.

Who will be helping me?

 Hub Facilitator

The person you will most often see is your Hub Facilitator who is a PhD student. The Facilitators will be both leading on the teaching and helping you progress your project.

All the Facilitators are doing PhDs either within the Faculty of Engineering or are studying a topic related to the themes of the GEC in a different area of the University.  They are a friendly bunch; maybe you are interested in finding out a bit about their PhD and why they chose to carry on studying?


Each Hub has a dedicated staff member who will be there at a number of times in the week.

A Faculty of Engineering Alumnus

On Wednesday, we hope to have a recent graduate from the Faculty of Engineering (an alumnus) in each hub. The alumnus will talk to you about their experience in getting a job and share any tips with you. You will be able to ask them questions. They will also be involved in looking at the progress your group has made in tackling your project and they will give you feedback.

What happens in the Boardroom?

 Have you ever watched the TV show “The Apprentice”? In The Apprentice, a team of people who have been tasked with an activity under a nominated team leader, report back to the “Board” at the end of the day, detailing their achievements and any problems. Similarly, during the GEC, your team will be asked to prepare some information detailing the teams progress, and in your team, go to the Boardroom. The Board will comprise your Hub Facilitator, your Hub Staff member and your Hub Alumnus. There will also be another one or two teams from your Hub observing. Your team will report on their progress, achievements and problems so far. The Board will ask questions and give feedback, in order to help your team progress.


How do I pass?

The assessment of GEC is modeled on what happens in the workplace. You are expected to be present (from 9am-5pm each day), to contribute positively to your team and that the team produces good outputs (Project Report and a Presentation). All these elements of work will be assessed and contribute to whether you pass the week.  

How do I achieve a distinction?

If your teams’s Report and Presentation are marked as a distinction and provided you have contributed fully, then you will be awarded a distinction.

What happens if I fail?

The GEC is obligatory for progression through your degree. If you fail, the procedure will be the same as for other formal assessments, such as exams. That is, you will be offered the opportunity to do a resit activity.

Is there a prize?

In each hub, there will be two group prizes awarded in the week. The first is based on “Professional Behaviours” and is about the team’s behaviour in the Wednesday Boardroom as decided by the alumnus. The second is based on the team presentation on the Friday afternoon and will be awarded at the end of the week in the closing lecture.
The team submitting the best report in each hub will also be invited to submit an amended report for selection to represent Sheffield in the EWB Engineering for People Design Challenge national competition.


What do I do if I’m ill or I have a personal problem which prevents me attending?

If you are ill or experience a personal problem that prevents you from attending part or all of the GEC, then you must do two things:

    1. Phone your department immediately.

    ACSE = 0114 2225250
    CBE = 0114 2227539
    CIV = 0114 2225738
    COM = 0114 2221800
    EEE = 0114 2225411
    MAT = 0114 2225467
    MEC = 0114 2227803
    IPO = 0114 2227852

    Should this go to answer machine then leave a message stating your name, your department and a contact phone number.

    2. Complete an Extenuating Circumstances Form which can be downloaded or collected in person from SSiD. You will need to provide a doctor’s note and then submit the completed form along with your doctors note to your departmental office.

    Please note that your Extenuating Circumstances Form must be with your department by Monday February 5th.

    ASCE = acse-support@sheffield.ac.uk
    CBE = cbe-studentsupport@sheffield.ac.uk
    CIV = civil-support@sheffield.ac.uk
    COM = dcs@sheffield.ac.uk
    EEE = infoeee@sheffield.ac.uk
    MAT = l.c.mason@sheffied.ac.uk​
    MEC = jason.hawley@sheffield.ac.uk
    IPO = ipo-enquiries@sheffield.ac.uk

Please note that as the GEC is part of the formal assessment for your degree, the same rules apply as for exams. The explanatory notes detailing what constitutes Extenutating Circumstances are here http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/forms/circsnotes.

What are the implications of missing part or all of the GEC through Extenuating Circumstances?

The GEC is a formal assessment and as such you need to demonstrate that you have achieved the learning that is required. Missing part of all of the week due to Extenuating Circumstances means that your absence will be recorded on your student record as “Not Assessed” or NA (as opposed to a Fail if you did not have Extenuating Circumstances).  However, you will still need to do the work to demonstrate your competence in this subject area.  You will therefore be asked to do a resit activity.  

What happens if I have a job interview or assessment centre?

If you have a job interview or assessment centre and let us know in advance, then you will be exempt the time to attend the event. You will need to provide evidence.
Please complete the google form linked here providing details of the activity and the evidence. A member of the project team will email you to confirm that you have an agreed absence from GEC.

Absence Form

What happens if I have an exam?

If you have an exam then you need to let us know. Please complete the google form linked here to. A member of the project team will email you as confirmation.
Absence Form

What happens if I am late?

Your Hub Facilitator will explain on your first meeting the process for monitoring attendance. If you are late arriving at your Hub then you should follow what you have been told to do, but please remember it is your responsibility to ensure that your facilitator knows you are present.

The amount of time that you are late over the week will be summed up and may lead to you failing the week. You will then have to do the resit assignment in order to achieve a Pass.

I am playing sport on Wednesday afternoon, what do I do?

If you are representing the University in a British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) fixture on the Wednesday afternoon then you will be exempt this time. If its an away fixture, then you will be allowed the morning off for travel. However, you must let us know in advance of the week by completing the google form. Please note that the SU are also helping us by providing fixtures and team lists.
Absence Form

What happens if I have religious commitments?

If you have religious commitments during the week, then you may already have told us by way of the Religious Observance form, linked below:


If you have not done that then you need to let us know by email as soon as possible (gec@sheffield.ac.uk) and during the week, you should talk to your Hub Facilitator about any conflicts in the week.


How do I contact the organisers?

Michael is the administrator of the GEC and you can contact him on: gec@sheffield.ac.uk