We know that there is already a huge amount of impactful inclusivity activity going on across the University and we also know that there are many passionate individuals and teams already working and innovating in this space. 

We still have a way to go before every single member of our staff and student community feels fully included at York, and we need to take collective action, extending the conversation beyond those who are already engaged, to make our University community more inclusive.

Our first step is to open up the opportunity to engage with, shape and influence our inclusivity agenda through the EDI Exchange’s Community Change Makers Competition.

What is the competition?

The Community Change Makers Competition offers groups of staff and students the opportunity to work with the EDI Exchange to shape our inclusivity agenda, and ultimately contribute to making York a better, more inclusive, place to work and study.

We are looking for new initiatives and interventions that have the potential to change practice and policy, or that have a community-building focus and will contribute to fostering a stronger sense of belonging for our staff and students.

The winning Community Change Makers will receive support from the EDI Exchange to develop their idea from concept through to delivery. 


We will shortlist five entries to go forward to a final judging event on the afternoon of Wednesday 13 December 2023 (exact times TBC). We will shortlist these entries based on the criteria mentioned below and the successful entrants will be notified, and invited to the final event, via email on Wednesday 22 November 2023

The shortlisted teams will then be asked to develop a Dragon’s-Den-style pitch (with the support of the EDI Exchange and other relevant colleagues where appropriate) to present to the judging panel and an audience of staff and students. The judges will select one winner and one runner up. 

The entries to the Community Change Makers competition will be considered and judged by a panel of staff and students, drawn from the diversity of our university community. 

The confirmed list of judges will appear here later in September 2023.

Final event

The final event will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday 13 December (exact times TBC) in the Bowland Lecture Theatre in the Berrick Saul Building. 

If you are interested in attending the event to watch the final presentations and judging please complete this expression of interest form by 12pm on Friday 17 November. Please note that as places are limited, we will be prioritising those who are shortlisted in the first instance, and all remaining spaces will be allocated fairly across the diversity of our University community.


  • Entries open: Monday 11 September 2023
  • Deadline for entries: 12pm on Friday 17 November 2023
  • Shortlisting of entries: 20 - 23 November 2023
  • Shortlisted entrants notified: 24 November 2023
  • Period for pitch development: 24 November - 12 December 2023
  • Presentation event & final judging: Wednesday 13 December

How to enter

Please submit your competition entry. The deadline for entries is 12pm on Friday 17 November 2023.

Before submitting your entry please read the following entry criteria/terms and conditions:

  • All entrants within a group must be current members of staff and/or current students at the University of York.
  • All ideas must be new and original, i.e. initiatives/projects that are being, or have already been, delivered at York will not be eligible for this competition.
  • Entries can be inspired by existing initiatives at other organisations, but this must be acknowledged and full details provided.
  • Individual staff and students can be involved in more than one entry, however we would encourage teams to collaborate where possible and we will limit entries to two per individual.
  • Where appropriate, entries that are co-created by groups of staff and students are encouraged and will be looked upon favourably at shortlisting and final judging.
  • Entries can address an identified need or gap (see FAQs below), targeting a particular group within our university community, or they can be intersectional by design and benefit the university community as a whole. 
  • Entries must demonstrate and outline how they intend to have a positive impact on inclusivity at York within 12 months.
  • Shortlisted entries will be required to present a clear Theory of Change (see FAQs) in their final pitch presentation to illustrate how their idea will have a positive impact on inclusivity within the York staff and student community.
  • Entries must demonstrate a robust plan for monitoring and evaluation, and each successful entry must provide a report after 12 months/at the end of the initiative.
  • Successful entries/initiatives must be delivered (or at least initiated) in the 2023/2024 academic year.
  • Individuals named in the competition entries are expected to commit to attending the final presentation on Wednesday 13 December, should their entry be shortlisted, however please see FAQs below for information about what adjustments can be made should you not feel able to present at the final event.
  • The judging panel (see above) will select the winning idea and one runner up, and the panel’s decision is final.
  • Individuals named in the competition entries are expected to commit to working with the EDI Exchange to develop and deliver the initiative, should it be successful at the final.
  • By entering the competition, entrants agree that they will assign full ownership and intellectual property rights of the idea to the University of York. The University will become the owner of the concept and any associated intellectual property rights. As such it will be free to use, reproduce, alter, maintain, modify, reproduce in other formats, commercially exploit and/or handle the idea without any payment to the entrant.
  • By entering, entrants agree to their name and ideas being used in any publicity associated with the competition.
  • By entering, entrants understand that their personal data submitted as part of an entry will be held securely and used only for the purposes of participating in, administering and judging the competition.


University level equality data can be found here. You can also find out more by reading the University's Access and Participation Plan, which addresses inequalities of opportunity for undergraduate home students.

A Theory of Change is a tool that allows you to talk about and really clearly define a problem, the changes you want to make and how you intend to make the changes. You can find a more detailed description of Theory of Change on the University Wiki.

The Panel will use all of the entry criteria listed above, but will also take a judgement on the potential impact on the staff/student experience, the feasibility of your idea, the originality of your idea and the detail you provide in your submission. You should address as many of these points as possible in your entry form.

We welcome supplementary materials such as images or videos with your submission, although these are not mandatory. You must still complete the main body of the submission form.

If the same (or very similar) ideas are submitted, we will select the submission which demonstrates more effectively the impact of the idea, which is more feasible and which provides a greater level of detail.

Our expectation is that shortlisted candidates will be available to attend the final event, which will comprise pitches to the judging panel and the awards ceremony. However, we recognise that university, family or other commitments might not make this possible. If your idea is shortlisted we will contact you about the event, and will be pleased to discuss what alternative arrangements might be possible.

We understand that not everyone will feel able to or comfortable presenting their idea in front of an audience. We do not want this to put anyone off entering the competition and therefore if this is the case, and if your entry is shortlisted for the final, we will look to make alternative arrangements - for example, recording your presentation in advance. If you have any questions about this element of the process, or want to discuss this in advance of submitting your entry, please just drop us a line at edi-exchange@york.ac.uk