The finalists in the Santander Cycles University Challenge
Santander Cycles has announced the five finalists in its Santander Cycles University Challenge – an initiative that offers Santander UK university partners the chance to develop their own bespoke cycle hire scheme on campus.
The University of Birmingham, Brunel University London, the University of Portsmouth, the University of Surrey and Swansea University have been shortlisted from 23 entrants for the chance to win capital funding for a cycle scheme. Each of the five finalists must now run a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to meet the operating costs of their proposal. The month-long campaign starts in early November.
The two universities that achieve the highest percentage over their fundraising target will receive the capital costs for a cycle scheme valued up to £100,000.
The universities’ proposals would initially see up to 50 bicycles based around their campuses. The aim is for the infrastructure to be in place and operational by Spring 2018.
In the initial phase of the competition, the university teams benefited from expert consultancy allowing them to design bike schemes that meet their specific needs. They received support from Santander and its cycle partner Nextbike, which runs more than 130 schemes worldwide. The shortlisted universities are also receiving advice from Crowdfunder, the UK’s leading crowdfunding platform, on how to raise funds to cover the on-going operating costs.
Matt Hutnell, director of Santander Universities UK, said: “Santander is committed to supporting both higher education and local communities across the UK, and we believe that a cycle scheme, such as this one, could bring significant local benefits to the winning institutions.
“We saw an extremely high standard of entries from many universities, so it was quite a challenge for the judging panel to select the finalists. The level of interest has indicated the enthusiasm for cycle schemes and we hope that whoever wins will be able to make a big difference to life on campus.”
The competition was open to 69 of the 81 UK University partners as it excluded those already covered by an existing cycle scheme. The two winning universities will be announced in December 2017 with the scheme due to be launched in Spring 2018.