Careers Service

What does a Change Agent do?

Find out about the programme and the challenges featured.

Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.

Change Agents work in small groups with other students, staff and external organisations to tackle complex challenges. These challenges have a major impact on society, the environment or the economy, have no simple solutions and cannot be addressed in isolation. Each challenge addresses at least 3 of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals

They are posed by organisations who are keen for innovative thinking from students who want to collaborate with each other and with them to make a difference.


The programme:

  • Is multi-disciplinary, involving students from all degrees and years of study
  • Includes external organisations as challenge hosts, who provide expertise, data and open up networks and further opportunities for students
  • Provides training in key skills such as design thinking, using data to solve problems, team work and pitching ideas
  • Has personal and professional development at its core


Some of the challenges which have been tackled so far include:

  • Ending violence against children
  • Gender financial equality
  • Circular economy
  • Healthy ageing in communities
  • Designing out waste in the construction industry
  • Aligning fintech firms with the UN’s Sustainable Development goals
  • Reducing Youth Homelessness in Scotland
  • Environmentally sustainable revival of the Scottish tourism industry post-Covid

Have a look at our Media Hopper page to find out more about previous challenges and see the amazing videos which Change Agents have produced.

Students As Change Agents

Feedback from students who’ve participated in the programme so far has been incredibly positive – some have said that it is the best thing they’ve ever done at university! They have learnt how to apply their learning to tackle problems, to use data to solve problems and most significantly, collaborate with others to achieve results. They have also grown in confidence with networking with each other, staff and the external hosts.

Tackling a very big issue seems do-able, now that I fairly understand how to approach it. Not that the problem becomes simpler, but just, I understand the complexity better and have learnt how to look at it from multiple perspectives.

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