Univative 2020

A higher education consultancy competition featuring inter-discipline and inter-cultural problem-solving and collaboration.

The 2020 Univative projects featured social and technological connections to improve quality of life and the environment and achieve sustainability goals with industry and community groups.

Project dates

2019 - 2020

Project overview

Univative is a student-industry career and employability development program. In 2020, eight university career services and two technology partners overcame unprecedented challenges to relaunch a digitally transformed Univative to 312 students comprising 52 teams and over 70 industry representatives from 15 organisations. The intensive 4-week program features intercultural, inter-discipline, and interuniversity collaboration.

Project background

Univative grew from the collaborative NAGCAS NSW/ACT network from 2011 to 2017, with early input from the University of Wollongong and central coordination by Macquarie University and the University of Technology Sydney. In 2017, a Univative working group was tasked to conceptualise a central operational model. In 2019, with NAGCAS NSW/ACT’s endorsement, a Study NSW partnership grant was secured to re-launch Univative 2020.

The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in the cessation and postponement of many student programs. Univative responded to the crisis by augmenting a digital transformation overcoming geospatial boundaries. Collaborators persisted to excel in delivery. It achieved a heartening outcome of participation by eight universities, two technology partners, 15 projects organisations, and 312 students. Univative has now served over 1384 students from 10 participating universities and 48 organisations.

Project highlights

The 2020 Univative projects featured social and technological connections to improve quality of life and the environment and achieve sustainability goals with industry and community groups.

The 2020 digital transformation of Univative proved feasible a scalable nation-wide program for future delivery, including training, work submission, and stakeholder interactions. Universities with regional campuses, can now access Univative. The 2020 project finalised a sustainable central operating model to ensure ongoing continual delivery for all stakeholders.

Project outcomes

52 university teams produced solutions to 15 projects posed by industry project sponsors. These are authentic problems faced by Australian businesses and community groups. Students were trained in design thinking, project management and teamwork. They also received digital media training to produce video presentations and their journey videos.

Independent statistical analysis of the pre and post Univative student survey indicates high program satisfaction. A cluster analysis shows that the majority of the survey respondents (85%) gave a rating of:

  • 91 out of 100 would recommend Univative to other students
  • 93 out of 100 would recommend Univative to industries and communities

Statistically significant improvements were found across all targeted development areas of problem-solving, digital media production, report writing, networking and industry engagement, self-awareness, teamwork, and presentation.

Project deliverables

Univative deliverables were achieved despite COVID-19 disruptions. These included stakeholder consultation, partner negotiation and renegotiation (due to COVID-19), student recruitment and selection, ongoing student support and communication, student preparation and training, key program contact points (launch, midpoint meet, and finale), student work submission and evaluation, and reporting.

Challenges and recommendations

Univative embodied a proactive collegial response to the contracting resources across Australian university career services over the past decade. The joint venture was further solidified by the conviction to deliver on schedule when student development opportunities dwindled.

Collaborators’ painstaking efforts in Univative 2020 has unlocked the potential for equity access and regional campuses and organisations to collectively advance the quality services offered by the NSW education system.


"This was the first year that my university, The University of Notre Dame Australia, was involved in the Univative program. I decided to take on the role as a team leader and it felt great making the most of my team's strengths to be the best of themselves. Successful team collaboration is what helped us win in the end. I recommend the Univative program for those who want to take a challenge, gain tonnes of experience, form friendships and grow their career portfolios."

"A very good initiative from Univative. It was a great memory before completing my master courses at Southern Cross University in two weeks time! I hope other students will have the same opportunity during their study journey. Thanks."

Further information

Visit www.univative.org