First Year Challenge

The First Year Challenge (FYC) is a multimedia assignment designed to introduce first year undergraduates to independent research and to academic collaboration. Small groups of students are assigned to specific locations in Central London. In their groups they are asked to produce a 3 minute multimedia clip which relates to their meeting point and the theme “Capitalism, Growth and Inequality”, which is discussed in Unit 1 of The Economy, the free online textbook produced by the CORE project.

  • Guardian_group
  • FYC- TUT U(SubgroupB) Group Photo

The pictures show groups at their assigned FYC locations. Some locations are associated with a person who has contributed to the study of growth and inequality. These include Florence Nightingale’s workplace on Harley Street, the British Library which houses many of Adam Smith’s writings, and Charles Dickens’ house on Doughty Street. Other locations have more general links to the overall theme, for example, a local primary school, the Wellcome Trust and the office of the Guardian.

The main motivation behind the FYC was to introduce students to research-based education as a prelude to the empirically-focused education they would receive in their first year in the Economics Department. We also wanted to create bonding opportunities among our large (~300 students) cohorts which included students from around the world and across the UK, and to highlight the diverse skills that this varied study body brings to the table.

This project is easily adaptable to other contexts and fields. Read our paper which has been published in the first issue of the Journal of Economics Teaching for more details.


During the 2020/2021 academic year, the FYC went virtual to accommodate our 800 student cohort based all around the world. Read here on how the FYC was adapted.


FYC 2020 Winner:

FYC 2020 Runners-up:

FYC 2020 shortlist can be found on YouTube.

Previous Years: