UCL-Japan Youth Challenge


Summer school programme

The UCL-Japan Youth Challenge is an annual summer school programme since 2015

Every year, pre-university students from UK sixth forms and Japanese high schools enjoy cultural interaction through various educational activities and events held at UCL (University College London) and the University of Cambridge.


The UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2021 was held online between 3rd August and 24th August 2021, due to COVID-19 guidelines.

Our aims at the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge

Face and challenge social issues in a global sense

Experience in attending lectures delivered by the world’s leading academics

Guide a path to the world’s top universities

Have a good command of English

Interact and exchange ideas

Establish a positive attitude and become independent

Programme outline

Online programme

Dates: 3rd August – 24th August 2021 (4 weeks, weekdays only)

Time: 9.00 am – 12.00 pm in UK time (BST)


Week 1:  Introduction on Tuesday 3rd August

Lectures on Wednesday 4th, Thursday 5th, Friday 6th August


Week 2:  Academic Lectures on Tuesday 10th August

Lectures on Wednesday 11th, Thursday 12th, Friday 13th August


Week 3:  Lectures on Monday 16th August

UCL Grand Challenge Workshop on Tuesday 17th August

Preparation for Presentation on Wednesday 18th, Thursday 19th, Friday 20th August


Week 4:  Presentation, Discussion & Final Ceremony on Tuesday 24th August

Theme in 2021: Art and Design for Sustainable Future

Through the past UCL-Japan Youth Challenge programmes, we have provided opportunities for the youth to look into social problems mainly through science and technology.

In 2021, we would like to highlight the cultural side of the issues and discuss how art and design could contribute to solving those problems and developing the sustainable future.

We need to think about our future and solutions to make it sustainable through this wide perspective ranging between art, design, engineering and science.

Programme presented by Dr Hideki Yoshimoto

Hideki Yoshimoto is a designer, artist and researcher. Hideki graduated from the University of Tokyo with BS and MS degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics, then moved to London and completed PhD in Innovation Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art. He founded his own studio TANGENT in 2015 in London, and has been leading the team’s creative projects utilising his inter-disciplinary knowledge. He was appointed as a Visiting Associate Professor in Art Science at the Osaka University of Arts (2018) and as a Project Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo’s Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (2020), where he was one of the founding members of the Advanced Art Design Laboratory.

Hideki has received many awards in both of engineering and design fields, such as Best Conference Award from the Japanese Society of Artificial Intelligence (2010), Super Creator Certification from the Japanese Information-technology Promotion Agency (2010), Red Dot Design Concept Best of the Best Award (2012), Lexus Design Award Grand Prix (2013) and Milano Design Award Best Engagement Award (2016).

What our participants say


UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2021

Participants from Japanese high schools present their school facilities, club activities, school events, and share their enthusiasm for the programme.

UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2017

UCL-Japan Young Challenge 2016

(renamed to UCL-Japan Youth Challenge in 2017)

The UCL-Japan Youth Challenge has provided me a new point of view towards my global success. Undoubtedly, my passion towards this programme has had a magnificent impact on this society and has enhanced my self-esteem. (2020)

I enjoyed my time during the programme. Not only did I make friends, but I also learned more about teamwork and broadened my mind to other possible solutions to problems. (2020)

This programme gave me the opportunity to experience both cultural exchange and scientific enquiry. It also made me think about what it means to study abroad, which will help me to make better choices for my future. (2020)

This experience has made me realise the importance of being proactive. When I go to university, I would like to study abroad for a year, and I believe being proactive will be very important for that too. (2020)

I had wonderful interaction with students from different schools. Everyone, including the facilitators, kindly supported me in finishing this programme. (2020)

I was able to participate in discussion actively, and I learnt to express my ideas step by step, giving reasons and examples why I think so, and to speak in English. It was a very good experience for me as it was different from discussion I had at school. (2020)

By attending the valuable lectures on the spreading coronavirus, from various perspectives, I was able to deepen my knowledge and become interested in new fields, not to mention the fields that I have been interested in. In addition, by discussing in English with the UK students, I not only improved my English, but I also felt that we were able to cooperate with each other and deepen our friendship online. I am very glad that the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge was held online and that I was able to participate in this programme even though I could not meet people in person. (2020)

Although it was held online, the programme was very enriching as it allowed me to improve my English and become aware of cultural differences. I have very fond memories of the presentation that I made with my group members, even though it was done through a screen. It was a great opportunity for me to broaden my horizons by attending lectures by experts on coronavirus, which is still a global problem that is not uncommon in our daily lives. (2020)

Being able to meet high school students from all over the world, who I would never otherwise have the chance to meet, has given me a lot of new inspiration, but it has also given me the opportunity to see myself in a whole new light. The painful realisation that I was not good enough was the starting point for my current growth. (2020)

I was inspired by many amazing people I have never met before, people who speak several languages and people who have been to universities abroad. (2020)

I learnt that it is important to keep a broad perspective and to think. I realised that it is not possible to find a solution only within the scope of one’s own thinking, but it is important to do research and listen to the ideas of others in the same group and from different countries. (2020)

The people I met at the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge are still my friends two years later, and we still support each other’s dreams regardless of where we are now. Those 10 days of meeting new people, learning and experiencing have broadened my horizons more than I expected, and led me to new possibilities and challenges. (2019)

After participating in this programme, I feel that I have less hurdles to challenge myself than before. The participants had different goals and dreams, and each of them took many actions to achieve their own goals. Seeing this in my friends inspired me to take the initiative in student council and club activities. (2019)

I was overwhelmed from start to finish by the high aspirations, sharp perspectives and English language skills of the participants, but I tried my best to keep up with them over the 10 days. The special experience of attending lectures at British universities influenced me in many ways and made me more willing to speak up and not be afraid. (2019)

What teachers say

It was a great opportunity to virtually meet different students of the same age group during the pandemic, where there have been very few people to connect with. The students who took part have shown great leadership skills and are playing active roles at school. (2020)

We are very grateful for the opportunity to expand the possibilities of our students, as it is difficult to make contacts both at home and abroad due to the pandemic. The students were very satisfied with the programme and the opportunity to gain valuable experience. (2020)

UNESCO Futures of Education initiative

The UCL-Japan Youth Challenge has been invited to partner up with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, on the Futures of Education initiative.

This flagship initiative aims at evolving the education systems across the globe in order to shape a more sustainable future for people and the planet.

Our participants’ views will be carefully considered by UNESCO, and feed into the preparation of UNESCO’s next global report, which will be launched in later this year, at UNESCO’s 41st General Conference.

This summer school programme is organised by the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge Committee.

本サマースクールプログラムはUCL-Japan Youth Challenge実行委員会によって開催されています。

In partnership with the Japan Foundation, Rikkyo School in England and UK Japan Institute

Japan Foundation
Rikkyo School in England
Rikkyo School in England
UK Japan Institute
UK Japan Institute

In collaboration with

Shimizu Corporation
UCL Grand Challenges
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