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Sydney University team wins inaugural Australian Nudgeathon


29 September 2017

2017 Nudgeathon winning team from the University of Sydney
2017 Nudgeathon winning team from the University of Sydney

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences students Mary-Alice Doyle, Maria Fidler, Mara Hammerle, Miles Hugh, Liliana Tai and Paige Taylor have been named winners of the 2017 Nudgeathon.

Nudgeathon is a behavioural change competition where students cultivate solutions to real-life social issues. The concept originated from the UK a number of years ago.

“The main incentive to be a part of Nudgeathon was to meet interesting people, and I saw it as an opportunity to challenge myself and do something good which could contribute to helping others,” said Miles, Honours of Marketing student.

Working together in teams of four to six, undergraduates and postgraduates from around Australia competed in the three-day Nudgeathon, held at QUT Gardens Point campus in Brisbane from 17-19 September 2017.

Using their knowledge of behavioural science, 11 teams worked on the challenge of improving volunteering among 18-30 year old Australians, and presented their solutions to a panel of expert judges.

“There is a substantive educational component, as students first get a short intense lesson on ‘nudging’ to improve welfare, and hear talks from industry professionals,” said Professor Robert Slonim from the School of Economics.

“Students gain experience working in a team, formalising a solution with potential real-world applications.”

The winning proposal will be presented to government with the aim of being implemented either at Commonwealth or State level.

“I gained a better ability to think quickly under pressure and to discuss and negotiate with other team members to come up with a solution. I was also able to gain a better understanding of behavioural economics and have started considering this field as a master’s thesis,” said Mara, Master of Economic Analysis student.

“The highlight was definitely being able to work with a team of smart and motivated people who all brought their own unique skills and experiences. I have never enjoyed working as a member of a team as much as I did with this group.”

“The Nudgeathon was a great opportunity to combine my interests in economics and policy writing. The competition was also unique in that we gained real-world experience of pitching to academics and government department officials - making the whole experience much more relevant to life beyond university,” said Liliana, Bachelor of Economics and Law student.