Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Undergraduate Course: EFI Change Agents (EFIE08006)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will allow you to develop further practice and confidence in your work as a change agent. You will gain deep insight into a complex problem linked to one of our global challenge themes through work on a 'real world' issue faced by one of our external partners (the exact challenge statement will be confirmed shortly before the semester starts). Put your research, teamworking and problem-solving skills to use and make your learning benefit local communities!
Course description In EFI Change Agents, you will practice and deepen your skills in research, team working and problem solving developed in your first year of study, whilst exploring a new topic and gaining deep knowledge and insight into a different complex set of problems.

You will work in a small team of students to explore a challenge that has been proposed by an external partner and produce a set of outputs and recommendations that will help the external develop a solution for the problem. The problem statement that you and your team will be working on is linked to one of our overarching global challenge themes (e.g., sustainability, global health, inequality, conflict), and you will have access to a range of resources, which may include reading material, lectures (live or recorded), panel discussions and workshops, allowing you to develop a deeper understanding of this year's challenge theme. This will provide a useful broader context for the problem statement negotiated with the external partner, helping you to make the link between wider global issues and their manifestations at local level.

The overarching theme and exact challenge statement will change year on year; examples from similar projects in previous years include topics such as 'How can the mental health of children living in Scotland be improved?', 'How can more sustainable tourism be encouraged in Edinburgh?', or 'How might we reduce food waste in cafeterias?'

Throughout the course, you will use and further build on the skills in creative problem solving that you have developed in first year, and you will apply your knowledge and understanding of different methods of academic enquiry and analysis developed through 'Researching Global Challenges 1 and 2'; this includes researching and analysing different types of data (including numerical and digital data) and considering the ethical dimensions of working with data. A main focus of EFI Change Agents will be the further development of effective team working skills, including work on addressing the problems that arise when collaborating in diverse groups.

The semester will start with a general introduction to the course and the challenge area, and you will get to know your team and work on a team charter to help you set your goals and build the foundations for successful collaboration. Early on, the external partner will be present to provide some context to the challenge from their point of view, and you will have opportunity to negotiate the exact focus of the problem statement before you start your research and, subsequently, the idea generation phase of the course. Compared to first year, you will be given greater agency in your research and choice of methods for problem solving, encouraging you and your team to work at a higher level of independence. You will be supported in your work by group coaches whom you will meet in fortnightly sessions to discuss your team's progress and any problems you may encounter. At a session half-way through the course, all teams will be given the opportunity to present their thinking so far and receive feedback on the plans for their projects.

The final output will be presented to the external partner at the end of the course. Teams will have a choice in selecting a format for their final output, appropriate to their project's aims and approach (e.g., business-style report, process map, prototype with implementation plan). In addition to the group output, each student will submit an individual reflective piece to capture the learning on the challenge area, the process of responding to complex problems as member of a diverse team, and the individual contribution to the group project. The group output and the individual reflection together make up the assessment for the course (pass/fail, with both components having to be passed).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a deep awareness and understanding of the key issues around a live challenge which affects society/economy/environment, and the ability to research and to critically and ethically analyse data to tackle this challenge.
  2. Evidence development of the core skills, tools and mindsets of a 'change agent': critical thinking, team working, problem solving, design thinking, collaboration, confidence, innovation, resilience and integrity.
  3. Work collaboratively within an interdisciplinary group and with external host organisations to apply these skills, tools and mindsets in order to develop fresh thinking around the group's challenge and to propose a solution to the challenge topic.
  4. Work independently and with minimal guidance, both individually and as a member of a group, including by taking personal responsibility for carrying out specific research and tasks and evaluating their relevance to the group's goals.
  5. Communicate the results of research and analysis in a format that is appropriate for different target audiences, including external (non-academic) host organisations.
Reading List
As the challenge themes and questions change year on year, different resources will be needed to help students research the context of their group project. We do envisage, however, that the resources already available via the library will be sufficient to meet students' needs; no specialist resources are needed.

Resources/reading material that will be useful across the years include:

- Hughes, Gareth, 'Managing group work', in 'Be well, learn well: Improve your wellbeing and academic performance', Macmillan Education UK, 2020 (Chapter 10)

- The University's 'Reflectors' Toolkit' available at
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Undertaking this course will enable each student to develop their abilities in team working, organisation and time-management as well as their skills in communicating effectively with a range of stakeholders. Students will develop skills in research and enquiry to identify and creatively tackle problems, and they will draw on the depth and breadth of their learning to engage with the communities around them.
KeywordsEFI,UG,Change,Change Agents,Level 8,MA,Interdisciplinary,Interdisciplinary Futures
Course organiserDr Sabine Rolle
Tel: (0131 6)50 3670
Course secretary
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information