The five finalists have been announced in the Santander Cycles University Challenge, an initiative that offers Santander UK university partners the chance to develop their own bespoke cycle hire scheme.
The University of Birmingham, Brunel University London, the University of Portsmouth, the University of Surrey and Swansea University have been shortlisted from 23 entrants for the chance to win the capital funding for a cycle scheme. Each of the five finalists must now run a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to meet the operating costs of its proposal.
The crowdfunding-led campaign, which will run from early November for a month, will ensure that the community are engaged and provide support from the very beginning. The two universities that achieve the highest percentage over their fundraising target will receive the capital costs for a cycle scheme valued up to £100,000.
The universities’ proposals would initially see up to 50 bicycles based around their campuses. The aim is for the infrastructure to be in place and operational by Spring 2018.
The competition received entries from throughout the country, with universities looking to develop sustainable transport schemes which will help them address congestion, reduce emissions and promote well-being. One barrier that universities face is the significant capital upfront costs that are required. Santander has designed the competition to overcome this challenge by providing the initial capital costs to the two winners.
Director of Santander Universities UK Matt Hutnell said: “Santander is committed to supporting both higher education and local communities across the UK, and we believe that a cycle scheme, such as this one, could bring significant local benefits to the winning institutions.
“We saw an extremely high standard of entries from many universities, so it was quite a challenge for the judging panel to select the finalists. The level of interest has indicated the enthusiasm for cycle schemes and we hope that whoever wins will be able to make a big difference to life on campus.”