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Are you the Undergraduate of the Year for Excellence Through Adversity?

We’re searching UK universities to find the outstanding Undergraduate of the Year for Excellence Through Adversity. We are looking for somebody who demonstrates resilience, faces challenges head on and isn't afraid to think differently.

Announcing the 2021 finalists


A ten-week paid summer internship commencing June/July 2021, an Apple watch, Rolls-Royce branded gifts and a ‘day in the life of a senior manager’, a fantastic opportunity to shadow a leader for the day.


We are delighted to introduce the 2021 finalists for this award.

Alex Line | Cardiff University | Chemistry

Bartol Sikora | University of Oxford | Engineering Science

Cyrus Goodger | University of Dundee | Biomedical Engineering

Ellie Lilliott | De Montfort University | Mechanical Engineering

Fabiha Chowdhury | University of Leeds | Physics with Astrophysics

Israel Mason-Williams | Queen Mary, University of London | Computer Science

Jack Wright | Leeds Beckett University | Computer Science

Josiah Edebiri | University of Manchester | Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Machi Onuorah | University College London | Chemistry

William Draper-Barr | Imperial College London | Mechanical Engineering

What makes an award winner?

If you've overcome challenges to pursue further education – whether you've faced health, education or societal inequalities, were unable to go to university when you'd hoped to or financially it was a struggle, went to university after leaving care, have battled illness or injury yourself, or had to balance studying with caring for a loved one – we'd like to hear from you.

You may not have had a straight-forward, easy path to (or through) university, but you won't have let the challenges you've faced stop you from pursuing your dreams and ambitions. If you've broken through barriers to get to where you are today, we want to celebrate that with you.

Our winner will be:

  • open-minded and curious about the world around you
  • motivated and passionate about the work that you do
  • collaborative and creative in your approach to problem solving
  • flexible and adaptable to different ways of working
  • eager to learn and driven to succeed
  • full of initiative and keen to take control of your career

How do I win?


Register your details online and answer three questions set by Rolls-Royce.

Must be completed by 01.02.21

Online tests

Receive an email inviting you to sit three online tests designed exclusively by our partner SHL.

Must be completed by 01.02.21

Submit by 01.02.21

Your details must be submitted and all online tests completed by 1 February 2021.

If you are successful in getting through to the next stage, you will hear from us by 26 February 2021.

Assessment centre

If you pass the online tests and successfully make it to the next stage your application will be reviewed by Rolls-Royce.

This will involve a virtual or face-to-face assessment centre on 4 and 5 March 2021.

Grand final

The final shortlist of ten students will be invited to the awards ceremony on 30 April 2021, where the award winners will be announced!

Rolls-Royce and the Undergraduate of the Year Award for Excellence Through Adversity

In 1904 Henry Royce, a working-class owner of an electrical and mechanical business, met Charles Rolls, an upper-class businessman. The rest is history. Over the past 100 years, Rolls-Royce has built a reputation for technical innovation and excellence; but the business could never have succeeded without the diversity of thought that it established from day one.

As an organisation, we’re now in the middle of an exciting period of transformation. We’re re-inventing Rolls-Royce. Expanding beyond our famous engineering capabilities and pushing the boundaries of a digital world. We have bold, ambitious purpose: to create sustainable solutions that meet the planet’s vital power needs. And to deliver on that purpose, we need to attract more bold, ambitious people to join us. The kind of people, that is, who win awards like these.

Why an award specifically for excellence through adversity?

Rolls-Royce is one of the world’s leading industrial technology companies and we work with schools and universities to encourage students to pursue a career in science, technology or engineering, ensuring that they have the opportunities to maximise their potential.

We believe strongly in the value of people and ideas. We encourage everyone to share their thoughts and vision for the future, no matter who they are or their level of experience. And we do all we can to create an environment where every individual can be themselves and be their best.

We hope the Undergraduate of the Year Award for Excellence through Adversity 2021 will celebrate the success of students who have fought against the odds to pursue further education – and, through visibility of these student role models, inspire others to be as brave. We look forward to helping our winner and finalists take the next steps in their careers.

Click here to find out more about us and our internship and graduate opportunities.