UK: Dreams and football support foreign student drive

Three international challenges are seeking to capture the benefits of a UK university education, attracting teams from universities and institutes in China and South Korea. The separate competitions range from designing an earthquake-resistant hospital to managing a top international football team and an exploration of sleep and dreaming.

The three challenges have been set by the British Council to demonstrate aspects of education for which the UK is renowned - such as thinking creatively, being innovative, preparing students for the jobs market, and working in teams.

Coaches and mentors to the teams include British academics and representatives from the Science Museum, the Design Museum, the Wellcome Trust and Tottenham Hotspur football club.

The University of Bristol designed the earthquake competition for students in South Korea. Twenty-four teams of six entered the competition to build model hospitals made from MDF (medium density fibreboard) and string, able to withstand simulated earthquake tremors. The winning design was built by a team from Yonsei University in Seoul.

In China, a fantasy football league type competition focused on the business side of the sport is being led by Coventry University. Paul Barber, executive director of Tottenham Hotspur, will be on the panel of judges when the sixth-form students compete in Beijing in November.

And academics from Kingston and Bournemouth universities and staff from the Science Museum, the Design Museum and the Wellcome Trust will oversee the Dream Lab challenge which explores the science behind sleep and dreaming through the medium of a video art installation. The final takes place in Beijing in November.

The challenges have been developed as part of the UK's Prime Minister's Initiative for International Education, a five year strategy to support the UK's position in the international education market and promote links and partnerships between institutions in the UK and overseas.