What is Map The System?

This competition is for MRU student changemakers (students in any program, with a passion for social or environmental issues) by taking a system-thinking approach and showcasing research on a national and global stage.

The program runs yearly during Winter semesters (January to April)

Through Map The System, students will:
MTS Icon Lightblub Research any topic of interest
Including but not limited to social, environmental, cultural and economic or related to 17 Sustainable Development Goals
MTS Icon System Thinking Learn and apply system thinking skills
Receiving support from the institute’s team, alumni, and other faculty with developing system-approach research, writing, and presentation 
MTS Icon Academic Recognition


Get a chance to compete nationally
Showcase your research insights and get a chance to win the national champions in Map The System Canada 

Three levels of competition

Three Levels of Map The System

• From the global level, the competition is hosted by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford 
• From the national and campus level, The institute manages Map The System at MRU and Map The System Canada


March TBD - Final Submission Deadline

  • By 11:59 pm EST, all teams must submit their completed Map the System projects, including a visual systems map(s), research analysis and detailed bibliography. Refer to the Submission Guidelines

April TBD - MRU Campus Final

  • The top 5 submissions selected by judges will get to compete at the campus final to be the campus finalist, representing MRU to compete with other participating institutions in the Semi-Final 

May TBD - Canadian Semi-Final and Final

  • All campus teams will get to compete at a Semi-Final for a chance to be within the top 6 at the Canadian Final


All MRU students and recent graduates can join the competition:

  • You can apply as an individual OR with a team of up to six people.
  • If applying in teams, at least one member must be a current MRU student or recent graduate.
  • If you are a recent graduate, you must have completed your studies within 12 months of the registration date.
  • You register by January 31st, 2024.


Map the System at MRU 2024/2025 will be open again in November 2024 for your opportunity to take part.

Add your name to our Expression of Interest Form to be notified when registration opens.

Meet The Alumni

Program Lead
Whether you need help with applying, have questions about the competition and your topics, or just want a conversation, our program lead is ready to talk!

Her love and passion for Map the System comes from her own experience participating in the competition twice while studying Social Work as an international student. Her team's submission on Indigenous Children in Canadian Child Welfare was chosen among the top 8 in Canada. The exposure to Systems-Thinking widened Mizuki's perspectives in just about every aspect of her life. Mizuki strongly hopes to reach out to as many MRU students as possible to bring the benefits of Map the System experience for their educational journey. Mizuki recently started her new pursuit as in Computer Information Systems after having worked in homelessness and addictions, for a few years. With her brand new educational aspiration, she now also serves as Projects Assistant at the Centre for Social Impact Technology. In addition to that, she is also an avid ballroom dancer, searching for the betterment of body movement.


Contact: moshi974@mtroyal.ca  


📅 Subscribe to our Key Dates calendar to stay up-to-date with the program's key dates, events, and project progress

Map the System 2024 Key Dates


Several professionals such as professors, program mentors, and program leads are happy to answer any questions or join in online consultant meetings with you 



Guides and Resources

MTS Resources: Student Guide to Mapping the System

Student Guide to Mapping a System

The 100-page guide serves as a toolbox which students can select from a range of tools, theories, tips, and matrices organized into 12 steps.

MTS Resources: Online Mapthesystem Ca

Online resources

Map The System Canada website is where students can find a collection of videos, webinars, and readings that are valuable resources for understanding system thinking

MTS Resources: Global 2023

2023 Global Participants

Map The System Global captures all the participants and winners at the global level along with past research topics and experiences


Introductory video to Global Map The System

Check out the video for a deep dive into the Global Map the System competition

This program is made possible with the generous support of ATCO SpaceLab.