• It is the research process now for the competition! Count on us for informative workshops, engaging lectures, and supportive mentorship available below throughout your journey in the competition
  • Keep in mind new updates with key days below as you make strides in the competition. You've got this!
  • The MRU Campus Final is on April 4, 2024, at EL1270 (MRU Library - Ideas Lounge)

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

• The competition is hosted by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford from the global level

Please note the competition will not take place at the global level this year

• The institute manages Map The System at MRU and Map The System Canada

Key Dates

March 28, 2024 - 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. 

April 4th, 2024 - MRU Campus Final 

May 24 - 27, 2024 - Canadian Semi-Final and Final

  • The Canadian Finals will be taking place in Calgary, Alberta, this year.
  • Semi-final: during the semi-finals, all campus teams will get to compete for a chance to be within the top 6 at the Canadian Final
  • Final: The top 6 teams from across Canada compete for 1st ($4000), 2nd ($3000), and 3rd ($2000) prizes, and 4 $10,000 Apprenticing with a Problem grants.

May 27 - 29, 2024 - Banff Systems Summit

  • The inaugural Banff Systems Summit will be a 3-day, 2-evening event at the Banff Centre, consisting of plenary speeches and conversations, themed panel sessions, interactive workshops, land-based walkabouts, culturally-informed feasting, and semi-structured networking activities. This is a chance for you to kick-start your career and learn from practitioners working in systems thinking.



📅 Subscribe to our Key Date 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 

Socialize & Support

Come and join our Lunch&Map sessions to meet and exchange ideas with other participants and mentors, at  EB3013 known as Trico Changemakers Studio at MRU


  • February 27, 12 PM - 1 PM with Dr. Katharine McGowan (Social Innovation and system-thinking Professor)
  • March 4th, 1 PM - 2 PM with Mizuki Oshita (Program Coordinator)
  • March 12th, 12 PM - 1 PM with Dr. Katharine McGowan (Social Innovation and System-Thinking Professor) 
  • March 18th, 1 PM - 2 PM with Mizuki Oshita (Program Coordinator)
  • March 26th, 12 PM - 1 PM with Dr. Katharine McGowan (Social innovation and system-thinking Professor) 



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!
Program Lead

Alita participated in Map The System 2023 where her team tackled the issue of cultural identity crisis amongst third-culture Canadians, which won the campus finals. As an information design graduate, Alita is passionate about Systems Thinking and communicating complex ideas through design and hopes to encourage as many students as possible to take part in this program. When Alita is not working, she enjoys painting, reading, travelling and hanging out with her dog!


Contact: avaz212@mtroyal.ca 

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

Last Year’s 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

Meet The System Alumni


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.


Registration is closed. Registration will be open again in October, 2024 for your opportunity to take part

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