Do you have a great idea yourself? Look at the many contests you can join at the end of this article
Do you have a great idea? Look at the contests to join worldwide
Thanks to: ROB GOODIER
Dell offers more than $350,000 (USD) in prizes to university students worldwide to develop their social innovation projects. In 2013, first place will take $60,000.
Past winners include Essmart, a distribution network that stocks rural stores in India with solar lights and other technologies that can improve the quality of life among the country’s rural, impoverished communities. And another notable winner is the Humanure Power Project, which builds community toilets in rural India and processes the waste to harvest methane gas and generate electricity.
Apply by January
The ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW) is a global competition for hardware-led ventures. ISHOW focuses on the design and engineering journey of taking physical products to market. Specific focus is on “social innovation,” that is, solving social and environmental issues through enterprise. Applications are accepted worldwide and select finalists are brought to their nearest showcase (current locations include USA, Kenya and India), where engineering experts will provide feedback and award 3 winners up to $50,000 in cash prizes.
Application deadline to be announced
The Odebrecht Organization, an international engineering and construction services firm, offers sustainable development awards to undergraduate students at accredited universities in the United States, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Panama, the Domincan Republic and Angola. In the United States, the awards total $65,000 for papers on new sustainable building techniques, chemical processes, alternative uses of sustainable materials and so on. Check the site for details on the US award and links to information on the awards in the other six countries.
Apply by May 31
Every two years, 20 colleges compete to design and build a solar-powered home. The trick is to make the homes both affordable and stylish.
To apply, teams of college faculty and students submit proposals to the DoE for review. If you’re interested in a future decathlon, apply here.
The next Decathlon takes place in October, 2015
The US EPA’s P3 competition has two phases of awards for collegiate teams. In the first phase, winners receive $15,000 to develop their ideas and showcase them at the National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington DC each April. The most promising projects selected at the expo receive up to $90,000 to push their designs through prototype phases and into the market.
See our coverage of past P3 winners:
Promising new tech for developing countries at the Sustainable Design Expo
Cameroonian tinkerers are getting schooled in DIY hydropower
Bone-char filters block arsenic at the faucet
How to make green-energy education affordable
Apply by: Request for applications opens each Fall
The UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Innovation Foundation award African innovators and entrepreneurs. Awards go for new products and methods for increasing efficiency or reducing cost. The prize is also designed to promote careers in science, technology and engineering, and business opportunities that contribute to sustainable development in Africa.
Apply by October
The Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation supports technological innovation that improves the lives of impoverished people in the developing world. Eligible projects include those in health, shelter, energy, agriculture, education and ecosystem management. See the site for details.
Apply by November
GSMA mWomen in Design Challenge
Mobile technology programmers (or anyone else with the right skill set) compete to make the phone more useful and easier to use for women in impoverished communities. First place wins $20,000 (USD) and a meeting with potential investors, second place place takes $10,000, and the “emerging talent” winner, reserved for entrants from low- and middle-income countries, takes $10,000.
Apply by (estimate): December
Siemens Stiftung’s worldwide contest awards appropriate technologies for developing economies. The winning innovations will be low-tech solutions that work using local resources. The contest will also build a database of inventions for anyone to use. Empowering People offers €200,000 in prize money for 23 appropriate technologies.
Apply by December 31st
World Habitat, an international housing organisation in the UK, gives two awards of £10,000 each every year to support innovative housing solutions.
Apply by: open for entries from Jan 1 to March 31 each year (Apply here)
The US federal government is crowdsourcing solutions to improve its operations both at home and overseas. The government posts a challenge and pays tens of thousands of dollars in prize money to the people who have the idesa that can fix their problem. The challenges are unrestricted and open to the public. Search the site for current challenges.
Apply by: Rolling deadlines
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awards $100,000 two times per year to projects that aim to solve the challenges the foundation has laid forth. Many of those challenges can have an engineering or a design solution that could interest the E4C community.
Apply by: Rolling deadlines
Tides presents the Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest, a $10,000 award to an open-source software developer whose work helps non-profit activists. Past Pizzigati Prize winners include Nathan Freitas and his Guardian Project, which is an assortment of mobile technology programs that help activists organize and campaign more effectively. And the 2011 Pizzigati Prize winner, Ken Banks, made mobile phone apps to support grassroots organization, from turning out voters to turning away predatory businesses, Tides reports.
Apply by: To be announced
Ashden gives awards for innovation in sustainable energy in the UK and developing countries. Since 2001, the organization has awarded more than 100 projects with £10,000 or £20,000 and access to a support network.
Apply by: To be announced (Apply here)
The Global Development Awards and Medals Competition recognizes innovation in research and development in the developing world. The organization has award $2 million since it began in 2000. Finalists win financing to travel to GDN’s Annual Global Development Conference to present their projects and designs. There, they can compete for grants.
Apply by: To be announced