Category: Awards & contests

10 Years of Innovative Stormwater Solutions: The Campus RainWorks Challenge Brings the Next Generation of Environmentalists to the Table

Read the full story from U.S. EPA.

In 2012, EPA’s Office of Water began the Campus RainWorks Challenge, a green infrastructure design competition open to undergraduate and graduate students at colleges and universities in the United States and its territories. The challenge requires multidisciplinary student teams specializing in engineering, landscape architecture, life sciences, and other disciplines to identify a stormwater management problem on campus or at a local elementary or high school. Student teams work with a faculty advisor to help design green infrastructure solutions. Students can compete in either of the challenge’s two competition categories, demonstration projects or master plan. Demonstration projects focus on site specific applications for green infrastructure. Master plan entries apply green infrastructure across a broader area of campus.

Since the inception of this challenge, more than 700 teams from 272 academic institutions across 48 states and Puerto Rico have participated. The challenge helps EPA engage the next generation of environmental professionals and showcases the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure practices.

NIEHS helps NIH take top honors in International Freezer Challenge

Read the full story at Environmental Factor.

NIEHS efforts to store research samples more sustainably helped the National Institutes of Health (NIH) win the Top Government Organization Award in the 2021 International Freezer Challenge for the second year in a row. The Freezer Challenge is a cold storage competition for laboratories, and it is run by My Green Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories, both of which are nonprofit organizations.

Eye on sustainability

Read the full story at ProFood World.

From packaging reductions and recycling projects to water, compressed air, and other utility savings, food and beverage processors have not taken their eyes on the ball when it comes to protecting the planet.

Winners: SEJ 20th Annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment

The Society of Environmental Journalists is pleased to announce the winners of the SEJ Awards for Reporting on the Environment, which honor the best articles, radio broadcasts and videos released from February 1, 2020, through January 31, 2021, and the best books on environmental topics published in 2020.

The SEJ contest is the world’s largest and most comprehensive environmental journalism competition, with 433 entries in spite of reporters all over the world being grounded by the pandemic. Entries are judged by independent panels of journalists and professors.

Click on the links below to view the winners in each category.

Food of the future? ‘Generator’ turns plastic trash into edible protein

Read the full story at Zenger.

Two U.S. scientists have won a 1 million euro ($1.18 million) prize for creating a food generator concept that turns plastics into protein.

The 2021 Future Insight Prize went to Ting Lu, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Stephen Techtmann, associate professor of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University, for their project. It uses microbes to degrade plastic waste and convert it into food.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign professor Ting Lu jointly presented with 1 million euro Future Insight Prize for converting waste into food

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

Ting Lu, a professor of bioengineering at The Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign received the 2021 Future Insight Prize. Established by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, the Future Insight Prize aims to stimulate innovative solutions to solve some of humanity’s greatest problems and to realize dreams for a better tomorrow in the areas of health, nutrition and energy. The prize comes with €1 million ($1.19 million) of research funding to incentivize winners whose work has enabled significant progress towards making this vision a reality.

This year, the theme of the Future Insight Prize is food generation with a target to convert non-edible biomass to edible biomass. Lu shared the prize with Stephen Techtmann, an associate professor of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University. The duo were presented with the prize by Mrs. Anja Karliczek, the Federal Minister of Education and Research of Germany, and Dr. Belén Garijo, the Chair of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, during the 2021 Future Insight Days conference. Lu and Techtmann are recognized for their work which uses microbes and chemicals to break down end-of-life plastics and transform them into edible food.

California high school student wins 2020 US Stockholm Junior Water Prize

Read the full story at Water World.

Eshani Jha is the winner of the 2020 U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize for her method to use modified biochar for the removal of toxic contaminants from water.

The 2021 Audubon Photography Awards: Winners and Honorable Mentions

Read the full story at Audubon Magazine.

Thousands of people entered photographs and—for the first time— videos in this year’s contest. The finest images showed birdlife at its most tranquil, clever, and powerful.

The Reusies

UPSTREAM and Closed Loop Partners are launching the first ever virtual awards show for the Reuse Movement in the U.S. in 2021.

This inaugural event celebrates the pioneers, the trailblazers, the innovators and game-changing heroes who are developing a better way than throw-away, advancing systemic change and co-creating a world where we can get what we need and want without all the waste.

The Call for Nominations is open until July 11.

Water Toxicity Sensor Challenge

To help meet the need for better ways to monitor toxicity in water, EPA and partners are launching the Water Toxicity Sensor Challenge.  

The challenge calls on innovators to develop a sensor that can identify whether there are chemical pollutants and natural toxins in various types of water much faster and less expensively than current lab methods for detecting individual, specific chemicals. Certain chemicals can activate various toxicity pathways inside living cells. This causes a disruption to normal biological processes, like breathing or digestion, which can lead to harmful health effects such as diseases like cancer.

This Challenge calls for a water sensor that can detect the activation of those toxic pathways in the presence of various harmful chemicals and natural toxins.

The Challenge ends July 26, 2021.

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