Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge

Environmental education, scholarship and engagement have defined Tufts University for more than a quarter of a century. In 1990, Tufts was the driving force in establishing the Talloires Declaration, an action plan for incorporating sustainability in higher education. Tufts continues to be a leader in fostering sustainability in its broadest terms through the Tufts Institute of the Environment and several university-wide initiatives including the partnership with the Stockholm Environment Institute, the construction of Sophia Gordon Hall, the establishment of the Office of Sustainability, and the recent NSF IGERT Water and Diplomacy Grant.

Tufts leadership in sustainability has been recognized by The Dow Chemical Company by selection of Tufts as one of only a few strategic global universities (including Cambridge University, Northwestern University, Peking University, Tufts University, University of California–Berkeley, University of Michigan, and University of Sao Paolo, among others), invited to compete in a yearly Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge. Now in its fourth year, this competition is an important component of Dow’s commitment to sustainability.

Three Tufts graduate students or graduate student teams will be recognized as winners for innovations that target broad global sustainability challenges. All degree matriculated post-baccalaureate Tufts students (Masters, Ph.D., or Professional Doctorate) are eligible. A grand prize winner will receive a $10,000 prize. This award is to be used at the student or student team’s discretion, without regard to their financial aid status.

Annual Awards Ceremony

Each year we recognize the accomplishments of our SISCA winners at a formal awards ceremony.  For a description and photos from past events, click here.

Selection Criteria
There are few restrictions on the topics of the submissions. The application can describe an innovative concept, device, product, process, or system. Academic or non-academic work can be the basis of the application. However, the work must be currently underway or have been completed during the applicant’s tenure at Tufts.

Applicants should address explicitly the extent to which their innovation embodies:

  • innovative thinking and excellence in research,
  • potential for solving significant problems,
  • an interdisciplinary nature of the work,
  • the spirit of Dow’s 2015 Sustainability Goals, and
  • the intellectual creativity of the applicants, rather than advisors or non-applicant collaborators.

In addition, the selection committee will evaluate adherence to the deadlines and stated content/format specifications. Please note that the application is not a grant application; budget justifications or requests should not be included.

Application Process
Each student or student team must submit an application addressing the selection criteria. The application should begin with a completed cover sheet. The narrative with any appropriate figures or tables should not exceed 4 pages (1” margins, 12 point Times New Roman font). Applicants should also append a bibliography (one-page maximum) and curriculum vitae (one page maximum).  In the case of ongoing academic work, applicants should also include a written statement from their mentor(s) documenting that the innovation is primarily the work of the applicant(s).

Applications will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary selection committee consisting of:

  • Dr. Antje Danielson – Administrative Director,
    Tufts Institute of Environment
  • Dr. Sean Cash – Associate Professor,
    Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
  • Dr. Sandy Yulke – Associate Director,
    Corporate & Foundation Relations
  • Dr. Luisa Chiesa – Assistant Professor,
    School of Engineering
  • Dr. Janet Forrester – Associate Professor,
    Nutrition/Infection Unit, Tufts School of Medicine
  • Dr. Chris Whittier – Assistant Professor,
    Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Dr. Kathleen O’Connell,
    Director Electronic Materials Research, Dow Advanced Materials

A subset of applicants will be selected as finalists. Finalists will be asked to prepare and deliver a 10 minute oral presentation followed by 10 minutes of questions on their innovation. The winner, runners-up and honorable mentions will be selected from this group. The grand prize recipient will be required to commit to attend the Tufts award dinner in December 2013.

For technical questions, contact:
Antje Danielson, Administrative Director, Tufts Institute of Environment

For questions related to application submittal, contact:
Theresa Silver, Tufts Institute of the Environment or call 617-627-3645.