The DOW Sustainability Innovation Award has been discontinued. The following description acts to archive the years that the award was celebrated at Tufts University.

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, 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 fifth 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.

2014 Focused Selection Criteria 
This year, special credit is given to projects that address environmental issues on the Mystic and Malden Rivers of Massachusetts.  The Mystic and Malden Rivers have been plagued with decades of industrial uses, including chemical, rubber, and leather processing.  Currently, the river substrates are contaminated with industrial toxins, although there is debate over the concentrations and identities of those toxins.  Today, much of the watershed is developed and covered with impervious surfaces such as roofing, pavement, and compounded soils, which contribute to “flashier” flows, increased water temperature, and polluted runoff.  Finally, invasive species and sewage system failure add two additional stresses to the rivers.  Despite these impediments, the rivers offer the promise of recreation opportunities, increased property values, and healthier ecosystems. A successful project meets the general Dow SISCA criteria and addresses environmental issues on the Mystic and Malden Rivers.

Application Process

Please note: Applications will not be accepted for 2015 and beyond. This awards program has expired.

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). All final applications are due no later than October 30th, 2014 at 4:30pm.

Applications will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary selection committee, yet to be announced.

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 2014.

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

For questions related to application submittal, contact:
Nolan Nicaise, Tufts Institute of the Environment or call 617-627-3254.