What is Wege Prize?

Wege Prize is an annual competition that ignites games-changing solutions for the future by inspiring college students around the world to collaborate across institutional, disciplinary, and cultural boundaries to redesign the way economies work. Teams contend for over $30,000 (USD) in total cash prizes, all while helping to show the world what the future of problem solving looks like.


Who can participate?

To be eligible to participate on a Wege Prize team, you must:

  • Attend a college, university, or equivalent institution of higher education anywhere in the world
  • Be a student enrolled in a full-time (or equivalent) undergraduate or graduate program*

*Both undergraduate and graduate level students are eligible to compete. Teams can be composed of both undergraduate and graduate students if they so choose. 


Who can be on a team together?

To be eligible to participate in Wege Prize, teams must:

  • Have exactly five members
  • Represent at least three (3) different academic disciplines*
  • Represent at least two (2) different institutions of higher education, such as colleges, universities, or separate colleges/schools within a larger university. (For instance, a team member from Example University's School of Engineering and a team member from Example University's School of Earth Sciences would be considered as representing two different institutions.)*

*These are the minimum requirements. Teams with the greatest disciplinary and institutional diversity will likely have a higher probability of success.



How do I connect with other students and build a team?

Whether you're an individual looking to link up with others or a partial team looking for a few additional members, the Wege Prize Facebook Group is a great way to make connections and build a strong team! Simply join the group and post in the discussion section to start connecting with potential teammates!


How can i register to participate?

Registration for Wege Prize 2019 will open this fall. Stay tuned for more details. 

What is the challenge?

For Wege Prize 2019 we will be revisiting the following wicked problem: How can we create a circular economy? 

Wege Prize teams must leverage their transdisciplinary makeup to collaboratively design and propose a solution to a wicked problem of their choosing that can, in turn, help solve the wicked problem of transitioning from a linear economic model to a circular economic model. Possible solutions include, but are not limited to:

  • Products
  • Services
  • Businesses/non-profit organizations

All teams must consider the economics and viability of their solution within natural, social, and financial systems.

Remember, in the words of architect Bill McDonough, doing less bad is not the same as doing more good.” Wege Prize teams work together to help us completely re-think and re-design the way our economy works and create positive, regenerative solutions that have a widespread and lasting impact.   


How will the solutions be judged?

Visit the Rules page for complete details on the competition's submission process and judging criteria.


What is a circular economy?

A circular economy is one that is restorative by design, and which aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. A circular economy provides a tightly looped, restorative economic cycle where resources can be re-adapted for use without limiting the desirability of products or the flow of revenue.

Imagine if we could design objects so that every material or component in them could be put to productive use at the end of that object’s useful life. By reusing materials at high quality instead of extracting new ones, we can save money and energy while having a positive impact on the natural environment.

Now imagine if we designed businesses or services that mimicked how living systems operated, so that they add value to the whole system. Living systems are generous; they give back more than they take out, operating on the basis of abundance.

Finally, imagine if the whole economic system was designed to facilitate these ideas; and imagine if it was all powered by clean, renewable energy. This is the essence of a circular economy .


What is a wicked problem?

The term "wicked problem" denotes a broad issue - such as poverty, hunger, or environmental degradation - that is considerably resistant to resolution.  Efforts to grapple with one aspect of a wicked problem often reveal or create other obstacles that must be considered and overcome.



What can my team win?

Wege Prize teams will contend for over $30,000 (USD) in total cash prizes, awarded by our panel of judges. Prizes are as follows:

  • 1st place - $15,000 (USD)
  • 2nd place - $10,000 (USD)
  • 3rd place - $5,0000 (USD)
  • Finalist Award - $1,000 (USD)

All prizes are split equally among the five team members.


How much time do I have?

Timeline for Wege Prize 2018 coming soon.