What is Wege Prize?

Wege Prize is an annual transdisciplinary design competition that gives teams of five the chance to work collaboratively, use design thinking principles, and contend for $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?

Once you have assembled a team that meets the individual and team participation requirements, head over to the Team Registration page to register your team. *Teams wishing to compete in Wege Prize 2017 must complete the team registration requirements by no later than 11:59pm EST on November 30, 2016. 

What is the challenge?

For Wege Prize 2017 we will be revisiting the following wicked problem: How can we create a circular economy? 

Each team must leverage its transdisciplinary makeup to collaboratively design and propose a solution to a wicked problem that can help us transition from a linear economic model to a circular economic model. Possible solutions include, but are not limited to products, services, or businesses/non-profit organizations. All teams must consider the economics and viability of their solution within natural, social, and financial systems.


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 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.

In other words, a circular economy allows us to keep resources in use continually by extracting their maximum value from their current use, then full recovering and re-purposing them at the end of their life cycle.


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 $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)

All prizes are split equally among the five team members.


How much time do I have?

The competition timeline is as follows:

September 1, 2016: Team registration opens
November 30, 2016 (11:59pm EST): Phase I submission deadline (Team Introduction and Research Plan)
*Feedback from judges on Phase I submissions will be received by December 15, 2016
January 30, 2017 (11:59pm EST): Phase II submission deadline (Project Summary 1st Draft)
   *Feedback from judges on Phase II submissions will be received by February 13, 2017
April 3, 2017 (11:59pm EST): Phase III submission deadline (Project Summary 2nd Draft)
 *Feedback from judges on Phase III submissions will be received by April 13, 2017
April 13, 2017: Finalist teams announced
May 12, 2017 (11:59pm EST): Phase IV submissions deadline (Project Summary Final Draft and Final Presentation Materials)
May 19, 2017: Final presentation and awards event