February 17, 2014
Tulane University hopes to tap into the genius of entrepreneurs, researchers and inventors worldwide by offering a $1 million prize for the best solution to combat annual “dead zones” in the world’s lakes and oceans.
“Water Innovations: Reducing Hypoxia, Restoring our Water” is the country’s latest Grand Challenge, a response to President Obama’s call for organizations, philanthropists and universities to identify and pursue today’s most pressing issues. Tulane’s Grand Challenge seeks innovative solutions to combat hypoxia, oxygen-depleted water caused mostly by excessive amounts of river-borne fertilizers and other nutrients emptying into lakes and oceans.
The grand prize will be funded by Phyllis Taylor, president of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation. Tulane Prize partners include Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey in the upper basin of the Mississippi River and Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain at its mouth.
“We are so grateful to Phyllis Taylor for her generosity and vision that will ensure universities are well positioned to advance the state of the world by championing innovative processes such as Grand Challenges. We applaud Mrs. Taylor for inaugurating the Tulane Prize and targeting hypoxia, a threat to water regions everywhere,” Tulane University President Scott Cowen said.
“Tulane has long been a leader in social innovation. This competition advances that mission while strengthening Tulane’s leadership in water law and policy and coastal research,” Taylor said. The grand prize will be awarded for a testable, scaled and marketable operating model that significantly, efficiently and cost effectively reduces hypoxia. Marketing opportunities should bring benefits beyond the prize for winners and all competitors.
“Prizes have led to breakthroughs ranging from Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight to new approaches to cleaning up oil spills,” said Cristin Dorgelo, assistant director for Grand Challenges in the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The competition will begin with a 30-day period to submit comments regarding the prize and letters of interest to compete at tulane.edu/tulaneprize.
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