VIDEO: Tulane board member and philanthropist Phyllis Taylor discusses Tulane "dead zone" prize

"I am excited to see the investment that is being made in the development of innovative technologies that could possibly address nutrient challenges in the basin. We are in the 'golden age of agriculture' and we must have our best and brightest minds at the table to move us into the future."

Mike Strain DVM,
Louisiana Commissioner
of Agriculture & Forestry

"We are blessed in Iowa to have the opportunity to feed and clothe the people of this great nation while conserving our natural resources. Our farmers are aggressively working towards reducing the nutrients leaving our fields and to make sure they are completely utilized by our crops. The technology developed by nutrient prizes can be a tool to add to our environmental stewardship efforts."

Bill Northey, Iowa
Secretary of Agriculture


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A Message from Phyllis Taylor

Phyllis Taylor

I am extremely pleased to announce the launch of the first of what I hope will be several Tulane Grand Challenge Prizes. In partnership with Tulane University, I have sponsored a $1 million prize to be awarded to the team or individual that achieves our goal of creating a significant and workable solution to hypoxia.

Our family's business was successful because innovation, an entrepreneurial spirit and risk-taking were at the heart of it. I have always believed that these same qualities are vital to solving critical social and environmental challenges. The grand challenge includes all of these principles.  

When university president Scott Cowen and the Tulane team accepted my challenge to develop a grand prize competition, my goals were two-fold:

  • To inspire a broad community of innovators both within Tulane and beyond to work together in addressing an important worldwide problem, and
  • To encourage other like-minded philanthropists to join my efforts at Tulane by either supporting this challenge or by developing additional Grand Challenge prizes to address equally critical social issues. 

I am extremely pleased that we are already accomplishing many of our initial goals. 

  1. Tulane has pulled together a great team internally to create, develop and manage the prize. Committed people from throughout the university, from the schools of science and engineering, law, the social innovation program and the president's office are actively working on the prize. 
  2. Partners from across the state and the country have come on board to help make our prize successful. From Baton Rouge to Washington DC to Iowa, industry, farmers and environmental organizations have come together to ensure that this prize attracts the best competitors so that together we will make a significant breakthrough in reducing the threat of hypoxia. 

Once again my call to action today is:

I believe a market based solution which rewards innovation and risk taking has the potential to create a sustainable and significant new technology for addressing hypoxia. I am eager to work closely with Tulane during the course of our inaugural (and hopefully future) prizes to identify, reward and support this solution.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000