The Buckminster Fuller Challenge 2015


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Each year a distinguished jury will award a $100,000 prize to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems.

Category Award / Open to Students / Competition Result
Type International, Award, Open, Three-Stage, Anonymous
Genre Design-Science
Country United States
RegDeadline 31 March 2015 GoogleCal iCal
31 March 2015 (via Online)
Eligibility 18 years of age or older

Winning the Fuller Challenge requires more than a stand-alone idea or innovation that focuses on one aspect of a system failure. BFI looks for holistic strategies that demonstrate a clear grasp of the big-picture dynamics influencing your intervention. If a proposal emphasizes a new design, material, process, service, tool or technology, it is essential that it be part of an integrated strategy that deals effectively with key social, environmental and economic factors.
BFI seeks initiatives that tackle urgent needs at a range of scales: from macro-strategies that have the potential for widespread, tangible impacts, to local, community-based initiatives with global relevance and replicability.
Entries must meet the following criteria:
- Visionary: put forth an original idea or synthesize existing ideas into a new strategy that creatively addresses a critical need
- Comprehensive: apply a “whole-systems” approach to the design and implementation process; aim to address multiple goals, requirements and conditions in a holistic way
- Anticipatory: factor in critical future trends and needs as well as the projected impacts of implementation in the short and long term
- Ecologically Responsible: reflect nature’s underlying principles while enhancing the ability for natural systems to regenerate
- Feasible: rely on current technology, existing resources and a solid team capable of implementing the project
- Verifiable: able to withstand rigorous testing and make authentic claims
- Replicable: able to be adapted to similar conditions elsewhere
Winning initiatives integrate these criteria into powerful design solutions that have the potential to play a significant role in the transition to an equitable and sustainable future for all.

Zenobia Barlow, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Center for Ecoliteracy
Haidee Bell, the Head of Design Programmes at the UK Design Council.
Tim Brown, CEO and president of IDEO
Jaimie Cloud, the Founder and President of the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education in New York City, and pioneer in the field of Education for Sustainability (EfS)
Dawn Danby, Autodesk
Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA, is a founder of the sustainable design initiative at HOK
William McDonough is an advisor, designer, thought leader, and author
As Vice President of Sustainability for Interface Inc.
Anuradha Mittal, founder and executive director of the Oakland Institute
Kate Orff, the Founder of SCAPE LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE LLC and the Winner of the 2014 Buckminster Fuller Challenge
Nick Tilsen, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Founding Executive Director of the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation
Greg Watson, the Schumacher Center's Director of Policy and Systems Design
Lauren, Co-Founder and Principal of YR&G

The winner (individual or team) will receive a $100,000 cash prize to support the on-going development and implementation of their winning solution.

Entry Fee
US $200
For Non-Profit Organizations: US $100
For Student: US $50

Nine required essay application questions and three optional questions; the word limits range from 50 to 250 words

Finalists Announced: October 2015

Past winners

The Buckminster Fuller Institute

Official Website