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Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award

GRADUATE STUDENTS: YOUR sustainability research could be awarded $10,000 in funding!

The Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA) recognizes and rewards students and universities for their innovation and research of sustainable solutions to the world's most pressing social, economic and environmental problems.

The winners of the Dow SISCA challenge are:
First place:
Leafy: Leaf Water Content Sensor for Optimizing Irrigation Water Consumption
Second place: Development of Sustainable Ultra-low Field, Low-Cost Magnetic Resonance Imaging System for the Developing World

As part of the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA) program, winning students have the opportunity to network with global sustainability thought leaders and peers, receive research and project funding (one $10,000 award and one $2,500 award), join a network of SISCA alumni, and showcase their work with various external sustainability media. Use of the award is unrestricted.

Eligibility Requirements

Any currently enrolled Pennsylvania State University graduate student (i.e., Masters, Doctoral or Professional) is eligible to apply, with the exception of Dow Award winners from previous years. Teams must be interdisciplinary to be eligible. Team members may contribute to the project via poster design, business plan, marketing or other means, and do not need to be directly involved with the research or project. Students may only be affiliated with one application. In the event that an individual is involved with more than one team or application, all applications involving this individual will be disqualified from consideration. 

Selection Criteria

Does your current research fit any of the criteria below? Academic or non-academic work can be the basis of the application. However, the work must be currently underway or have been completed during the applicant's tenure at Penn State. The winners are selected based on high-level criteria including:

  • Potential for solving world challenges in alignment with the spirit of Dow's 2015 Sustainability Goals;
  • Innovative and holistic thinking and excellence in research;
  • Prominently feature interdisciplinary work and considerations beyond the student's primary discipline, for example, blending applied science, engineering, art, economics, and communications, etc.;
  • Demonstrate balance of social, environmental, and economic success criteria;
  • Clearly articulate a new and innovative concept, for example, process, service, policy, technology, product, etc.;
  • Have the potential for significant societal benefits and sustainability impact;
  • Demonstrate a well-crafted premise with convincing data and/or analysis, have scalable attributes, and a strong chance for resilient success; and
  • Demonstrate meaningful progress toward the identified goal and a firm commitment to carry the effort forward.

2014 Challenge

The first and second place teams have been announced.
The official ceremony date and time to award the winning teams is TBA.

Past Award Winners

SISCA has recognized winning concepts such as a water wheel allowing easier and faster transportation of potable water in underdeveloped nations, a microbial fuel cell that purifies wastewater and generates electricity, a solar power backup system for urban areas of Pakistan to alleviate interrupted power service, and a membrane system use for desalination and water recycling. For more award winning projects, please visit the Dow website.

Participating Schools

Please visit the Dow website to view a list of participating schools.

Contact Sharon Hoover, Program Manager