Abu Dhabi's annual leadership prize in renewable energy and sustainability is upping the stakes 2013. Expanding to five categories, the total purse for the annual ZayedFuture Energy Prize prize has also increased to $4 million, making it the world's most financially lucrative award for renewable energy and sustainability innovators.
The prize structure was tweaked a bit for 2013, most notably, the Global High School category was added to the mix. The decision to restructure the prize categories was seen by the Prize committee and jury members as a crucial step to widen the Prize’s appeal to a larger pool of applicants in the future.
“Nurturing and developing young minds at an early age and encouraging them to innovate lies at the core of the heart of our wise leadership," said Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Director-General of the Zayed Future Energy Prize.
For the newly-added High School Prize category, high schools from all over the world are requested to submit a business case for how they plan on utilizing the prize for the purpose of raising awareness on the importance of sustainability and improving the school’s environmental footprint. Five winning high schools, one each in the geographic regions of Africa, the Americas, Asia, Oceania and Europe, will split the half million-dollar purse.
As the newly launched Global High School Prize is part of the UAE’s commitment to the UN Secretary General’s Year of Sustainable Energy for All, high schools are asked to submit projects based on one or more of the three objectives of the UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative which include Energy Access, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
Other changes to the Prize for 2012 include the separation of Small and Medium Enterprises and Non-Governmental Organizations into two categories, winners in each of those categories will take home $1.5 million.
Created in honor of the late Founding Father and President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and managed by Masdar, Abu Dhabi's multi-faceted clean energy initiative, the stated goals of the Zayed Future Energy Prize are to inspire the next generation of innovators in the fields of future energy, climate change and sustainable global energy resources by celebrating "achievements that reflect innovation, impact, long-term vision and leadership in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability."
Disclosure: In addition to being a writer, blogger and editor, Tim Hurst is a communications consultant working with the Zayed Future Energy Prize and Masdar in Abu Dhabi.