Two other student teams, Robust and SCUP Aquaculture, each received $2,500 awards as finalists.
Wege Prize, the international student design competition to create circular solutions for “wicked problems,” is a widely acclaimed and globally recognized competition serving as an agent of change for these disruptive concepts — and lofty student ambitions. It has drawn participants from leading universities worldwide, from U.S. Ivy League schools to national science and technology universities in India, Ghana, China, Japan, and Chile.
“The circular economy isn’t all worked out yet, and that’s where these student teams come in,” said Jo Williams, a Wege Prize judge and U.K.-based circular economy learning consultant who also works for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “You’re the ones who will be implementing this, so you can be part of that conversation, part of that journey, in helping to formulate what the circular economy really is.”
The solutions Wege Prize teams create have gone on to make real-world impact. The 2019 finalist Rutopia’s eco-sensitive tourism concepts, covered by Forbes, gained funding and support. Others like 2020 Wege Prize winner Hya Bioplastics and the 2021 team The Chilensis have advanced to business incubators that lay the groundwork to implement their prize-winning ideas.
“We are so proud of our winners and of every participating Wege Prize team, and we are grateful for our expert judges and their open-hearted dedication to the teams,” adds KCAD’s DeBruyn. “With climate change, supply and energy bottlenecks and so many other pressing global issues, the world needs more people who can work across boundaries, and solve problems with circular solutions.”