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2013 Buckminster Fuller Challenge
Register/Submit: Saturday, April 13, 2013


Called "socially-responsible design's highest award", the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) today announced the details of the 2013 cycle of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, which will open for entrants on March 1, 2013. The annual Buckminster Fuller Challenge, now in its sixth year, will award a grand prize of $100,000 to a winning entrant, as well as partnerships new for 2013 that will recognize finalists for their solutions and provide an infrastructure of support to accelerate the implementation of ideas based in design science.

"In the first five years of the Challenge, we awarded projects ranging from ecological restoration in the coal country of Appalachia, the re-design of urban mobility, reversing desertification in Africa, repairing coastal marine environments, and rethinking building performance," said Elizabeth Thompson, executive director of the Buckminster Fuller Institute. "These diverse projects shared a common core - a solution based on a whole systems design approach to problem solving." Read more about grand prizewinners here.

Created to celebrate the spirit of visionary Buckminster Fuller's design principles, and identify contemporary examples of his concept of comprehensive design thinking, the Challenge has the distinction of being the only prize of its size calling for whole systems design approaches to solving world problems.

"While the $100,000 prize is significant, we have never been satisfied with recognizing just one winner," said Elizabeth Thompson. "This year we have developed new partnerships in an effort to create an infrastructure of support for a larger pool of finalists, accelerating the development of their solutions and growing the community of design science."

New for 2013

For the first time, the Buckminster Fuller Challenge has a lead corporate sponsor: Interface, Inc, the company founded by legendary sustainability pioneer Ray Anderson. The world's largest carpet tile manufacturer and a leader in sustainability thinking, Interface is also committed to providing an immersion opportunity for a finalist or group of finalists whose solutions may contribute to the radical redesign of industrial manufacturing, celebrating the intersection of Ray Anderson and Buckminster Fuller's shared vision.

In addition, participants in the 2013 Challenge will have access to a new program of opportunities for selected entries, which include:

  • Up to eight semi-finalists that meet eligibility criteria will have the opportunity to be fast-tracked to first round interviews in the application process for the Unreasonable Institute, an organization that combines mentorship, access to capital and design and legal consulting at a six-week boot camp for 10-30 entrepreneurs who have game-changing ideas.
  • A select group of semi-finalists will be considered for inclusion in dMASS Inc.'s dynamic depository of innovations that facilitate the relationship between resource performance innovators and investors. All Semi-finalists will be included in dMASS Inc.'s weekly newsletter Insights, which features "better with less" innovations and is read by investors, business leaders, sustainability managers, media professionals and others interested in emerging opportunities.
  • A select group of semi-finalists will receive exposure and opportunities to connect directly with private funders and investors in the BFI network.
  • A select group of semi-finalists will be offered the opportunity to receive acceleration support from the Presidio Graduate School's Capstone Entrepreneurship Program and Center for Professional Development.

For updates on additional accelerator opportunities, read more on the Challenge website.

Schedule for the 2013 Cycle

March 1, 2013: Begin accepting applications online.
5 pm, Eastern Daylight Time, April 12, 2013: Deadline to submit entry to the 2013 Buckminster Fuller Challenge.
July: Scheduled Interviews
August: Semi-Finalists Announced
October: Jury Deliberations
October: Finalists Announced
November 2013: Winner Announced in Conferring Ceremony in New York City

** Schedule subject to change

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