EPA Challenges & Prizes
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Local governments are on the frontlines for working with rural communities on environmental public health issues. Rural communities across America have unique perspectives on pressing environmental and public health issues their community faces, particularly on issues that are not well understood, challenging to address, and need additional scientific understanding. This Competition seeks to identify innovative and inclusive approaches local governments have developed for working with citizens, community groups, and other interested parties in rural communities to identify and address environmental public health concerns facing their people. This Competition also seeks to better understand what barriers these communities have associated with these public health concerns.
Submissions closed January 31, 2024.
With increased energy efficiency and zero tailpipe emissions, electrified transportation is key to a more sustainable future that moves people and goods more efficiently. This challenge is about educating others the benefits of electrified transportation, and sharing your first-hand knowledge can play a critical part in getting us on the path to a sustainable future. This is your opportunity to share your experiences and your enthusiasm for electric vehicles with others who are curious. Create a one to two-minute video of your personal experience with electric transportation and get the chance to gain widespread exposure for your ideas and win some money for your effort.
Submissions closed on January 23, 2024.
The Campus RainWorks Challenge is a green infrastructure design competition for American colleges and universities that seeks to engage with the next generation of environmental professionals, foster a dialogue about the need for innovative stormwater management techniques, and showcase the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure practices.
Registration will take place from January 2, 2024 to January 31, 2024.
The challenge calls on innovators to develop a sensor that can identify whether there are chemical pollutants and natural toxins in various types of water much faster and less expensively than current lab methods for detecting individual, specific chemicals. This second phase of EPA’s Water Toxicity Sensor Challenge is open to everyone, including Phase 1 winners.
Currently testing phase 2 prototypes. Winners expected to be announced in Spring 2024.
This challenge was EPA's effort to spur the development of new technologies to clean indoor air. Phase 1 offered a cash prize for the best technology design for cleaning indoor air during wildfire smoke events and high pollution days. In 2022, Phase 1 winners and honorable mention awardees were invited to submit prototypes of their designs for Phase 2 of the challenge.
Phase 2 judging is complete. Winners of Phase 2 of the challenge will be announced February 20, 2024, in a public webinar. Click the "Learn More" link to register!
Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizer Challenge
This challenge aimed to identify existing enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEFs) currently on or near-market that meet or exceed certain environmental and agro-economic criteria. The EEF challenge is one part of the larger Next Gen Fertilizer Challenges.
Environmental Justice Video Challenge for Students
The main objective of this challenge was to enhance communities’ capacity to address environmental inequities using data and tools. This challenge was open to college students and conducted in two phases. Phase 1 focused on innovative approaches to identify and characterize an EJ issue(s) in a select community using data and publicly available tools while Phase 2 focused on students working collaboratively with community-based organizations to develop a community capacity building strategy and summary video that addressed the previously identified EJ issue from Phase 1.
Make A Market Tech Challenge for Students
EPA launched the Make a Market Tech Challenge to solicit evaluations of new technologies developed by EPA researchers. The challenge asks teams or individual participants to choose one of five patented EPA technologies listed below and develop a market assessment for the selected technology.
NARS Data Analysis Innovation Challenge for Students
This challenge invites students, scientists, and analysts from a variety of disciplines to apply National Aquatic Resource Survey (NARS) data to critical research questions in the areas of climate change, environmental justice, nutrient management, and other critical water quality challenges.
Pollution Prevention Works: A Storytelling Challenge for Students
This challenge invites high school and college students and to use the TRI P2 Search Tool to identify a TRI facility that has reported implementing source reduction practices and tell a compelling story about how those practices or techniques benefit the business and positively impact communities and the environment.
Let's Talk About Heat Challenge
This challenge aimed to identify innovative and effective communication strategies that inform people of the risks of extreme heat and offer ways to keep safe during the hottest days.
Next Gen Fertilizer Innovations Challenge
As a part of the larger Next Gen Fertilizer Challenges, this challenge aimed to identify concepts for novel fertilizer technologies and other product innovations that could reduce the environmental effects from modern agriculture while maintaining or increasing crop yields. Submissions included technologies not currently on the market.
EcoTox TARGET Challenge
The Technology Advancing Rapid Gene Expression-based Testing (TARGET) challenge called for respondents to develop high quality, low cost, technologies/platforms for evaluating global gene expression in samples from four common aquatic toxicity test organisms.
Past Campus RainWorks Annual Challenges
This is a green infrastructure design competition for U.S. colleges and universities that seeks to engage with the next generation of environmental professionals, foster a dialogue about effective stormwater management and showcase the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure practices. (Stage 3).
Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge
The Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge was a technology-accelerating water quality challenge launched in 2017 to demonstrate how nutrient sensors can be used by states and local communities to help manage nutrient pollution.
‘See a Bloom, Give It Room’ High School Video Challenge
This Challenge called for videos from high school students (grades 9-12) that promote public awareness of harmful algal blooms through creative filmmaking. The public safety videos (under 2 minutes in length) explained how to spot harmful algal blooms and how people and their pets should be safe around them.
Advanced Septic System Nitrogen Sensor Challenge
EPA and partners identified and spurred development of technologies to monitor nitrogen concentration in effluent from wastewater treatment systems. This research helps ensure that advanced septic nitrogen removal system are effective.
Innovative Ways to Destroy PFAS Challenge
This challenge asked solvers to submit detailed plans for a non-thermal way of destroying PFAS in concentrated film forming foam (AFFF), while creating the least amount of potentially harmful byproducts.
EPA has been running Challenges and Prizes since 1996. View EPA Challenges & Prizes completed prior to 2019.