Wege Prize – Redesign the Way Economies Work

Deadline: 10 November 2019
Open to: students/team of students enrolled in a full-time (or equivalent) undergraduate or graduate program
Benefits: USD 15,000/USD 10,000/USD 5,000 cash prizes


Wege Prize is an annual competition that ignites game-changing solutions for the future by inspiring college/university students around the world to collaborate across institutional, disciplinary, and cultural boundaries to redesign the way economies work. Participants contend for over USD 30,000 in total cash prizes, all while helping to show the world what the future of problem-solving looks like.

Wege Prize teams must leverage their transdisciplinary makeup to collaboratively design and propose a solution to a wicked problem of their choosing that can, in turn, help solve the wicked problem of transitioning from a linear economic model to a circular economic model. Possible solutions include, but are not limited to:

• Products;
• Services;
• Businesses or non-profit organizations.

Over the course of nine months and four distinct phases, Wege Prize teams will grow their ideas from an informal research plan into a fully-developed solution that can be prototyped and tested in the real world. Guided by direct feedback from competition judges, teams will work to rethink and redesign the way economies work by creating regenerative solutions that have a widespread and lasting positive impact.

Wege Prize judges are looking for solutions that address the shortcomings of a linear economic model on a systemic level. The most successful solutions will:

Think in systems by demonstrating an understanding of how parts influence one another within a whole, as well as the relationship of the whole to the parts.

Consider the economics and viability of the solution within natural, social, and financial systems.

Preserve and enhance natural capital by controlling finite resource stocks and balancing renewable resource flows.
• Optimize resource yields by circulating products, components, and materials at their highest utility at all times in both technical and biological cycles.

Foster system effectiveness by designing out waste and negative externalities such as pollution, toxicity, and climate change


Individual Participation Requirements

To be eligible to participate on a Wege Prize 2020 team, you must:

  • Attend a college, university, or equivalent institution of higher education anywhere in the world

  • Be a student enrolled in a full-time (or equivalent) undergraduate or graduate program*

*Both undergraduate and graduate-level students are eligible to compete. Teams can be composed of both undergraduate and graduate students if they so choose. 

Team Participation Requirements

To be eligible to participate in Wege Prize 2020, teams must:

  • Have exactly five members

  • Represent at least three (3) different academic disciplines*

  • Represent at least two (2) different institutions of higher education, such as colleges, universities, or separate colleges/schools within a larger university. (For instance, a team member from Example University’s School of Engineering and a team member from Example University’s School of Earth Sciences would be considered as representing two different institutions.)*


Winning teams will split the following awards evenly between their five members:

First Place: USD 15,000

Second Place: USD 10,000

Third Place: USD 5,000

How to apply?

Verify that your team meets the individual and team participation requirements.

  1. Read the Wege Prize 2020 Design Brief.

  2. Compose your Team Application (500-1000 words) – REQUIRED TO APPLY

  3. Compose your Research Plan (500-1000 words) REQUIRED TO APPLY

For more information, please visit the official web page.