Prize Purse

Our design team has identified a potential prize purse breakdown for this competition.

To incentivize teams and their innovations through the competition phases, we are looking at five $200,000 milestone awards for prototypes towards commercial trials and a $7 million prize total, in support of teams’ pilot production set up:


The grand prize breakdown we propose is this:


  • 1st Place Prize: $3,000,000
  • 2nd Place Prize: $1,500,000
  • 3rd Place Prize: $500,000
    MILESTONE PRIZES: $1,000,000 total; initial milestone prizes of $200,000 each to the 5 teams who are selected to advance to the final round. (See preliminary timeline below: )

What feedback do you have on these amounts and this breakdown? How do you feel about the milestone prizes (which often help teams get to that ‘next level’ in their development)?

Please add any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions in the comments below!

Also, below is more info on our testing criteria[as pertaining to the timeline above]:

Testing Phases

Phase 1: film for 2 food applications: fruit/veg + animal-based
Phase 2: pouch for 3 food applications: fruit/veg + animal-based + dry produce

Prize Criteria & Testing Parameters

Compostable/Biodegradable biobased

  • End of life disintegration, compostability & biodegradation

Human & environment Safe

  • Hazard screen

Safe & Performs well on Food Products

  • Mechanical & physical properties
  • Migration & scalping tests


  • Scalable resource materials
  • Machinery output rate

Sustainable at Scale

  • Renewable and Ethical Resource Material (towards net-positive RRM)
  • LCA, Cradle to Gate: Water Use and GWP

Looking forward to all of your feedback on these key elements of the competition! Please let us know if you have any questions.

Hi all - here’s our new discussion on a fascinating topic, the prize purse for the competition! And also some further information on the phases and criteria. How do you feel about these numbers and breakdown? Any thoughts? Excited to see all of your input! @akb @barbswartzentruber @ErnieRogers @thanku @schalkj @iduaolunwa @austinclowes @eakinyi @LHanson @Joanne @Utobou @kjbradford @marsxr @bngejane @renskelynde @kcamphuis @ricardoyudi @NoraEatREAL @neillk @jcoonrod @FranckSaintMartin @Olawale @LaurenTurk @yusuke @janetlee @brandonkion @SteveK8 @ethan @ymedan @NickCliffe

Is it possible to establish a proof of concept prize and have teams submit budgets?

My view: the plan looks good. I felt that something is missing. I think in the next two decades we will be passing our efforts to young people that are still deciding how they will contribute to the future. We can help them lean toward science and engineering by including them in the work at an early age. How can we fit some young people into this endeavor? /Ernie Rogers

That seems reasonable @NickAzer
PS: In the final text for applicants, we might want to indicate what all the acroymns are (RRM, GWT, etc.).

Looks generally good to me, I think the prize size will be motivating enough to generate some excellent entries.

On sustainability criteria, I think it would be good to include (along with GWP and Water), something on Biodiversity. Standard LCA measurements of Biodiversity are limited because they can sometimes miss on-the-ground practices where materials are produced, but would be ok … perhaps something that focuses more on a combination of Deforestation Risk (see Land Use change discussion) and immediate biodiversity impacts from agricultural production. This could also be incorporated into the “Renewable and Ethical Resource Material” (which is still a bit vague here, though I imagine you’re seeing a more complete description behind it), and if so, it should be explicit.

@neillk, while teams may not advance far into the competition, the first stage white paper means to stand as a ‘proof of concept’, but by this time they will already be in the throws of competing. Would you mind clarifying your comment? Do you mean do a preliminary call to compete and assess submitted budgets in order to identify a suitable prize purse?

@ErnieRogers , completely agree! One of the angles we are looking at for scaling impact activities is consumer awareness and policy advocacy. This can come to fruition in a lot of different ways, one of the ways I am particular keen on is the dissemination of information and deconstruction of dogma that is keeping conventional plastics as the dominant player through social media platforms and influence. Another way that was brought up in conversation with our subject matter experts is a post white-paper showcase where teams with good ideas but low technology readiness level can display their concepts to the industry for exposure, mentorship, etc etc. I would love to see this as a place where high school/university students can be showcased. What ways are you thinking of where we can expose the youth to science/engineering through this competition and inspire them to pursue the field?

Okay, Graham, I’m thinking–I think I see that many of these projects are going to need technicians or other kinds of help. Maybe literature research. Teams might include students to help with easier tasks, and include them in the planning discussions too. What do you think?

@Ethan, thanks for this insight! I love that you are taking biodiversity impacts in to consideration, because yes! Agriculture and land use have direct and heavy impacts on biodiversity. The one question I have is: How can we appropriately and accurately incorporate these kind of metrics into the competition without direct on-the-ground knowledge? Deforestation risk (aka habitat fragmentation/loss) makes sense, but from my perspective any sort of biodiversity impact would only be suggestive through other metrics that we are already looking at. What sort of ways are you thinking about how to measure biodiversity “health”? Or is it purely a species quantity angle?

When competitors submit their proof of concept perhaps make it a requirement to submit a budget for their next stage of development. In other words if the proof of concept is flimsy but it would take $15,000 to really prove it works, then perhaps some prize money can be allocated to this very preliminary stage.

Looks like a solid plan to me. I like the comments above, specifically incorporating youth/young people and the biodiversity metric additions. I also think having a budget is a good idea–it’s one thing to build it, but to keep it alive is quite another matter…