Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD)

Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD)

Grand Rapids, MI


Student Competition Rewards Inventive Sustainability Ideas: Wege Prize 2023

By ccsullivan
Sep 13, '22 10:42 AM EST
Wege Prize applications open for the 2023 edition, with prizes of $65,000
Wege Prize applications open for the 2023 edition, with prizes of $65,000

Around the globe, college and university students with compelling, inventive solutions to wicked problems facing the world now have the chance to earn money as they make a difference.

Wege Prize 2023, the international sustainability competition of Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD), has opened applications for its collaborative design challenge focused on catalyzing real-world solutions for the circular economy. The winning student teams will each receive cash awards from a total prize pool of $65,000 (USD), thanks to the continuing financial support of The Wege Foundation.

To apply to Wege Prize 2023, visit

Since 2013, KCAD has inspired college and university students from around the world to envision a sustainable future through Wege Prize. Now in its 10th year, the competition continues to challenge students to successfully build a diverse transdisciplinary team, identify a “wicked” problem to address, and develop a compelling solution -- product, service, or business model -- that follows the core principles of the circular economy: 

  • Eliminate waste and pollution.
  • Keep products and materials in use.
  • Regenerate our natural systems.

During the competition’s nine-month span and four distinct phases, late August 2022 to May 2023, the student teams will cultivate a research plan that will ultimately grow into a concrete circular solution. Each team will receive feedback from the competition’s judges to apply to and expand on their projects.
Those teams whose ideas the judges deem best positioned for real-world success will advance at each phase, with all competing teams receiving in-depth feedback that will help advance them beyond Wege Prize. The top teams will present and defend their solutions in front of the judges and a global online audience at the 2023 Wege Prize Awards event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in May 2023.

All teams will be assessed on rigorous criteria such as the incorporation of effective collaboration with mentor experts into their design process, the organization and presentation of their ideas, and the financial and logistical feasibility of the project. This encourages students to design solutions that accelerate the local and global transition to a circular economy, providing unique value and unexplored potential.
Last year’s field of more than 30 teams represented 29 countries, 70 academic institutions, and almost 100 unique academic disciplines. Wege Prize 2022 winning teams’ solutions featured a super-efficient aquaponics system to grow fish and vegetables, a plan to recycle rare-earth elements from electronics waste, and the design of an organic pesticide fertilizer to replace chemicals.

For more details, visit For more information or to speak with the Wege Prize organizers, please contact C.C. Sullivan.