Penn State seeks nominations for Earthshot Prize for environmental solutions

Effort aims to identify strong examples of promising solutions to environmental challenges

The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William (right) speaks with David Attenborough, both of whom are part of the Earthshot Prize, a competition to identify the most promising solutions to environmental challenges. Penn State is an official Earthshot Prize nominator and seeks nominations for the prize. Credit: The Earthshot PrizeAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State was selected as an official nominator for the Earthshot Prize, a competition aimed at identifying the most promising solutions to environmental challenges. Faculty and staff are encouraged to either self-nominate or to nominate other researchers or projects that they see as strong examples of promising solutions. The internal deadline to submit expressions of interest is Thursday, Dec. 17.

“We are looking for the best and brightest projects and ideas that Penn State has to offer,” said Erica Smithwick, official nominator for the University. “The Earthshot Prize is an opportunity for Penn State to work collaboratively and nominate projects that could truly change our world for the better.”

Launched in November 2020, the Earthshot Prize will award five, one million-pound (approximately $1.3 million) prizes each year for the next 10 years, providing at least 50 solutions to these problems by 2030.

The search is broken into five "earthshots," or categories:

  • Protect and restore nature
  • Clean our air
  • Revive our oceans
  • Build a waste-free world
  • Fix our climate

Each category looks to accelerate simple, ambitious and scalable projects, including new technologies, systems, policies and solutions, that inspire collective action.

“I am eager to see what Penn State will put forward as great ideas to meet these challenges,” said Smithwick, associate director of the Institutes of Energy and the Environment. “With our vast research enterprise and our long history of impactful collaborative science, I believe the University can and will nominate strong contenders that will appeal to the Earthshot Prize judges.”

Expressions of interest for self-nominations or nominations of others must be sent to Smithwick at by 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, with the following information: name of nominee, email address, name of project/idea, earthshot category, and short description of the project/idea.

Penn State is one of about 100 organizations from across the world that were invited to submit nominations, including NGO’s, non-profits, businesses and academic institutions.

The Earthshot Prize is funded by The Royal Foundation, the primary philanthropic and charitable vehicle for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Catherine Elizabeth Middleton.

Questions can be sent to Smithwick at

Last Updated December 03, 2020