Dow Sustainability Innovation Award

The Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (Dow SISCA) recognizes the work of graduate students with innovative ideas and research that encourages and promotes sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental problems.  The competition will re-open for applications starting fall 2017.  Awards will be given for projects that align with Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goals, demonstrate innovative thinking and incorporate disciplinary work.  Winning teams can earn a $10,000 grand prize or a $2,500 runner-up prize.

Review the information below for more details! Make sure to read the full 2016 SISCA rules. Still have questions? Contact Fred Rose at

Mark your calendar: Dow SISCA 2017 Info Session – September 27, 11:30-12:30 in ME 1130

2016 Winners:

Grand Prize:

Tunable Synthesis of Bio Renewable Oleo-Furan Surfactants: Kristeen Esther Joseph & Saurabh Maduskar, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Technology that enables tunable synthesis of ‘perfect soap molecules’ from biomass. The product is an efficient, superior and sustainable alternative to commercial detergents.

Runner Up:

Economical Production of Sustainable Fertilizers from Animal Manure: Xin Zhang, Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering

A  low cost and sustainable option to produce phosphorus fertilizer which uses electricity to treat animal waste.

Bringing your project to Dow SISCA

  • Pick Your Project: Projects can include work that is already being done as graduate research, or new ideas.  Key areas of interest include, but are not limited to, climate change, energy efficiency and conservation, human health and environment, product safety, circular economy, breakthrough innovations, sustainable chemistry, and chemical technology.
  • Attend an Info Session: This is an optional opportunity for interested students to get more information, and ask any questions. The fall 2017 info session will be on September 27, 11:30-12:30 in ME 1130.
  • Apply: Initial applications are due in October of each year. The 2017 deadline is October 24, 11:59pm.  The complete application can be found here. Applicants are encouraged to discuss their projects with Fred Rose ( before submission.
  • Complete a Written Application: Six to eight teams will be selected as finalists. Finalists must submit a written application in November. Finalists will also be expected to attend a short Finalist Orientation meeting on November 8, from 4-5:30pm.
  • Deliver Your Presentation: Finalists will also create a short presentation and present it to a panel of judges December 6, 2017, see here for 2016 winners.

Dow SISCA competitor details

  • Dow SISCA is open to full-time University of Minnesota graduate and professional students from all backgrounds. Multidisciplinary teams are encouraged.
  • There is no restriction on the number of team members.
  • Advisors and mentors are welcome but must be listed in the written application.
  • Former SISCA winners are not eligible to participate.
  • If you have questions regarding eligibility, contact Fred Rose at
  • See the 2017 Rules and Guidelines.

  • SISCA provides a $10,000 grand prize and a $2,500 runner-up prize.
  • Prizes will be split among team members and used at their discretion.
  • Use of awards to implement a project is encouraged and part of competition selection criteria.