The primary aim of the Global High Schools category is to inspire future generations across the world to be responsible, sustainable citizens. The Prize hopes to encourage young people to learn about sustainability and clean energy from an early age.
The award in this category is not given for past achievements but will enable winning schools to develop clean energy projects of their own. Each school will submit a detailed proposal for a project and the Prize will fund the project’s completion. The proposed project should promote renewable energy and sustainability – which may include improvements in energy or water efficiency, or a reduction in waste – with clear, measurable benefits.
One school will win in each of the five regions: the Americas, Europe, Africa, Oceania, and Asia. Each regional winner will receive up to $100,000. The final amount will depend on the project cost information in the proposal.
The category is open to all high schools with students between 11-19 years old. The application must be supported by the school and its management.The winning projects will show how they meet the four criteria: impact, innovation, leadership, long-term vision.
In addition, the funding from ZFEP must cover at least 80% of total project cost. The total ZFEP award is capped at $100k. If the ZFEP does not cover the full cost of the project, that part of the project to which the ZFEP will contribute must be clearly identified and must be able to be completed and made operational, regardless of securing additional funds.
The school must have multiple years of students (ie, it cannot be a semester school). The project should benefit the school community for several years. It should be able to be built and operational within one year.
We encourage schools to get quotes from suppliers for the cost of their project and include this estimate as an attachment to their application. This helps to make sure the project is realistic and helps us to get a clearer idea of how much the project will cost.
If you have a project that could win the Zayed Future Energy Prize, we want to know about it. Before you fill in the application below, see if your planned project meets the following key criteria:
- Clean energy or sustainability content: Projects must show at least one clear improvement in energy usage and sustainability, for example a reduction in energy or water consumption, or in carbon emissions.
- Measurable progress: There should also be a way of measuring progress towards these goals. For example, if the project will improve energy efficiency, we want to know how much energy will be saved (compared to existing levels), and how you will make sure that this has been achieved.
- Educational benefit: The project should show how it fits into sustainability and energy education at the school, for example what new skills or understanding in sustainability does it build? Or, how will students learn new skills to monitor or run energy systems?
- Realistic financial and technical plan: Projects should be feasible, and the Prize money must make a significant contribution toward the project’s costs.
- Innovative idea: The project should be inventive and resourceful, and should make use of the school’s particular strengths.
- Creative solution: You should consider using creative, perhaps even unconventional, methods to maximise the benefit of the project.
- Student participation: The project should involve students and staff, with students planning and putting the project into action if possible, and staff providing their time and guidance in support.
- Student leadership: Students should take or help take the important decisions in the project.
- Community engagement: The project should engage parents and the wider community and should raise awareness of the importance of sustainability issues.
- Long-term impact: The project should improve the school’s environmental sustainability and these effects should last for several years after the project is finished.
- Long-term management plan: There is a plan for managing the project in the long term.
- Global awareness: The project should educate students and promote an on-going commitment to sustainability and global environmental stewardship.
HOW TO WRITE A WINNING SUBMISSION
Submissions for the Zayed Future Energy Prize go through a lengthy review process and are marked meticulously. However, we receive hundreds of submissions and the quality can vary considerably.
To help you with your submission, we have put together ten pieces of advice to follow.
1. We want to feel excited by your submission. Try to cover all of your main points as directly and succinctly as possible, with minimal repetition. Each question has a word limit, but think of this as a maximum, not a target. The more easily we can see the merits of the submission, the better its chances.
2. Add context. Give specific examples. If your product improves people’s lives, say how. If your company operates renewable energy plants, tell us the generating capacity and the proportion of the total national/regional capacity. Illustrative case studies, concrete facts and insightful comparisons can give the judges a better idea of an application’s true worth. Remember that your application has to make sense to a non-specialist.
3. When referring to data, use one of our preferred data sources if possible. If everyone is referring to these and similar widely-cited, reputable sources, we can compare between entries more easily and fairly. Remember also to benchmark your facts and figures against the most relevant industry segment.
4. Define acronyms and abbreviations the first time you use them, even if they’re common. For example, your first mention of UNEP should be as follows: “the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)”. Indian ‘discoms’ are ‘distribution companies’ first time around.
5. Help us do our research on your entry: include a few hyperlinks to external data sources, biographies, LinkedIn pages, press releases or articles on independent media outlets. Remember to check that they work!
6. When describing how a person or product is innovative, remember to point out the specific innovative feature or features. If you own a patent, give the number and tell us where the patent applies.
7. If you include any data tables, remember to point out the main features in the text to help focus the reader on your main achievements and merits. For example, in the case of a renewable energy operator that has listed its assets by type, it is helpful to point out that “wind and geothermal power are the largest components of this company’s portfolio, with 60MW out of a total 80MW”.
8. If you have goals, ambitions and visions for the future, say how you expect to achieve them and whether you are on track so far. If you have faced a struggle, tell us how and why things will improve.
9. Submissions must be in English. If English is not your first language, try to have an English-speaker review your submission. This makes the review process much quicker and easier.
10. All of the above takes time, so start preparing and writing your submission early.