Earth & Environmental Science

Environmental Challenge seeks water and sanitation projects

Reed Elsevier offers $75,000 in prize money for winning proposals to help the developing world

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The Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge awards prize money to two innovative projects that best demonstrate how they can provide sustainable access to safe water or sanitation where it is at risk. Projects must have clear practical applicability, address identified needs and advance related issues such as health, education or human rights. This is the fifth year that Reed Elsevier (Elsevier's parent company) has held this challenge.

How to enter

Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge

The Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge is open to individuals or organizations operating in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Projects must advance sustainable access to safe water or improved sanitation where it is presently at risk and include the following criteria:

  • Be replicable, scalable and sustainable and set a benchmark for innovation
  • Have practical applicability
  • Address non-discrimination/equity of access
  • Involve and impact a range of stakeholders
  • Have local/community-level engagement

Applications will be accepted through April 14. For more information, visit the Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge website and apply here.

There is a $50,000 prize for the first place entry and a $25,000 prize for the second place entry. Applicants gain access to Elsevier's scientific online publications and databases, and the winning projects will be highlighted in Elsevier journal Water Research. All applicants are offered access to relevant material on Elsevier's ScienceDirect database, which has over 250,000 articles on Environmental Sciences published since 2000. And for the second time, all applicants will be offered access to LexisNexis Risk Solution's open-source high performance computing (HPCC) resource, which will enable them to process large amounts of research data, supported by online training.

Projects, accepted through April 14, will be assessed by reviewers with water, sanitation and related expertise. Shortlisted projects will be considered by an international judging panel of experts in the field. The Dutch Wash Alliance, a consortium of six Dutch NGOs promoting hygienic use of sustainable water and sanitation, will be lending assistance for the third year with the reviewing and judging process.

2015, the fifth year of the Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge, will be marked by a special prize of $20,000 for a collaboration project involving past winners.

The Challenge contributes to the Water for Life Decade (2005-15) established by the UN General Assembly in support of the Millennium Development Goal to reduce by half the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

According to the World Health Organisation and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, over 700 million people in the world are without safe drinking water, while over 2.5 billion people do not have improved sanitation facilities. Poor access to safe water and sanitation contributes to health crises in many developing countries, and increasingly leads to violent conflict. And it ties into Elsevier's aim to facilitate the exchange and dissemination of scientific information – in this case, information on improving access to a sustainable water supply and sanitation.

Guardian partnership provides expert commentary and resources

The Guardian Global Development Professionals NetworkReed Elsevier is extending awareness of the Environmental Challenge through a media partnership with the Guardian Global Development Professionals Network, which presents commentary and insight from development experts across the world. It is an extensive source of knowledge and contacts for all professionals interested in global development. Members gain access to exclusive Q&As with industry experts, weekly newsletters, development resources, training and more. Registration is free.


Elsevier Connect Contributor

Emmy StevensEmmy Stevens, Corporate Responsibility Associate for Reed Elsevier, manages the Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge. She is based in London.

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