Million Dollar Prize Offered For Solutions To Hypoxia Problems

Million Dollar Prize Offered For Solutions To Hypoxia Problems

Yes, there is a $1 million Grand Challenge prize if you can come up with answers to solve "dead zones."

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey last week praised the recent announcement by Tulane University of a $1 million Grand Challenge prize for solutions to hypoxic zones in the world's lakes and oceans. Northey is co-chair of the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task force and has helped advance the Iowa Water Quality Initiative to address nutrient runoff that contributes to hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Our farmers are working aggressively make sure nutrients are used by our crops and are not leaving our fields," says Northey. "The technologies developed by nutrient prizes create new tools for farmers to help them be even better environmental stewards."

QUEST FOR CLEAN WATER: The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is using education, cost-sharing and collaboration to encourage farmers to voluntarily take action, using a number of best management practices, to reduce nutrient runoff from fields.

The press release from Tulane announcing the prize follows here:

A $1 million Grand Challenge prize for solutions to "dead zones"

February 17, 2014: Tulane University hopes to tap into the genius of entrepreneurs, researchers and inventors worldwide by offering a $1 million prize for the best solution to combat annual "dead zones" in the world's lakes and oceans.

"Water Innovations: Reducing Hypoxia, Restoring our Water" is the country's latest Grand Challenge, a response to President Obama's call for organizations, philanthropists and universities to identify and pursue today's most pressing issues. Tulane's Grand Challenge seeks innovative solutions to combat hypoxia, oxygen-depleted water caused mostly by excessive amounts of river-borne fertilizers and other nutrients emptying into lakes and oceans.

The grand prize will be funded by Phyllis Taylor, president of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation. Tulane Prize partners include Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey in the upper basin of the Mississippi River and Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain at its mouth.

"We are so grateful to Phyllis Taylor for her generosity and vision that will ensure universities are well positioned to advance the state of the world by championing innovative processes such as Grand Challenges. We applaud Mrs. Taylor for inaugurating the Tulane Prize and targeting hypoxia, a threat to water regions everywhere," Tulane University President Scott Cowen said.

"Tulane has long been a leader in social innovation. This competition advances that mission while strengthening Tulane's leadership in water law and policy and coastal research," Taylor said. The grand prize will be awarded for a testable, scaled and marketable operating model that significantly, efficiently and cost effectively reduces hypoxia. Marketing opportunities should bring benefits beyond the prize for winners and all competitors.

"Prizes have led to breakthroughs ranging from Lindbergh's transatlantic flight to new approaches to cleaning up oil spills," said Cristin Dorgelo, assistant director for Grand Challenges in the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The competition will begin with a 30-day period to submit comments regarding the prize and letters of interest to compete at

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