WISE Competition

WISE - Competition

Western’s Ideas for Sustainability and the Environment (WISE) Competition

Western’s Ideas for Sustainability and the Environment (WISE) Competition was established in 2014 to foster innovative and high-impact ideas that reduce or eliminate today’s most pressing environmental concerns. The aim of the competition is to generate ideas and initiatives among Western’s students around the topic of sustainability, and officially recognize the winning ideas.  

The establishment of the competition aligns with Western’s commitment to the Council of Ontario Universities Statement on Creating a Sustainable Environment. This statement acknowledges that Ontario’s universities have special responsibilities on three fronts:

  • To assist in finding solutions to the challenges of environmental sustainability;
  • To share knowledge about environment and sustainability; and
  • To incorporate principles of sustainability into our own operations wherever possible

 Separate competitions have been established for undergraduate and graduate students. Over the course of three months, students are encouraged to identify a current environmental problem faced at an institutional, local or global level, and highlight their idea(s) for mitigating this problem. Social and economic considerations must be included. Proposals will be reviewed by a selection committee, and finalists within each competition will be invited to pitch their idea to the committee in a brief oral presentation. The grand prize for the winning proposal within each competition will be $1,500.

Selection criteria

Western will award novel, yet well-developed ideas that aim to reduce society’s environmental footprint. We are looking for your ideas on what needs to be done, how it could be done, how much it will cost/save and what the expected outcomes are. Ideas can be around waste reduction, the increase of public transportation or cycling, implementation of green roofs, inventions geared towards reducing environmental impacts, etc. It is important to address environmental (e.g., how much water is being saved?), societal (e.g., how will this improve human health?) and economic (e.g., will this lead to commercialization of a new product?) aspects. Entries can be made by single applicants or teams. The selection committee reserves the right to not award prizes, based on the quality of the applications.





November 27, 2017

WISE Competition Launch

January 8, 2018 - extended to January 15

Proposal application deadline

January 9 – 18, 2018

Judges review all entries and determine up to 5 finalists in each category (graduate and undergraduate)

February 2, 2018

Top entries in each category (up to 5) will be notified and asked to create 8-page report on idea

February 26, 2018

Candidates submit 8-page report

February 27 – March 9, 2018

Judges review all entries

Week of March 19, 2018

Presentations from candidates and judges determine winner (1st, 2nd 3rd place for each category)

April 3, 2018

Winners announced at the Innovation & Impact Symposium - International Graduate Affairs Building (IGAB) Atrium 1pm-2pm.


Selection Committee

Two faculty and two staff have been selected to sit on the Sustainability Idea Competition Committee for the 2017-2018 academic year:


  1. Nusha Keyghobadi, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Director, Centre for Environment & Sustainability
  2. Benjamin Hill, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy


  1. David Cano, Energy and Environment Specialist, Facilities Management
  2. Heather Hyde, Associate Director, Facilities Engineering


Click here to complete and submit the application.