WISE Competition


Thank you for your interest in WISE, the 2021 submission deadline has passed! 

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.

2020 Timelines (Subject to change)



January 13, 2020

WISE Competition Launch - Proposal applications open

February 3, 2020

Proposal application deadline

February 3 - 10, 2020

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

February 11, 2020

Top entries in each category will be notified and asked to create a comprehensive 8-page report on their idea

February 25, 2020

Deadline for candidates to submit 8-page report

February 26 – March 9, 2020

Judges review all entries

Week of March 19, 2020

Presentations from candidates and judges determine WISE Competition recipient

March 31, 2020

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