$1 million dead zone challenge deadline extended

September 15, 2015

Carolyn Scofield
Phone: 504-247-1443

There’s still time to enter Tulane University’s Nitrogen Reduction Challenge, which will award $1 million to the team with the best idea to reduce the size of dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world.

The deadline to enter has been extended to September 30.

Dead zones, or hypoxic areas, are areas of oxygen-deprived water where most marine life can’t survive. Nitrogen-rich nutrients used in agriculture enter the Mississippi River and contribute to the hypoxic area off Louisiana’s coast. The Gulf of Mexico dead zone is the second largest in the world, the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined this year.

The Challenge calls on entrepreneurs, inventors and researchers to develop ways to minimize nitrogen entering waterways while helping farmers maximize the amount of crops they grow.  

Participants must submit a one-page proposal at Those with the most viable ideas will be asked to create a 20-page explanation for implementing their proposal. Five semifinalists will be selected to test their ideas on a working farm in Newellton, Louisiana during the 2016 growing season. The two teams with the best results will be asked to demonstrate on a larger scale how their innovations could work. The winner will take home $1 million.

“Tulane is extending the deadline for team submissions to September 30 to encourage newly forming teams currently completing applications to do so,” says Rick Aubry, assistant provost for Social Entrepreneurship and Community Engagement and a professor of practice at Tulane. “This is offered in the spirit of supporting our solution providers to submit the most robust, creative and effective concepts that will address the Challenge goals.”

The Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge is funded by Phyllis Taylor, president of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation and a member of the Board of Tulane. The challenge is one of the country’s Grand Challenges, a response to President Obama’s call for organizations, philanthropists and universities to find solutions to today’s most pressing problems.

For more information, visit

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000