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The Competition

What is a Grand Challenge?

Grand Challenges are socially innovative approaches to addressing problems that natural market forces have failed to solve. In 1927 Charles Lindbergh claimed the Ortegi Prize and $25,000 when he became the first to fly from New York to Paris. Recent examples and successes include the human genome project and the Ansari Prize resulting in the introduction of commercial space travel.

As defined by the White House, "Grand Challenges are ambitious, yet achievable goals to solve society's biggest issues through innovation and breakthroughs in science, technology and implementation strategies."

About The Tulane University Nitrogen Reduction Challenge

The Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge sought innovative in-field solutions to reduce crop fertilizers and runoff, with the goal of combating hypoxia and global "Dead Zones".

The $1 million prize was awarded to the Team that best achieved the Challenge goals, Adapt-N, on December 14, 2017.


The Selection Process

The Finalist Teams were assessed based upon:

  1. Enhancing crop yield
  2. Reducing nitrogen
  3. Cost of solution
  4. Real world application

Each Finalist Team's innovation was reviewed and scored by a diverse advisory committee using quantitative measures and each Team's final summary report. While there is only one official winner, all Finalist Teams were competitive and have the potential to go to market and be a feasible solution. Adapt-N was chosen to be the most effective in all four measures. The most important component of their solution is getting farmers to apply the right N fertilizer rate for a particular production environment. 

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 tuchallenge@tulane.edu