Awards, People

Shrinking our Agricultural Footprint: Submit your Proposal for the SOM Foundation 2019 Research Prize

Photo © NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team

The SOM Foundation is pleased to announce the second annual SOM Foundation Research Prize. The awards program, which comprises two $40,000 grants, is designed to cultivate new ideas and meaningful research that addresses the critical issues of our time.

The SOM Foundation Research Prize is awarded to faculty-led interdisciplinary teams that address a topic identified by the SOM Foundation board. This year's award will support research that provides a deeper understanding of the topic, "Shrinking our Agricultural Footprint," and proposes solutions with the potential to advance the practices of architecture, structural engineering, urban design, and related design disciplines.

SOM Foundation Research Prize 2019 Topic: Shrinking our Agricultural Footprint

According to the World Resources Institute, agriculture currently uses almost half of the world’s vegetated land. Agriculture and its related land use generate one-quarter of the earth’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. The world's population is expected to reach almost 10 billion people by 2050. The need to think about how to increase food production in a sustainable and inclusive way while managing and reducing our agricultural footprint is a key global issue. Food is not the only outcome of agriculture: biofuels, plastics, starch, and fibers share an agricultural origin.

As density continues to rise in cities around the world, the agricultural footprint required to serve the needs of urban populations has begun to extend into the countryside. This expanded footprint has a direct impact on a range of systems: the economy, transportation infrastructures, natural habitats, and wildlife biodiversity are all affected.

Reducing our agricultural footprint through policies, actions, and strategic planning has the potential to forge a more sustainable future for our planet. The 2019 SOM Foundation Research Prize invites teams to propose innovative solutions to this global challenge.

Eligibility and Deadline

Each submitting team should be led by a principal investigator, who must teach at a university in the United States with accredited degree programs (BArch, MArch, MDes, BA, BS, MA, MS, PhD) in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Design or Urban Design. The secondary investigators and collaborators can be based worldwide. Collaborators can be academic institutions, professional companies, and nonprofit organizations. Multidisciplinary teams are encouraged to apply. Principal investigators from previously awarded proposals are not eligible. However, previously awarded schools can submit new proposals.

Submissions will be evaluated by a jury composed of leading design professionals and SOM Foundation Directors, including Marina Otero Verzier, Nicola Twilley, Charles Waldheim, Scott Duncan, and Douglas Voigt. The jury will be chaired by Iker Gil, SOM Foundation Executive Director.

Digital submissions must be made through the SOM Foundation website by December 2nd, 2019. More details, including formatting requirements, evaluation criteria, and more, are available on the SOM Foundation website.