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Young winners from around the world recognized for their revolutionary sustainable solutions for the circular economy of the future

Wege Prize-winning students announced breakthrough solutions to pollution, hunger and more (courtesy Kendall College of Art & Design at Ferris State University)

The 2022 Wege Prize winning teams are drawn from a global group of entrants representing nearly 100 fields of academic study at 70 universities and colleges in 29 countries. The Prix Wege teams are inspired by this to reframe normal modes of production and consumption.

Offering new ideas to positively impact the world, three teams of university students have been named winners of the 2022 Wege Prize, an international student design competition organized by Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University (KCAD ). Sharing the competition’s largest purse, totaling US$65,000, the three teams offer solutions to today’s “wicked problems” such as hunger, waste, pollution and climate change.

Now in its ninth year, the Wege Prize has identified the winning teams in the unique collaborative competition involving students studying in seven countries on three continents. They emerged during the competition in several nine-month phases among a global group of participants representing nearly 100 fields of academic study at 70 universities and colleges in 29 countries.

Through an immersive process that transcends fields of study, cultures, and institutional boundaries, Wege Prize teams are inspired to reframe normal patterns of production and consumption. Teams engage in intensive research, testing, networking and prototyping, with direct feedback from the competition’s panel of expert judges. “In this way, the teams create new products, services, business models and solutions by solving systemic problems, while contributing to the transition to a regenerative circular economy,” says Gayle DeBruyn, professor at KCAD and organizer of the Wege Prize.

The 2022 Wege Prize winners are:

  • 3rd place ($10,000): AquaPro, a super efficient aquaponics system for growing fish and vegetables.
  • 2nd place ($20,000): Neocycle, a plan to recycle rare earth elements from e-waste.
  • 1st place ($30,000): Green Promoters, creating an organic pesticide fertilizer to replace chemicals.

Two other student teams, Robust and SCUP Aquaculture, each received $2,500 prizes as finalists.

The Wege Prize, the international student design competition aimed at creating circular solutions for “thorny problems”, is a widely acclaimed and globally recognized competition serving as an agent of change for these disruptive concepts – and high student ambitions. It has attracted participants from top academic programs at leading universities around the world, from American Ivy League schools to national universities of science and technology in India, Ghana, China, Japan and Chile.

“The circular economy isn’t quite there yet, and that’s where these student teams come in,” said Jo Williams, Wege Prize judge and circular economy learning consultant based in the United States. UK, who also works for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “You are the ones who are going to implement this, so you can be part of this conversation, be part of this journey, helping to shape what the circular economy really is.”

The solutions created by the Wege Prize teams have had an impact in the real world. 2019 finalist Rutopia’s eco-friendly tourism concepts, covered by Forbes magazine’s top editors, have won funding and support. Others, like 2020 Wege Award winner Hya Bioplastics and the 2021 The Chilensis team have moved on to prestigious business incubators that have laid the groundwork for the implementation of their award-winning ideas.

“We are so proud of our winners and each team participating in the Wege Award, and we are grateful to our expert judges and their wholehearted dedication to the teams,” adds KCAD’s DeBruyn. “With climate change, supply and energy bottlenecks and so many other pressing global issues, the world needs more people who can work across borders and solve problems. with circular solutions.”

For more information on the 2022 Wege Prize winners, see the following page. Details of the next edition, the Wege Prize 2023, will be revealed in the coming weeks on

The Wege Prize is made possible through the continued financial support of the Wege Foundation and KCAD, opening up these unique opportunities to undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students around the world – and helping to move towards a greater circular economy. .

For more information, images and interviews contact CC Sullivan at +1 914 462 20 96 or email [email protected] Details of the winning teams can be found on the Wege Prize website and high resolution images are available at for media use.

About the Wege Prize

The Wege Prize, a West Michigan-born concept developed by the Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University’s Wege Center for Sustainable Design (KCAD) with support from the Wege Foundation, is an annual competition that launches revolutionary solutions for the future. inspiring students around the world to collaborate across institutional, disciplinary and cultural boundaries and to rethink how economies work.

About KCAD

Located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University (KCAD) is committed to creating lasting impact in West Michigan and beyond through collaborative partnerships, cultural innovation and an educational model that prepares students for leadership in design, visual arts and art history; provides innovative and collaborative education that promotes intellectual growth and individual creativity; and promotes the ethical and civic responsibilities of artists and designers, locally and globally.

About the Wege Foundation

Planting seeds that develop leaders in economics, health, education, and the arts, and improve the lives of people in West Michigan and around the world. For more information, visit