ABU DHABI: A new Global Schools Prize category has been added to the 2013 edition of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, which has seen submissions up by 36 per cent on last year.
Dr. Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, director general of the prize and chief executive officer of Masdar, told Gulf News the international recognition of the prize has prompted the addition of a new category.
In the 2013 Awards Ceremony, the Global High School Prize will award up to five high schools from five different geographical regions, including the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania.
Targeting high schools from grade 9 and above, the category asks high schools to submit project proposals for funding consideration.
Dr Al Jaber told Gulf News: “That is why we like to refer to this particular category as our promise for the future.”
In just five years, the prize has been recognized as one of the world’s most important renewable energy and sustainability awards.
The categories now include: Large Corporation where the winner receives a recognition award, Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) where the prize is $1.5 million (Dh5.50 million), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), also with a $1.5 million prize, and the Lifetime Achievement Award which offers a $500,000 award.
The Global High Schools Prize is a $500,000 award, split between the five schools with up to $100,000 per school.
Speaking of the prize, Dr Al Jaber told Gulf News: “The Award aims to encourage innovators around the world to find solutions for energy security through the diversification of energy sources and enhancing efficiencies.
“The Awards Ceremony, recognising the winners of the fifth edition of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, will be one of the most important activities of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
“Over the past five years, we have received entries from over 100 countries from around the world.
“Personally, I am proud to also see a steady increase in the applications received from the United Arab Emirates -—45 applications were received this year — marking a 26 per cent increase.”
And Dr Al Jaber told how submissions, in general, have risen by 36 per cent this edition.
He said: “The Prize submissions have been growing year on year and we feel very lucky that we continue to see an increase in interest. In fact, with every passing year, the members of our jury find it more difficult to choose the winners.
“For the 2013 edition, we have seen a significant increase in the number of applications compared with the past two years.
“We received a total of 579 completed applications on the close of submission on July 16, 2012 — compared to 425 in 2011. This is a reflection of the true interest in the Prize, both from within the UAE and abroad.”
The Zayed Future Energy Prize was launched by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in 2008, in honour of the legacy of the Founding Father of the United Arab Emirates, Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who throughout his lifetime was a true advocate of sustainability and environmental protection.
The legacy of the late founding father has been taken forward by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Submissions are evaluated through a four-step process.
An initial evaluation measures against criteria of impact, long-term vision, leadership, and innovation.
The second phase is a Review Committee, an elite group of local and international energy experts as well as a number of academics from various global institutions and from the Masdar Institute and UAE University.
The committee select stwo main candidates to go to the next stage of the evaluation process.
The third phase is a Selection Committee, comprising a team of energy sector experts, who will determine the final list of shortlisted candidates for the jury.
In the fourth and final phase, jury members composed of world leaders, thought leaders, and activists from around the world will select the winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize 2013.
The winners will be announced during a ceremony held in Abu Dhabi on January 15, 2013, during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
Looking to the future expansion of this important Prize, Dr Al Jaber told Gulf News: “The Prize is slowly but surely fostering a community that encourages sustainable energy innovation amongst current and future generations.
“In 2012, the team has been active in its outreach activities and will be participating at the Asian Future Energy Forum in Singapore, the World Energy Forum in Dubai and the Abu Dhabi Science Festival in October. The team will also attend the Conference of Parties (COP19) meeting in Qatar at the end of the year.
“We are truly honoured that our work contributes to taking forward the legacy of a sustainable future brought forth by our founding father Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.”