Discovery Award

7 Submissions
$100,000 USD
Due:  31st Aug 2024

Challenge overview


Discovery Award - $100,000 Prize - Designed for TRL1-3 Submissions.

Applicants should assess their technology's TRL and apply to all relevant Challenges, maximizing alignment with criteria and potential impact. For quick navigation between the GPID Challenges hosted by Wazoku Crowd, please visit the GPID Challenge Program Homepage.

The Grand Prize Winner in this Discovery Award Challenge will win the cash award of $100,000 and have the opportunity to pilot their ideas with $200,000 worth of funding - and there are separate cash awards available for winners of the $50,000 Impact Prize categories in this Challenge (as well as discretionary pilot opportunities).

The Global Prize for Innovation in Desalination (GPID) Challenges aim to find and support groundbreaking solutions that:

  • Improve the environmental footprint of desalination processes.
  • Reduce energy consumption and operational costs.
  • Introduce new technologies and innovative business models.
  • Provide scalable and sustainable solutions to meet global water demands.

The 5 Challenges comprising the GPID will all close on August 31st, 2024, so be sure to take part before the due date to:

  • Change the world with your desalination ideas;
  • Develop technologies with acceleration and boosting pilots in Saudi Arabia;
  • Have the opportunity to attend a global water conference to network with leaders across the industry. Shortlisted Solvers and Award Winners will be invited to the three-day Innovation Drive Desalination Event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 11-13 November 2024, with all expenses paid. 

The Discovery Award is organized to award and celebrate research, ideas, technologies, and solutions that: innovates the generation, transmission or storage of sustainable energy; produces new products and/or service using biotechnologies and/or synthetic biology; extracts materials from water, or other innovative approaches at the TRL1-3 stage in desalination and water treatment processes.

Solvers will retain all rights to any proposal submitted. Following the piloting period, the GPID may open discussions with awarded winners to discuss IP and further rights, however this is not a part of these Wazoku Crowd Challenges. 

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on August 31, 2024.

- Login or register your interest to start solving! -



The Global Prize for Innovation in Desalination, founded in 2023, is dedicated to advancing the technologies and practices of water desalination to address global water scarcity and improve the lives of people worldwide.

Pilot programs for awarded Solvers would be hosted at Saudi Water Authority (SWA) and Water Technologies Innovation Institute and Research Advancement (WTIIRA) facilities. The SWA, the world's largest producer of desalinated water, operates 30 plants and is committed to promoting sustainable water solutions through innovation.

Solvers who work for, are associated with, or have financial links to the GPID, SWA, or WTIIRA are not eligible to receive awards for this Challenge.

This Challenge is open to individuals, teams, and organizations from across the globe.

Previous winners of the GPID cannot be awarded again, and the prize cannot be awarded to the same innovative solution twice (e.g. for the Grand Prize in the Discovery Award and for the Materials Science Impact Medal category).

As of the date of submission, each applicant must own, or hold appropriate license rights to, all technologies, methods, resources, and Intellectual Property (IP) included in the submission.

To learn more about the GPID, visit our dedicated Showcase.



Desalination and associated technologies  are a massive area of development worldwide to provide fresh, potable or usable water for millions of people. Water scarcity is a pressing global issue, affecting over a quarter of the world's population. This process is particularly crucial for regions like Saudi Arabia, where water scarcity poses a significant challenge. 

Desalination helps to meet the global demand for fresh water by converting seawater into potable water using advanced technologies. With 97% of Earth’s water in oceans, desalination is crucial for overcoming freshwater scarcity. Through methods like reverse osmosis and distillation, it removes salt, providing a sustainable solution.

However, there is a pressing need for further innovation in desalination to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and minimize environmental impacts.

The GPID seeks to drive the next generation of desalination technologies, ensuring sustainable and accessible water resources for all.

The Challenge

The Discovery Award Challenge for TRL1-3 submissions is designed for promising ideas, concepts, and developments. The GPID's aim is to guide awarded submissions from this Challenge through to proof-of-concept.

Participants in the TRL 1-3 category are primarily drawn by the chance to gain strong validation and proof of concept, setting a foundational platform for nascent technologies and facilitating their progression towards market readiness.

One applicant to the GPID Challenge will be awarded the Grand Prize. There are also Impact Medal awards in categories for TRL1-3 solutions, submissions, and technologies which are as follows:

  • Advanced Water Production Technologies
  • Water Quality Improvement and Reclamation
  • Circular and Zero Liquid Discharge Water Reduction Processes
  • Digital Business Model Process Optimization and Automation Management
  • Sustainable Water Production and Environmental Conservation
  • Special Category: Wastewater solutions

The Grand Prize winner ($100,000 Prize) and Impact Medal winners ($50,000 each) in the Discovery Award section will also have access to a 12-month boosting program to be held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The piloting value for this award is up to $200,000 USD: any further investment/piloting expenses would be negotiated with the GPID and may include discussions around IP and rights to solutions.

Solutions at TRL1-3 in this Challenge should: 

  • Improve the environmental footprint of desalination processes.
  • Reduce energy consumption and operational costs.
  • Introduce new technologies and innovative business models.
  • Provide scalable and sustainable solutions to meet global water demands.

All shortlisted Solvers will be given access to Saudi Water Innovation Center (SWIC) services and resources - an incubation program with a leading venture capital in water. This will help to supercharge Solvers' technologies, solutions, and desalination/water technology programs as well as directly connecting you to decision makers across academia, industry, and private ventures.

Please note: when asked to express impact estimates of a technical or economic nature in the submission form of your application, Solvers should use a 25-year business plan for a 500,000m3/day reference desalination plant based on currently-marketed technologies as your data point. If a Solver were to refer to a desalination plant with different characteristics, they would have to describe their parameters and explain their choices. Any other characteristics of the reference desalination plant may be assumed by the applicant at its own discretion and declared in the application procedure.

To learn more about the GPID Challenge Program and see commonly-asked questions, please visit the GPID Challenge Program Homepage here.



The Global Prize in Desalination is primarily interested in solutions from Solvers, research institutions, universities, corporates, R&D units, and start-ups which will be evaluated based on their potential to meet the following requirements:

Must-Have Requirements:

  • Technology – relating to the clarity and relevance of project goals and extent to which the proposed innovative solution is ambitious and goes beyond the state of the art.
  • Business Model – relating to the quality and effectiveness of the pilot innovative solution development plan, risk assessment, and adequacy of overall effort and resources required, and capabilities of the applicant individual / team. This includes economic feasibility, sustainability plan demonstrating business continuity beyond the pilot, risk assessments, and adequacy of overall effort and resources required.

    Please note: the “business” criterion will be used only in the evaluation of applications received for the “Breakthrough Award” Section.
  • Impact – relating to the likely magnitude and significance of the proposed innovative solution’s contributions to human development and sustainability, and suitability and quality of measures to maximize expected outcomes and impacts. This could be viewed through the capability of your solution or through its disruptive potential.
  • Team - relating to the knowledge and experience of Solvers, Solver teams, or Solver organizations, their responsiveness and professionalism, and the innovation and creative thinking displayed in their solution.
  • Governance/Legal - relating to the compliance with the law, rights, and standard as stated within the Challenge.

Proposals will be evaluated based on the above assessment criteria of Technology, Business Model, Impact, Team, and Governance/Legal. Each assessment criterion will be graded from 0 to 5 by members of the International Jury, where:

  • 0 - The Candidate Solution does not address the criterion or is incomplete
  • 1 - The criterion is inadequately addressed or has serious weaknesses by the Candidate Solution
  • 2 - The criterion is addressed, but there are some weaknesses by the Candidate Solution
  • 3 - The criterion is well addressed, but there are weaknesses by the Candidate Solution
  • 4 - The criterion is addressed very well, and there are few weaknesses by the Candidate Solution
  • 5 - The criterion is successfully addressed, and all relevant aspects are covered by the Candidate Solution.

To be eligible for the final Grand Prize ranking, a Candidate Solution must have a score of at least 3 in each of Technical Score, Business Score and Impact Score. The Candidate Solution eligible for the Grand Prize ranking will be placed in order of Total Score (i.e., sum of Technical Score, Business Score and Impact Score). The “business” criterion will be used only in the evaluation of applications received for the “Breakthrough Award” Section. The five Candidate Solutions with the highest Total Score will proceed to the “Consensus Meeting” of the International Jury, in which the International Jury will decide the award of the Grand Prize at its sole discretion by a simple majority vote of those present at the voting. In case of a tie, the vote of the Chairperson of the International Jury or of the most senior among the Co-chairs will count double.

Candidate Solutions that are not selected to be the Grand Prize winner will be eligible to compete for the Impact Medals. For each impact category, Candidate Solutions will be ranked according to their individual Impact Category partial score. The five Candidate Solutions with the highest Impact Category partial score will proceed to the “Consensus Meeting” of the International Jury, in which the International Jury will decide the award of the Impact Medal at its sole discretion by a simple majority vote of those present at the voting.



Please login and register your interest, to complete the submission form.

The submitted proposals must be written in English and can include:

- Personal Details
- Organizational Details (if applicable)
- Project Details
- Technical Questions
- Market Questions
- Potential Pilot Questions
- Required attachments include a pitch video (video or .zip format, Max. 50MB), a mass balance (if applicable), and any other extra details you wish to provide in an attachment (Max. 10MB).

Wazoku encourages the use by Solvers of AI approaches to help develop their submissions, though any produced solely with generative AI are not of interest.

Find out more about participation in Wazoku Crowd Challenges.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on August 31, 2024.

Late submissions will not be considered.


Feeling lost? Not sure what GPID Challenge is right for you? Here's a handy guide on how you can get started with our Wazoku Crowd GPID Challenges:

  • Early-stage: Visit the Discovery Award if you have ideas, concepts, technologies, and solutions at TRL1-3 or expertise in desalination! $100,000 Grand Prize (with $200,000 value in piloting) and up to 10 $50,000 Impact Medals available!
  • More Mature Submissions: Join the Breakthrough Award for more mature technologies and solutions with proof-of-concept or experimental validation. This Challenge also has a $100,000 Grand Prize (with $200,000 in piloting funding), and up to 10 Impact Medals ($50,000 each).
  • Are you at market level or a high TRL (8-9)? Visit our three dedicated Special Mention Challenges:
    • Most Innovative Idea in Water Production - celebrating the market-defining technologies and policies in the water industry. Special Mention winners and shortlisted Solvers may not have a listed prize amount, but will experience plenty of cash incentives, including the opportunity to go to the GPID event in November 2024.
    • Venture Capital Deal of the Year in Water Production - tell us all about market deals, developments, and upcoming technology/financial opportunities in the water technology and production industry! This Special Mention has no listed cash award, but has the same opportunities with the awards event in November and any cash incentives.

    • Most Impactful Lab/Accelerator in Water Production Technology - do you work for or know a trailblazing lab/accelerator/research team in the water industry? Tell us all about your work to be awarded a Special Mention and the opportunity to perhaps give a keynote speech at the conference!

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Visit the Wazoku Crowd Community to take part in the discussion.

wbtthefrog wbtthefrog

Is this just for solutions specifically targeted at water desalination, or broad enough to cover other “research, ideas, technologies, and solutions that innovates the generation, transmission or storage of sustainable energy” with potentially broader applications?