Global Prize for Innovation in Desalination 2024 - Homepage

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$10,000,000 USD
Due:  31st Aug 2024

Challenge overview

OVERVIEW

Wazoku is delighted to announce that the Global Prize for Innovation in Desalination (GPID) is launching a groundbreaking series of Prize Challenges to accelerate advancements in desalination technologies, approaches, and solutions. In this second annual edition of the GPID, Solvers can win up to US$10m in cash awards, pilot program value, and subsequent business.

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

  • 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. 

*Please note: this page is the homepage and general information page for the 5 Wazoku Crowd GPID Challenges. You will not be able to submit ideas here. You can access the GPID Challenge categories at their respective links by visiting the GPID Community or by following the links highlighted below.*

With a total of $10 million USD available in cash awards and subsequent pilot funding for awarded Solvers, this program aims to address the critical need for freshwater by transforming saltwater into a vital resource. 

The GPID invites individual Solvers, teams, research groups, start-ups, accelerators, and organizations to submit their cutting-edge solutions across five distinct Challenges, each designed to tackle different aspects of desalination and water technology:

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

Grand Prize Winners in this Challenge will have the opportunity to pilot their ideas with $200,000 worth of funding, and there are other cash awards available for winners of the $50,000 Impact Prize categories in this Challenge, as well as discretionary pilot opportunities.

2. Breakthrough Award - $100,000 Prize - Designed for TRL4-7 Submissions

Grand Prize Winners in this Challenge will have the opportunity to pilot their ideas with $200,000 worth of funding, and there are other cash awards available for winners of the $50,000 Impact Prize categories in this Challenge, as well as discretionary pilot opportunities.

3. Most Innovative Idea in Water Production - Special Mention Prize with cash incentives - Policy/Economics focus to recognize thought leaders, provide information about water technologies at market deployment level, and celebrate other developments in the thematic space.



4. Venture Capital Deal of the Year in Water Production - Special Mention Prize with cash incentives - this Challenge is organized to celebrate the attention of global markets to the developments, scale, and innovation displayed in water technologies and production.
 

5. Most Impactful Lab/Accelerator in Water Production Technology - Special Mention Prize with cash incentives -
this Challenge aims to recognize major movers in water technologies, not just in desalination, providing market-level technologies and applications that are shaping the future of the industry. 

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.

 

ABOUT THE SEEKER & ELIGIBILITY

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.
 

THE CHALLENGE

Background

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. 

However, there is a pressing need for further innovation 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. Last year's GPID Prize awarded 7 winners: the 2024 edition will see 2 Grand Prize Awards ($100,000 each), 10 Impact Prizes ($50,000 each), and 6 Special Mentions (no cash award but collaboration/networking opportunities).

This series of Prize Challenges is designed for water tech innovators - no matter their affiliation, Technology Readiness Level (TRL), or development status - to advance access for millions.

Awarded Solvers in this series of Challenges can earn cash awards and grow their approaches with collaborative pilot programs, and shortlisted Solvers could be invited to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in November for a world-leading three-day desalination and water tech conference.

The GPID is designed to lead the future of water, and your involvement will make real change happen: for you, for your business, and for the world.

The Challenge

The Global Prize for Innovation in Desalination 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 are broken up by Technology Readiness Level (TRL), to give Solvers across the development spectrum the chance to change the world. Solvers are encouraged to submit proposals that demonstrate theoretical innovation, practical applicability, and potential for significant impact. All Challenges seek both early-stage ideas and mature technologies ready for deployment.

The 5 categories of the GPID 2024 are designed to give Solvers at each Technology Readiness Level (TRL) the opportunity to win big with GPID. 
 

1. The Discovery Award Challenge, for TRL1-3, 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.

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

Grand Prize winners ($100,000 Prize) and Impact Medal winners ($50,000 each) in the Discovery Award section will 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. There are subsequent discretionary pilot programs available for winners of the Impact Medal prizes, subject to the maturity of proposals.
 

2. The Breakthrough Award Challenge, for TRL4-7, is designed for those Solvers with experimental validation and proof-of-principle/proof-of-concept for their desalination technologies and solutions. The GPID's aim with awarded solutions for the Breakthrough Award Challenge is to reinforce them with a pilot program.

There are also Impact Medal categories for TRL4-7 solutions, submissions, and technologies in the Breakthrough Award, 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

Grand Prize winners ($100,000) and Impact Medal winners ($50,000 each) in the Breakthrough Award section will have access to a 12-month acceleration program to be held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The piloting value for this award is the same: up to $200,000 USD, with any further investment/piloting expenses needing to be negotiated with the GPID which may include discussions around IP and rights to solutions. There are subsequent discretionary pilot programs available for winners of the Impact Medal prizes, subject to the maturity of proposals.

For the last 3 Challenges, these are designed for TRL8-9 & Market submissions: information about desalination technologies at market deployment, and other developments in the thematic space. Solvers are encouraged to inform the GPID about exciting venture deals, water tech labs/accelerators, and the most innovative policy/economics ideas in the desalination space.

These will be awarded with Special Mentions - with cash incentives accorded to these Challenges from GPID and unique networking, marketing, and collaboration value opportunities for winners in these categories at the Innovation Drive Desalination event in November 2024.
 

3. The Most Innovative Idea in Water Production Challenge is designed for those Solvers with details about developments in the desalination market space, personal experience innovating policy and economics around the topic, and those with market-defining solutions and technologies at a higher Technology Readiness Level (TRL).
 

4. The Venture Capital Deal of the Year in Water Production Challenge for TRL8-9 and Market submissions is designed for those Solvers with market details about deals, developments, and upcoming technology/financial opportunities in the water technology and production industry.

The GPID's aim with this Challenge is to recognize and celebrate the movers and shakers in water innovation and solutions
 

5. Finally, the Most Impactful Lab/Accelerator in Water Production Technology Challenge is designed for those Solvers affiliated with labs/accelerators across the water industry to shout about their accomplishments, letting GPID know about their technological developments, and informing the Prize about their opportunities for the future. Valuable networking opportunities will be given to shortlisted Solvers/teams/labs/accelerators in this Challenge, so please tell us in detail how you've been changing the world of water!

The GPID's aim with this Challenge is to recognize and celebrate technologies, companies, and solutions across the Water Production and Water Technology sectors.

 

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.

FAQs

  • What is the GPID?
    Global Prize for Innovation in Water Desalination (GPID), is an initiative aimed to recognize and reward those making significant contributions to the field of water desalination and inspire others to join us in our mission to find sustainable water solutions.
     
  • What is the most appealing and significant aspect of participating in the GPID beyond the cash prize?
    Beyond monetary Prizes, GPID awardees gain entry to an accelerator program and access to piloting facilities provided by SWA or other partners, amplifying the impact of their innovations.

    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 Solver's technologies, solutions, and desalination/water technology programs as well as directly connecting you to decision makers across academia, industry, and private ventures.

     
  • How many entities will be awarded, and what is the prize amount?
    The GPID will award 2 Grand Prizes and 10 Impact Medals: 1 Grand Prize and 5 Medals for the Discovery Award, and 1 Grand Prize and 5 Medals for the Breakthrough Award. Each Grand Prize is valued at $100,000, and each Impact Medal at $50,000.

    The 6 Special Mentions that will be announced for the other 3 Challenges (for TRL8-9 & Market) are not accorded formal prize money, but there are unique cash prizes and networking opportunities available as well as special recognition at the award event.

     
  • When and where does the GPID take place? Can I participate remotely?
    The submission phase runs through to August 31, 2024. Then, the evaluation process by the International Jury runs to the end of September, with shortlisting taking place in October 2024. Both phases are conducted remotely without requiring physical presence. However, attendance is required for the award ceremony scheduled for 11-13th November 2024, with the option to designate a representative if necessary.
     
  • Who can apply for the GPID?
    Individuals without affiliation, Teams, 
    Researchers, Research groups, Startups, Companies, NGOs, universities: anyone with an innovative idea in desalination or the research skills to develop the sector. 
     
  • Can companies participate if they have already raised funding?
    Yes. Companies who have raised seed funding could still be awarded with the prize.
     
  • How is the review process organized for the application submissions and who will assess the applications?
    The review process for application submissions is meticulously structured to ensure comprehensive evaluation across multiple dimensions. An international jury constituted by respected professionals with diverse backgrounds, collectively possessing high technical abilities, business insights, and financial expertise. 
     
  • Can applications be submitted in collaboration with another company or research institution?
    Yes, applications can be submitted in collaboration with other entities, such as research institutions or companies. This collaborative approach fosters synergies, enhances innovation, and broadens the scope of potential impact. Please name all associated organizations in your submission to one of the GPID Challenges.
     
  • Will the selection process be affected if the research associated with the project has already been published?
    No, the selection process is not affected by prior publication of associated research. Intellectual property and commercial rights remain with the innovator or affiliated entities, with no transfer to the GPID organization, as the initiative does not seek intellectual property rights of the innovation.
     
  • What additional benefits does the GPID offer beyond monetary prizes and piloting innovations?
    Participating in the GPID provides exposure and networking opportunities with industry leaders, potentially influencing career paths. Collaboration with fellow award winners fosters knowledge sharing and innovative idea exchange, enhancing transformative impact across the water sector.
     
  • Is it mandatory to pilot the technology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, or can the applicant choose where to pilot their technologies?
    The pilot program occurs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at SWA-TWIIRA facilities. After the award ceremony, discussions between winners and SWA-TWIIRA, facilitated by Wazoku and other partners, determine piloting requirements. Tailored support ensures successful implementation and advancement of winning technologies, aligning with each project’s objectives and potential impact.
     
  • Are there any limitations on how to apply for the GPID?
    There are no limitations on applying for the GPID. Applicants can apply individually, with their teams, or under research centers, institutions, or companies. Collaboration with other companies under pre-existing agreements is permissible, with only the requirement to designate a contact person for communication.
     
  • Are there any restrictions on how to utilize the cash prize awarded by GPID?
    Recipients have complete flexibility in using the cash prize from GPID, with no restrictions or requirement to provide proof of expenditure.
     
  • Is the Award ceremony an open event or does it require an invitation?
    The Award ceremony is open to all applicants with prior registration. Everyone interested can attend and celebrate the achievements of the GPID initiative.
     
  • Will winners need to arrange their travel to the event location?
    No. GPID will handle all logistics to ensure the presence of one representative from each winner technology at the event. All expenses, including travel from the original destination to Jeddah and back, as well as hotel accommodation and transfers since you arrive to Jeddah, will be covered by GPID organization. Additionally, any necessary documentation for visa purposes will be provided, although visa costs are not covered by GPID.
     
  • Is there any cost associated with applying for the Prize?
    No, there is no cost associated with the GPID application. Please report anyone asking you to spend to apply to crowd@wazoku.com.
     
  • Can the concept include not only seawater desalination but also the integration of other streams with seawater for desalination?
    Yes, the concept can integrate other streams with seawater for desalination, such as blending brackish water or wastewater. This integration can enhance desalination efficiency and potentially reduce costs and environmental impacts.
     
  • What happened at last year's GPID award?
    You can learn more about the results, winners, and success of the inaugural 2023 edition of the GPID by reading this press release, or by visiting gpid.net

Got any other questions? Join us in our Solver Community to discuss the program as a whole, or use the dedicated messages section of each GPID Challenge to ask specific questions about each Challenge category!

 

SOLUTION REQUIREMENTS

The SWA’s Global Prize in Desalination is primarily interested in solutions from Solvers, research institutions, universities, corporates, R&D units, and start-ups with the 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, Impact Score, Team Score, and Governance/Legal Score. The Candidate Solution eligible for the Grand Prize ranking will be placed in order of Total Score (i.e., sum of Technical, Business, Impact, Team, and Governance Scores). 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.

 

YOUR SUBMISSION

In the various GPID Challenges, you'll be asked to fill out some personal details, organizational details (if applicable), project descriptions and information, and asked to upload pitch videos and attachments to back up your submission.

Further and specific details are available on each of the Challenge pages, once they go live.

For further questions, please reach out to Wazoku Crowd staff via the messages tab on each of the Challenge pages.

 

Lost? Here's 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!


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.

Use the slider to explore how the Challenge process works:

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To start solving this Challenge, log in to the Challenge Center or register as a Solver

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

Jon Jon

Maybe my ideas were too early. See:https://fullduplexjonrichfield.blogspot.com/2011/01/stop-mucking-with-geothermal.htmlIn which in 2011 I proposed a power production system that could desalinate seawater, even polluted seawater, as a side benefit, and:https://fullduplexjonrichfield.blogspot.com/2018/03/water-on-rocks.htmlin which in 2018 I describe how to burn ice for energy while collecting desalinated water.

press270 press270

Interesting. There was an industry in towing icebergs from poles to fill rich-folks refrigerators ~100yrs ago. Of course, mechanical vapor-compression machines killed that, producing a giant increase in chilling capacity, everybody has a fridge, shopping becomes one per week…a true game-changer in lifestyle for everyone. My guess the Saudis want something to kill RO systems, a similar game-changer, potable water so cheap it’s free, near limitless supply. Like air. The target is 500,000m3/day potable water = 500Mkg/day. One iceberg is 100Mkg (biggest 10Bkg!)…so deliver 1-5 icebergs everyday to Saudi. Not bad! Then again, are you sure iceberg ice is potable?

Jon Jon

@press270 Firstly, my article not only has nothing to do with iceberg towing, but explicitly explains why iceberg towing would be hideously inefficient and futile.Iceberg ice generally is potable, but even if not, would generally be marginally so. The article also explains why brack water can be almost as valuable as fresh water.

Jon Jon

As for the ice importation in the late 19th century, it was not, if I remember correctly, generally iceberg ice, but surface ice cut from freshwater winter lakes in the far north of America and Westerrn Europe..Ambrose Bierce wrote a satirical story on the topic.