USC Wrigley Sustainability Prize

The USC Wrigley Sustainability Prize is an annual entrepreneurial competition supporting environmental ideas with market potential from within the USC community. Visit the USC Dornsife website for the most updated information about this year’s prize.



The event highlights innovative start-up ideas from all disciplines and rewards concepts that could result in meaningful environmental change. Winning teams receive prize money to help translate their ideas into action.

Building on the environmental mission of the USC Wrigley Institute, the Prize supports the most compelling ideas that meet the following criteria: Innovation (How creative is the idea? Has it been done before?); Impact (What kind of an environmental or sustainability impact could the idea have?); Feasibility (Can the idea be executed and would it have commercial appeal?)

Teams receive hands-on mentorship from business, science, sustainability, and entrepreneurship experts, as well as networking opportunities throughout the semester. A selection committee of environmental experts, startup investors and business leaders will judge the submissions and work with teams to develop the most promising solutions. Finalists are invited to present their concepts at a final public pitch event in April 2020.


  • First place team: $7,000
  • Second place team: $5,000
  • Third place team: $3,000

Who can Apply?

Have an environmental idea you think could take the market by storm? Pitch it to us! The competition invites applications from individuals or teams with members from the following groups: USC undergraduate or graduate students, faculty, staff members, recent alumni, or innovative combinations of groups. We welcome ideas from diverse levels of study and academic disciplines including natural sciences, business, environmental justice, green technology, urban planning, engineering, education, health, communications and visual media, and more.

Preference will be given to ideas that employ research developed here at USC.

Rules and Regulations:

  • Each team MUST include at least one USC undergraduate or graduate student.
  • Teams comprised of members from multiple academic disciplines are encouraged but not required.
  • No individual may serve as a member on more than one team.
  • Any significant changes to project scope between submission of the application and the final event may require further vetting. Please consult the Selection Committee for approval.
  • All finalists must be present at the final pitch event April 2020. For teams including non-student members, current USC students must be part of the final pitch presentation.
  • Ideas may be submitted in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to): detailed write-ups of the concept, grant proposal drafts, material prototypes, annotated illustrations/blueprints, etc. This is an innovation competition—creative submissions are encouraged!
  • The selection committee reserves the right to eliminate any team from participating that fails to comply with the rules or procedures, or fails to act in accordance with USC policies.
  • For more information, please contact with the email heading “Wrigley Sustainability Prize”.

Past Prize Winners