The $4-million Zayed Future Energy Prize is open for submissions – and Africans are urged to enter.

The renewable energy and sustainability competition is inviting entries from companies, individuals, organisations and high schools prior to the deadline of 16 July 2012, with a focus on African entries.

“We have seen commendable innovations from the African continent in the past five years and we want to inspire more energy innovators from all African countries who can create solutions that meet the energy challenges of our time,” says Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize.

The scope of the Zayed Future Energy Prize has been broadened to include five distinct categories: Large Corporations, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Lifetime Achievement, and the newly instituted Global High School Prize.

“The Zayed Future Energy Prize is fast becoming the pre-eminent platform for innovators from around the world; nurturing and developing young minds at an early age and encouraging them to innovate lies at the heart of our global drive,” she adds.

The $500 000 Global High School Prize will be split into five parts with winning schools in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Oceania and Europe being awarded up to $100 000 each.

High Schools from around the world are requested to submit a business case for how they plan on utilising the prize for the purpose of raising awareness on the importance of sustainability and improving the school’s environmental footprint. Projects submitted must be based on one or more of the three pillars of the UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative which includes Energy Access, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Information and entry forms can are available at

Last year the prize attracted a record 425 applications from more than 70 countries.

The Zayed Future Energy Prize celebrates achievements that reflect innovation, impact, long-term vision and leadership in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability. It was created in honour of the legacy of the late Founding Father and President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The prize aims to inspire the next generation of global energy innovators to create solutions for the future and is awarded annually to individuals, companies or organisations that have made significant contributions in the global response to the future of energy, climate change and sustainable global energy resources.

The winners are chosen according to a stringent four-stage selection process. The first stage involves an independent research and analysis firm conducting all necessary due diligence of each candidate’s application. During the second stage, a review committee evaluates each candidate and shortlists entries in each award category using a scoring matrix based on the Prize’s four criteria. In the third stage, a selection committee comprising leading experts in the field of renewable energy and sustainability evaluates the shortlisted entries. Submissions that have scored the highest make it to the fourth and final round, where an elite jury comprised of various heads of state, leading academics, energy experts and world renowned personalities with a keen interest in sustainability, reviews and selects the winners and runners up in each award category.