Tulane University to announce $1 million winner of Nitrogen Reduction Challenge

Tulane University will award the $1 million grand prize next week in its international challenge to find a significant, scalable solution to reduce nitrogen runoff from farming, a primary culprit behind massive fish kills and annual “dead zones” in waters throughout the world.

The winner of the Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge will be announced at 2 p.m., Dec. 14, at the Tulane River and Coastal Center, 1370 Port of New Orleans Place.

Tulane opened the challenge in 2014 to participants from across the globe to identify and nurture the most innovative and adaptable technologies to fight hypoxia. Phyllis Taylor, president of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation and a member of the board of Tulane, funded the challenge.

Seventy-seven teams from 10 countries entered the contest. Challenge organizers selected four finalists: Adapt-N  of Ithaca, New York; Cropsmith  of Farmer City, Illinois; Pivot Bio  of Berkeley, California; and Stable'N of Carmi, Illinois.

This summer, the challenge finalists tested their ideas planting corn on 25 acres of the Hardwick Planting Company’s 20,000-acre farm in northeast Louisiana along the Mississippi River.

“To see teams taking on this challenge in serious ways and testing their ideas in the real world really provides a litmus test,” said Kenneth Schwartz, director of the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking. “It’s inspiring to see how an initial idea that Mrs. Taylor brought forward to Tulane University can take shape and come to fruition to make a real difference.”

A 16-member advisory board of academics, scientists, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, farmers and other national experts will select the winner by evaluating each team’s crop yield, nitrogen use and potential reduction, cost of their solution and market viability of their innovation.

More information about the Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge is available at http://tulane.edu/tulaneprize.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Photos and video b-roll footage from the contest farm site are available upon request.