Resnick Institute


2017 Caltech SISCA Winners

SISCA Overview

Caltech's Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA) is a prize program, established by Dow, to recognize and reward students for their innovation and research aimed at finding sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing social, economic and environmental problems.

We accept applications for the SISCA prize in late summer/early fall. Currently enrolled Caltech graduate students and teams with at least one Caltech graduate student team member may apply or be nominated for the award by others. See details below. All entrants participate in a celebratory poster session where the winners are announced. The SISCA Grand Prize Winner receives $10,000 dollars and the Runner Up $2,500.

To apply for SISCA, you must submit a two-page overview document (not to exceed 1,000 words) that explains what global challenge your project or research seeks to solve sustainably and how it relates to the selection criteria. Other application requirements are listed below, but your ability to communicate how your project or research aligns with the selection criteria, inclusive of how it ties into advancing Dow’s Sustainability Goals is paramount.

Ideal SISCA projects and research include analysis from multiple disciplines and reflect a commitment to deliver breakthrough solutions for global challenges such as food (security, waste reduction, nutrition access), energy (efficiency and conservation), water (security, conservation, efficiency), climate change, nature and social issues.

If your research or project is aimed at advancing sustainable solutions, we encourage you to apply!

Selection Criteria

  • Potential for solving world challenges in alignment with the spirit of Dow's 2025 Sustainability Goals
  • Interdisciplinary nature of work: An ideal SISCA winning project features interdisciplinary work with implications of the work extending beyond the student’s primary discipline or area of study.
  • Innovative thinking and excellence in research or project implementation

How to Apply:

Nominate Yourself or Your Team

  • Fill out the online entry form and submit the following by Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 11:59 pm Pacific Note: Be prepared to upload the two-page overview and short bio submittals outlined below into the form in PDF format.
  • Submit a two-page overview of your project or research (not to exceed 1,000 words) summarizing how it relates to the selection criteria and what world challenge it seeks to solve sustainably. You may include one additional page of figures for a total proposal length of 3 pages. Please name your file with your last name followed by the word "Proposal" as a PDF i.e. Smith_Proposal.pdf
  • Submit a one paragraph short bio. If you are part of a team, you must submit a document containing one paragraph bios for each team member. Please name your file with your last name followed by the word "Bio" as a PDF i.e. Smith_Bio.pdf
  • One letter of support from a knowledgeable reference, who is not a member of your team, should be e-mailed directly to before the September 17, 2017 deadline. Please have your reference name their file with the applicant's last name followed by "LOS" as a PDF i.e. Smith_LOS.pdf.

Nominate A Graduate Student

  • Submit a letter of support to explaining the student or student team's research, what world challenge it addresses and how it relates to the selection criteria. Please name the file with the nominee's last name then the word "Nomination" as a PDF i.e. Smith_Nomination.pdf. We will inform the student of the nomination and follow up with them to collect additional information.

Competition Details

  • Deadline to enter or nominate: Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 11:59 pm Pacific
  • Grand Prize $10,000
  • Runner Up Prize $2,500
  • Individuals and student teams are eligible, however, individuals must be currently enrolled Caltech graduate students and teams must have at least one currently enrolled Caltech graduate student on them. Teams can be as small as two people, such as a grad student and a postdoc or large, such as a grad student teamed up with undergrads, postdocs and additional researchers or collaborators. The key is that the team must have one currently enrolled Caltech grad student on it.
  • Winners will be selected by a review committee comprised of Caltech faculty, staff and representatives from Dow.
  • All entrants must participate in the awards reception poster session. Poster guidelines will be provided prior to event.
  • 2017 SISCA Celebration: Awards Reception & Poster Session: Tuesday, November 7 from 4:30 to 6:00 pm in Jorgensen Lobby
  • View Caltech's past SISCA winners
  • Posters from previous winners are on display along the West corridor of the Jorgensen building.
  • Please contact the Resnick Institute with any questions.