A. General Questions

1. What are the categories of the Prize?

The Zayed Sustainability Prize awards 5 categories:

  • Health
  • Food
  • Energy
  • Water
  • Global High Schools (1 award for each of the below regions)
    • The Americas
    • Sub-Saharan Africa
    • Middle East & North Africa
    • Europe & Central Asia
    • South Asia
    • East Asia & Pacific

The total prize fund is US$3 million, distributed as follows:

  • Health - $600,000
  • Food - $600,000
  • Energy - $600,000
  • Water - $600,000
  • Global High Schools - $600,000 – (divided amongst 6 Schools, awarding each up to US$100,000)
    • The Americas
    • Sub-Saharan Africa
    • Middle East & North Africa
    • Europe & Central Asia
    • South Asia
    • East Asia & Pacific

The Prize fund comes from the Abu Dhabi Government as a way to honour and continue the sustainability and humanitarian legacy of the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

For Health, Food, Energy and Water categories, the criteria are:


The innovation criterion requires organisations to:

  • demonstrate that their solution has unique and distinctive characteristics compared to their competitors;
  • have a level of maturity by being demonstrated on the ground;
  • have already shown characteristics to change the 'status quo' and have the potential to catalyse opportunities not previously considered through disruptive or transformative change.


The impact criterion is designed to test if the organisation has demonstrated significant and tangible results.

  • organisations will be expected to show that their solution has had a positive impact on the quality of peoples' lives. Direct and indirect impacts are considered;
  • organisations will also need to demonstrate that they have good governance, employ skilled people, are operationally and financially stable, as well being resilient to potential or real challenges.


The inspiration criterion is designed to test if:

  • organisation has a long-term vision and credible plan to deploy the prize money and scale up outcomes and impact over the next 10-15 years;
  • organisation can outline the scale of their ambition and how they can multiply the positive impact of their core issues and continue to improve people’s lives;
  • organisation can also demonstrate that they are able to inspire others to multiply, sustain and catalyse further benefits.

For assessment criteria for Global High Schools category, please visit our website here.

Previous winners can be found here in the Winners section of the website.

All submissions go through our three-tiered evaluation process.

  • First stage: A reputed international Research & Analysis firm conducts due diligence on all submissions to ensure that they meet the criteria of the Zayed Sustainability Prize: Innovation, Impact, and Inspiration.
  • Second stage: The Selection Committee reviews every entry and the final entries are sent to the Jury for final evaluation.
  • Third stage: The Jury meets in person to deliberate on the finalists and select the winner in each category. Final decisions are unanimous. The winners will be announced at the Zayed Sustainability Prize Awards Ceremony, which takes place in Abu Dhabi during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

B. Questions on the Submission form

Interested applicants should submit using the online submissions portal. This can also be accessed through the homepage of the Zayed Sustainability Prize website.

There are no fees associated with completing a submission.

No. All submissions for the Zayed Sustainability Prize must only be made through our submissions portal

The Prize only accepts entries completed in English.

The Zayed Sustainability Prize opened for submissions on 30 January 2019 and will remain open until the deadline on 30th May 2019. Submissions will not be accepted outside of the submissions period.
To ensure all entrants have the same opportunity and timeframe, the submissions period is not extendable, under any circumstance.

The online portal allows entrants to save the progress of their submission details and return to add or complete the entry at a later time.Applicants must remember to save their progress and can update and change the content as many times as needed, up until confident it is ready for submission. Simply log in using the credentials you used to set up your account.

Please note that once the submission has been officially submitted, no further additions and/or changes will be permitted. No submitted entries will be accepted after the submissions deadline has expired.
In order to edit your application after you have submitted it before the deadline, please send a request to techsupport@zayedsustainabilityprize.com. A member of the technical support team will ‘open’ your application for editing within 48 hours, provided this time lapse is still within the deadline.

All entries received during the submissions period will receive an acknowledgement of receipt. However, should the submission not reflect one of the three criteria, and therefore not progress for further evaluation, the feedback will only reflect that the submission did not meet the minimum requirements.

As the first stage of the evaluation is handled by an independent consultancy for research and analysis, their decision on what meets the minimum requirements is final and no further correspondence will be entered into.

Should any entrant require any additional feedback on how to submit their application, they may contact us on: info@zayedsustainabilityprize.com
Any organisation or high school may submit or resubmit an entry for the Prize as many times as they like, unless they are a former winner of the Prize(in any category).
Yes. Each applicant or entity may enter in more than one category of the Prize. In the Global High Schools category, however, the school must apply only once.

A maximum of five attachments are allowed with a maximum single file size of 7MB per attachment.

Yes. Only one video link is allowed.

Video links from only YouTube and Vimeo are accepted, but due to the size (MB) of actual video files, no attachments will be accepted.

If the research organisation fits the eligibility criteria (Innovation, Impact and Inspiration) then it can be considered for any of the categories apart from Global High Schools.

As long as the emerging start-up company meets the required criteria of the Prize and can demonstrate a proven track record of innovation, impact, and inspiration it may apply in any of the non-Global High School categories (Health, Food, Energy or Water).

No additional material will be accepted via email or airmail. All material relevant to your submission should be submitted through the Online Submission Portal.

The response boxes in the form only accepts plain text. Therefore, candidates will be unable to include graphs and charts in these response boxes. However, there will be a separate attachment facility for you to upload your supporting documents such as graphs and charts. Please describe each attachment as an "Appendix" - i.e. Appendix A – Graphs and Charts. You may upload them as Word, PDF or JPG files.

The answer section only accepts plain text or a plain URL (e.g. http://wikipedia.com); however, please avoid using charts, tables or hyperlinks. Should this information be critical, please include this in a word document and attach it in the “Attachments” section of the submission form.

Please feel free to contact us at info@zayedsustainabilityprize.com or on +971 2 653 3333 for any assistance.

Yes. Financial information will need to be included. All applicants can be assured that all such information will be handled in the strictest of confidence and will only ever be disclosed to the relevant panel of judges, as required.

C. Global High Schools Category

For the Global High Schools category, we ask schools to submit proposals for funding consideration to implement sustainability measures in their schools and/or community. These measures could range from the implementation of technologies to the incorporation of dedicated curricula.

The Global High Schools award aims to encourage innovation amongst youth, in developed and developing nations alike. It is open to educational institutions targeting high school students of age from 11 years old to 19 year old.

D. Post-Submission

All entrants will receive a notification email upon submitting.

If you have not submitted your application, you will also receive a reminder email to complete your submission, as we approach the deadline.

Yes. You can download a copy of your submission by logging into the submissions portal.

Yes. You will be notified by email by the Prize administration team. You will also receive an email should you not make to the shortlist.

Please note that a public announcement of the finalist candidates can only be made following the meeting of the Jury of the Prize.

No. In order to ensure that every year we recognise innovative, impactful and inspirational solutions, former winners (of any category) are not permitted to resubmit another entry.

The Zayed Sustainability Prize has incorporated a non-disclosure policy on announcing shortlisted candidates before the final stage of the evaluation and the Jury Meeting is concluded.

At this time, should you or your entity be listed as one of our finalists, you are free to publicise this as well.

The judges will not visit or communicate directly with the candidates as part of their assessment. For this reason, it is imperative that all information critical to your submission be included in the entry form.

All finalists will be invited to attend the ceremony, with flights and accommodation costs provided.

The winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize are asked to sign a contract with Masdar detailing the relationship between the Prize and its winners.

The Prize fund should go towards the sustainability programme or solution described in the submission. Alternatively, dedicating the fund to new sustainability ideas is also possible, subject to details provided and agreed on, in advance, to the Prize administration.

For the Global High Schools category, the fund is to be used to implement the project proposal and satisfy the obligations (including any timing requirements) as set out in the proposal.

E. About the Awards Ceremony

The Zayed Sustainability Prize awards ceremony takes place during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January every year.