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GSEI Partners with SPI to Create the Georgetown University Energy Prize

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Written by Michael Barclay

The Georgetown University Energy Prize was born out of the simple idea that solutions to sustainability need to come from communities, who can address issues on their own terms with a bottom-up approach to energy efficiency.

Incentive prizes have a long history of success, but have never before been attempted on a national scale targeted solely at community-based energy efficiency. By offering an incentive purse to communities, we hope to leverage investment to encourage sustainable changes that increase energy efficiency in all aspects of a community.

Georgetown University’s program on Science in the Public Interest (SPI) has partnered with the McDonough School of Business’ Global Social Entrepreneurship Initiative (GSEI) to design and implement such a prize. Almost a year ago, Professor Francis Slakey, Co-Director of SPI, reached out to Professors Bill Novelli and Ladan Manteghi of GSEI to put together a team to obtain sponsorship for the design phase of this prize. Along with former Senior Director of the Progressive Automotive X-Prize competition, Dr. John Shore, and Georgetown student Michael Barclay, the team pitched its proposal initial seed funding from ExxonMobil and the American Gas Association to explore and design several prize concepts in community energy efficiency. We were successful, and since then our team has expanded include other students in the Georgetown’s business school. Furthermore, we have set up our official Advisory Board with energy and prize experts not only in Washington, but across the country.

This March, the Georgetown University Energy Prize team hosted its first workshop to discuss the prize design concepts with leaders in the energy field. Attendees ranged from technical and policy experts in Department of Energy and the White House to business leaders in Chevron and innovative start-up companies, among many others. By drawing on the expertise of individuals with previous prize experience or the technical measures and resources such a prize would require, we were able to probe our strengths and weaknesses, focusing our efforts for the final design phase over the next few months.

The program on Science in the Public Interest’s focus on practicable solutions for a more sustainable future combined with GSEI’s window to businesses with social responsibility at their core complement each other perfectly in the Georgetown University Energy Prize. This team will continue to leverage their strengths to get Georgetown’s name out there as a leader in innovative approaches to energy efficiency.

Michael Barclay is a senior in Georgetown University’s College of Arts and Sciences. A double major in Biology and Government, he will be attending law school in the fall. Michael has been involved in numerous organizations on campus, including serving as a Student Fellow in Georgetown’s Program for Science in the Public Interest, for which he did field research on sustainable transportation in Bamako, Mali. He joined the GU Energy Prize team at its founding a year ago, and has been helping to develop the prize since. 

Related Link(s):

Georgetown University Energy Prize Workshop Photo Gallery