Wisconsin Energy and Sustainability Challenge



Developing new solutions to advance sustainable and affordable energy is an important part of keeping the U.S. competitive and resilient. Historically, solutions to pressing global issues have emerged from innovative approaches and fresh, inspired perspectives. Students at UW–Madison are exceptionally suited for solving the sustainability challenge through innovation and entrepreneurship.

Among research universities, UW–Madison ranks in the top ten, with an entrepreneurship program ranking in the top 25 in the nation. As a university, it is second only to Harvard in the number of alumni who are CEO's of Fortune 500 companies and ranks first in the number of students who have worked in the Peace Corps. This famous entrepreneurial spirit and vision for social change make our campus ideal for a competition focused on the issue of global sustainability. We invite all UW–Madison students to contribute their own creative solutions to the Wisconsin Energy & Sustainability Challenge.

Contest Timeline:

  • October 4, 2017, 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.: Info sessions, Room 1150 Wisconsin Energy Institute
  • December 6, 2017 6:00 p.m. Infosession, Room 1150 Wisconsin Energy Institute
  • December 21, 2017: OPTIONAL registration deadline. Register online here.
  • January 30, January 31, February 1: Drop-in Office Hours from 1-5 p.m., Room 1150 Wisconsin Energy Institute
  • February 2, 2018, 8:00 a.m.: Project submission deadline (submit project here)
  • February 9, 2018: Finalists notified via e-mail that they've been selected to present at the competition
  • February 23, 2018: Final competition at the Energy Hub Conference

Missed an info session? Watch a recording of a previous session



Read complete competition guidelines

The contest is open to all UW–Madison students enrolled at half time or more (six-plus credits) during the fall semester, including graduate students and dissertators. Students who register in the fall but graduate in winter of the same year remain eligible to compete. Contestants must be present for judging and the awards ceremony to collect their prizes.

To enter the competition, student(s) [allowable team size is 1-4 people, no more than 4 people per team allowed] must register online and submit their entry forms and project materials by the entry deadline. While an individual student may enter and compete alone, teams with two or more students from different disciplines are likely to be more competitive. Team members may be students from any UW–Madison school or college. Students who have interrupted full-time study with co-op work experience during spring semester are eligible but must attend the contest judging. Returning teams (who have submitted the same entry in spirit or name) must explain changes to their proposal from their previous entry that improves or makes this submission unique - the intention is not to remove the ability to submit the same entry multiple years, but to explain to the judges how you've improved your entry from year to year.

The Dvorak prize will be awarded to the team that demonstrates a technology applicable to the energy field, and entries that feature a patentable idea will generally perform better in the contest. The Global Stewards Sustainable Prize (GSSP) is open to any idea with an environmental or sustainability focus. The initial entry to the WESC (both prizes are judged concurrently with one entry) will consist of a 20 page *maximum* (no minimum to enter) business plan that describes their innovation in the energy or sustainability field, including all appendices, business plan, and financial information.

Teams are encouraged to engage university faculty members or other outside collaborators for expertise and guidance, but only students can participate as official members of the team. The submission must clearly report the contributions of the student team members and any contributions from outside collaborators, and the judging will only take into account the contributions of the UW–Madison students. If students fail to cite contributions by outside collaborators, they will be immediately disqualified.

Read complete competition guidelines


Register for the WESC competition online

Registration ensures that you stay up-to-date on the latest developments regarding the competition 

If it is unclear whether or not your team is eligible, your team leader should contact the competition coordinator at UWWESC@gmail.com.

Please sign up for our mailing list by sending a blank e-mail to join-wesc-students@lists.wisc.edu


Past Entry Samples:

Entrepreneurship Resources

Materials, Supplies, and Prototyping Resources

Other Energy/Sustainability Competitions

Other Campus Competitions

For more information on these contests, please email UWWESC@gmail.com.

Writing your Plan

Energy/Sustainability Organizations on Campus

Cleantech Resources

Information on Climate Change


The Wisconsin Energy and Sustainability Challenge is supported by:

The Dvorak Family The Global Stewards Society The David Marca Memorial Fund for Student Energy Projects eHub

with additional support from the following departments or institutes at the UW–Madison:

SAGE Web Logo UW College of Engineering Logo Wisconsin Energy Institute Logo


Sponorship Opportunities
We are seeking partners to help us improve the competition. Please contact Scott Williams if you are interested in supporting the Wisconsin Energy & Sustainability Challenge.