LOS ANGELES, Feb. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Roddenberry Foundation today announced the inaugural winners of The Roddenberry Prize, $1 million in awards to support innovative solutions that address humanity's greatest challenges. Building upon the foundation's #BoldlyBetter campaign, which seeks to inspire the public's participation in a "boldly better" future together, The Roddenberry Prize was first unveiled at the Smithsonian Institution last fall in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Star Trek.
Several thousand interested parties submitted over 600 applications from across the globe to re-imagine how we teach and learn, care for our environment, eradicate disease, and connect more deeply to each other and to the issues we care about. The Roddenberry Foundation is proud to recognize this portfolio of solutions for their effort and dedication in addressing the most pressing challenges of our time.
The Roddenberry Prize consists of one $400,000 Grand Prize winner and four $150,000 Innovation Award winners. The winners are:
Opus12 – Converts industrial CO2 emissions into valuable chemicals and fuels, reducing the carbon footprint of the world's heaviest emitters while creating a new revenue stream from what is discarded today as a waste product. At commercial scale, the technology will have the CO2-converting power of 37,000 trees, but in the volume of a suitcase. Submitted by Nicholas Flanders/Opus 12, Inc.
- Cancer Cell Map Initiative – Mapping the molecular networks underlying cancer and using these to guide the development of novel therapies and diagnostics.
- FarmDrive – Financial/tech startup building alternative data-driven credit models that enable financial institutions to lend to smallholder farmers across Africa.
- FastOx – Waste gasification system which coverts trash into clean energy to benefit disadvantaged communities in the developing world.
- SmartStones – Body language-based sensory tool that enables communication for 370 million nonverbal people globally, including those with severe autism.
"We are thrilled by the breadth of issues being addressed, the solutions offered, and the diverse group of bold innovators behind them. The potential for real, tangible impact as a result of their work is extraordinary." said Rod Roddenberry, the son of the late Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek.
The judging panel included such accomplished and honored individuals as Majora Carter, Andrew Frishman, Dr. Helene Gayle, Erik Hersman, Leah Hunter, Capt. Mark Kelly, April Reign and Sonal Shah.
The foundation would also like to recognize four finalists whose ideas and organizations were inspiring:
- Jibu - With a unique social franchise model, Jibu equips and finances aspiring entrepreneurs to launch safe drinking water franchises.
- Ideasbox - Ideasbox, created by Libraries Without Borders, is a transformational technology: a fully autonomous, transportable, and durable toolkit that quickly becomes a customizable multimedia center, school, or community hub.
- Bhungroo – Created by Naireeta Services, Bhungroo filters, a solution for farmers who sufferers from drought &/or erratic rain, injects & stores excess farm-water or stormwater underground for usage in lean period.
- UpTogether – Family Independence Initiaitive (FII-National) collaborates with low-income families to innovate and refine UpTogether - a technology platform used to achieve economic and social mobility based on connections, choice and capital.
About The Roddenberry Foundation
Launched in 2010, The Roddenberry Foundation is committed to finding and supporting remarkable people and organizations who can disrupt existing dynamics, challenge old patterns of thought, and discover new ways to help us move towards a better future. The foundation provides grants to accelerate the development of great, untested ideas and invest in models that are challenging the status quo and improving the human condition. Together, these interconnected initiatives offer opportunities for original thinkers and innovators from all walks to life to pursue significant, lasting change. Visit http://roddenberryfoundation.org.
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SOURCE The Roddenberry Foundation