SOM Foundation Research Prize

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The SOM Research Prize (two $40,000 grants) is awarded to faculty-led interdisciplinary teams that address a topic identified on an annual basis by the Foundation Board. The topic this year is “Envisioning Responsible Relationships with Materiality.” The SOM Foundation Research Prize is open to applicants currently teaching at US schools with accredited Bachelor, Master, or PhD degree programs in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Design, or Urban Design.

According to a United Nations Environment Programme report published in 2020 “natural resource extraction and processing still account for more than 90 percent of global biodiversity loss and water stress, and around half of global greenhouse gas emissions.” In a context of global environmental crisis and enduring resource inequality, it is essential to continue to reevaluate our relationship with materiality.

This year’s topic seeks to explore materiality from the micro- to the macroscale, bringing together designers and researchers from multiple disciplines in order to envision sustainable, responsible, and ethical relationships with materials and the communities that they come from. How do we shape nonexploitative networks of extraction, production, distribution, and waste? What type of social, cultural, and environmental landscapes do those new networks define? What are the roles and responsibilities of nations, corporations, communities, and individuals in shaping these networks? What are ways to limit the long-term impact on Earth of the human consumption of materials? And what material innovations—technical or in their application—present new possibilities?

Deadline: 11/08/2021