We support non-profits that embrace E-STEM to inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists, business leaders, researchers, and inventors.

Thank you to each of you and your amazing programs that have applied for this year’s UL Innovative Education Award.
We look forward to learning all about your innovative E-STEM work and how you are engaging the next generation of engineers, scientists, business leaders, researchers, and inventors.

Together we can power a sustainable tomorrow!


The UL Innovative Education Award is a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to invest up to US $250,000 annually in environmental and STEM education, sustainable communities, and youth empowerment. We offer recognition awards to increase the impact of existing innovative non-profit programs that use the Environment as a pathway to STEM Learning (E->STEM).

Through the UL Innovative Education Award, UL invests in the critical work of non-profit organizations across the US and Canada that are leading the way to inspire a passion for STEM education in young people through a focus on designing solutions to environmental problems. The award program, designed in collaboration with NAAEE, empowers the next generation of leaders to connect with the natural world, develop science-based sustainable solutions for local communities, and nurture a capacity for social responsibility.

We choose to recognize and support innovative programs that already make positive impacts in their communities. With the support of this award, these successful programs can scale up their efforts to reach more youth in their communities and share their innovations with other organizations. We believe this is an important contribution to the field, where there are few recognition awards for excellence in E→STEM.

Application Procedures

The UL Innovative Education Award has two distinct application phases.

Phase 1

The first phase is an open-invitation. In this phase, Non-profit or non-profit program signatories submit online applications through our application page.

Applications are due by:
February 21, 2018

Applicants should submit strong evidence (through writing, photos, videos, and supplementary materials) of how their program advances innovation in the field of E-STEM for each of the following criteria. Remember that applicants should write ONLY about existing programs, instead of plans for future programs unless specifically asked.


1) Advancing STEM Learning

Successful programs promote science learning for young people through research and investigative experiences. STEM learning is prioritized, with an emphasis on creative approaches to problem solving and critical thinking. Ultimately, this activity will help young people acquire 21st century skills.


2) Citizenship & Social Responsibility

Successful programs focus on environmental health, and the fair treatment and involvement of all people and communities in regards to the environment, to engage individuals in community and safety issues. They demonstrate a commitment to disseminating these solutions to people who will benefit from the information. Programs articulate the top civic priorities of their communities and why it is a social responsibility to address them. They encourage active citizenship by serving as role models for their partners and the community.


3) Solutions for Environmental Challenges

Successful programs have identified an environmental challenge in a specific community or region, designed or engineered solutions, and have applied those STEM-based solutions to the issues. Successful programs can demonstrate how they have tackled environmental problems using STEM solutions, and promoted those solutions to others.


Download the official rubric here to learn how applications are assessed by judges. You can also view select past applications here for examples from our previous winners.

Phase 2

Short-listed finalists, will be invited to participate in a second application phase. At this point, Phase 2 applicants may be asked to produce a document and simple video to respond to judges’ questions or concerns about the original application. In May, judges may also schedule a short Skype interview with these finalists as the final step of the ULIEA application.

NOTE: Only finalists identified by the judges to proceed to Phase 2 will need to take part in these additional application steps. Additionally, all finalists will be highlighted on the ULIEA website.

Judging Process

The UL Innovative Education Award has a three-part judging process.

Part 1: Desk Review

First, judges across the US and Canada conduct a desk review to promote the highest-scoring applications to the next phase. Each application is reviewed by at least two judges.

Part 2: Primary Judging

In late March / early April, a different set of judges gathers in person to assess the remaining applications.

In this phase several panels of field experts will review each application based on the rubric, which aligns with prompts that appear throughout the application. Each of the main criteria (Advancing STEM Learning, Citizenship & Social Responsibility, and Solutions for Environmental Challenges) will be evaluated on a ten-point scale measuring the evidence and quality of innovation presented. Ratings of these criteria use the official rubric in determining the 0-10 point score. Scores range from 0 to 10 as listed below.

0-4 - Poor – Programs that poorly exemplify innovation and quality in a given category can only score 0-4 points.

1-6 - Adequate – Projects that adequately exemplify successful innovation and quality can score 1-6 points. Projects that present no direct evidence or unclear evidence will not be ranked above adequate.

5-8 - Good – Projects that are a good example of successful innovation and quality can score 5-8 points, depending on quality of evidence.

7-10 - Excellent – Projects that exemplify excellence in innovation and quality can score 7-10 points, but will only be considered for this category if they present moderate to ample evidence that is also clear.

For more on scoring, please see the official rubric.

The scores across each of the three main criteria will be totaled for the applicant's total score within each review panel. An ongoing series of panels will continue the review process until a short-list of applications is selected to proceed to the final step of judging. This group promotes a maximum of ten finalists to the next round.

Part 3: Finalist Review

In May a new panel of experts, who were not part of the first judging panel, will convene to review finalists’ original applications, as well as new materials responding to questions. At this time, judges may also schedule a short Skype interview with applicants.

About UL

UL solves the safety, security and sustainability challenges of the 21st century. We empower trust and enable the safe adoption of innovation. To do this, UL tests, inspects, audits, certifies, verifies claims, advises and trains as well as provides software solutions. Around the world, our employees share a common passion for our public mission to promote safe working and living environments for all people. Our public charity, Underwriters Laboratories Inc., conducts independent research, community outreach, standards development and safety education. To learn more about us, visit http://www.UL.com.

About UL Environment

UL Environment works to advance global sustainability, environmental health, and safety by supporting the growth and development of environmentally preferable products, services, and organizations. We help companies achieve their sustainability goals—and help purchasers, specifiers, retailers, governments, and consumers find products they can trust. UL Environment offers environmental claim validations, multi-attribute product certifications, environmental product declarations, indoor air quality certification, product emissions testing, organizational sustainability certification, and consulting. For more information, visit www.ul.com/environment, and connect with us via Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.