Top 10 Tips For A Successful ULIEA Application

The 2017 ULIEA application window is about to open! I know--we're excited, too. While you wait, brush up on these 10 ways to create a winning application:

10. Anyone can innovate.

This award is designed to reward amazing organizations, regardless of size. Yes--we require organizations and/or programs operate with a maximum $3 million US budget, but there's no minimum. If you're feeling intimidated--don't! Simply look at our past winners; the key to success is how orgs innovate, the results of that innovation, and how that innovation can be replicated to benefit STEM and environmental education overall.

9. Engineering: It's all about solutions.

We often hear orgs say they're not eligible for an ULIEA, when in fact, they are! We get it--words like technology or engineering may mean something different to you than us, or even the judges. Here's the thing about engineering: if your program helps kids create solutions to address environmental issues then you're doing it--you'e engineering. Your solution doesn't have to be about advanced robotics. Innovating a rain collection system, a local irrigation system, or an air-quality monitoring system are all great examples of engineering. It's all about solutions.

8. We love the great indoors.

"Environment" is another word that often leads potential winners astray. Your org may not address wildlife conservation issues, but have no fear--it may still be eligible. Our version of "environment" includes urban, suburban, rural areas and built spaces like buildings, workplaces, schools, campuses, etc. Past programs have engaged youth in zero waste initiatives in schools, designing sustainable cities of the future, and teaching environmental science and indigenous knowledge/culture, to name a few. Perhaps your program works with indoor air quality, noise pollution, or something we haven't even imagined yet. Bottom line: if you think there's a chance you qualify, apply.

7. Sleep on it.

You will be able to save your progress as you fill out the application, however, we recommend you craft answers in a Word or Google doc first. This will give you ample time and space to craft your answers, and make filling out the final application a breeze. After all, work only gets better after a sleep or two, right?

6. Learn by observation.

Past winners' applications are available for your review. These examples give a first-hand view of a successful submission.

5. If this is your first ULIEA submission, you don't know what you don't know yet.

Our sample application will help you start mentally preparing your submission today. And don't forget that our judging rubric shows how the judges will evaluate and score your application. Familiarizing yourself with both of these documents will be extremely helpful.

4. Results, results, results.

The most successful applications not only describe their program but explain why and how it's been successful. Organizations often provide qualitative data like data/numbers and qualitative data like teacher, parent, student or partner testimonials.

3. Time is on your side ... if you start early.

Most of our winners have shared that the application process can take many hours to complete. (I mean...the prizes are worth it, right?!) These orgs spend much of their time gathering quotes, testimonials, data and other evidential support. Be sure to review the 2017 application as soon as the submission window opens and create a plan to submit your application on time.

2. Who knows. You might love it.

This application is unlike most you've completed. There's a chance you'll really enjoy this process and learn new ways to think about and talk about your work--at least, that's what many past applicants have said. Even if you don't walk away with a cash prize, you will walk away with many intangible benefits and the knowledge that you're not alone in your work.

1.Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.

Your new motto: I'm doing really awesome work and I deserve recognition. It's true. We know you don't do this work for recognition, but that doesn't mean you don't deserve it. You're positively impacting future generations and the long-term health of our planet. These are NO SMALL THINGS! The application may take some time, but you deserve to go for it. Past winners often confide that they almost didn't apply or almost missed the deadline. Thank goodness they didn't!