Judging and Prizes






When can I sign up?

Interested students may signup at ANY time after March 1, 2016 and before March 31, 2016 at 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time.


How do I sign up?

Fill out your profile and invite your team members via the competition portal (link here) by March 31, 2016.


Can I sign up if I have an existing idea?

Yes, but the idea must be yours.


Eligibility and Teams


Who is eligible?

University students (undergraduate, graduate, masters or PhD) from any country and who are older than 18 and enrolled in a degree-seeking program at an accredited university are eligible to participate in the Vertical Farming Innovation Award 2016.


Do my team members have to attend the same university?

No, however we strongly encourage you to find team members who are located near you so that you can gather on a regular basis to work on the design concept.


How many teams can enter from each university?

There is no limit to how many teams can sign up from each university.


How many team members can I have?

Teams should be composed of 3-5 members, with the option of up to 2 official advisors. Each team will need to have a team leader. This is the person to create the account on the competition portal and invite team members.


Can I participate as an individual?

Teams must have a minimum of 3 members in order to be eligible to participate.


How do I find team members?


There are lots of ways to find other interested students to participate in the competition with you. Below are just a few ideas:


  • Ask your department head or a professor of a relevant subject to send out an email to all of his or her students
  • Host an informal dinner and invite attendees to participate in the competition with you
  • Post flyers with your contact information around campus
  • Ask around! Start by contacting friends and colleagues at your university to find out who you know who is interested in the topic
  • Contact the leaders of relevant student groups to find out if they’d let you present the opportunity at one of their meetings
  • Post your interest in forming a team on the Association for Vertical Farming Facebook page.


Finding a team can seem challenging, but time and time again, a good team has proven to be an incredibly rewarding experience.

Judging and Prizes


Teams will be judged on the overall design of their conceptual vertical farm. Teams will need to demonstrate their design and the associated justifications, through filling out a series of questions in seven key areas, as listed in the table below. These areas do not include materials submitted in the milestone sections, which will not be looked at by the judges for consideration. Each of these areas will be judged on overall validity, clarity, and creativity of the answers through a simple point system. The top three teams with the highest points (out of 60, with 5 bonus will win the prizes based on their ranking (team with the highest points will get the 1st Place Prize, team with the second highest points will get the 2nd Place Prize, and team with the third highest score will get the 3rd Place Prize). The seven key areas, their considerations, and the associated point value are as follows:



Are the milestones mandatory?

No. While they are optional, they are a highly recommended exercises to practice for the final submission, and potentially serve as a tiebreaker in the event of a draw.


Where do I submit the deliverables for milestones?

Via the competition portal.


Some of the milestone deliverables are shared with the public—do I have to share them with the public?

No. At the beginning of the competition, we will ask student teams to sign a media consent form, granting us the rights to use your milestone materials in marketing. If you permit, then we will use the materials, mainly the graphic ones, for outreach and educational purposes as needed and with your consent.


How do milestones apply to my selection as a finalist?

Besides serving as a tie-breaker in a draw, they do not affect your final score.




Are webinars mandatory?

No, but they are highly recommended. Webinars will be conducted by experts in the field, and will provide insight on the topic of the week, the milestone, and the eventual final submission.


How can I access webinars?

Check back here in March for more details, but you can expect to be able to access. First webinar is scheduled April 1, 2016.




How do I submit my final entry?

Via the competition portal. More details of this process will be shared after sign up.


What is the timeline for the competition?

Here you can find the timeline.


What will I be required to submit?

Please review the final submission section of the competition on the competition portal for more specific information on what to submit for the final submission.


Can we submit more than one pitch?



What if my none of team members cannot attend the event in June to pitch our idea?

Then we will ask your team to put together a video presentation to be presented.