34 shortlisted for Zayed Future Energy Prize

The 10th Zayed Future Energy Prize saw a record number of entries compared to previous years, with 34 finalists shortlisted earlier this week, according to officials.

They said the "enthusiastic response" was due to the prize and previous winners getting international attention and acclaim.

There has been a record 2,296 entries this year - a 37 per cent rise compared to 2016. Dr Ibrahim M. Babelli, Saudi Arabia's acting deputy minister for sectoral development, ministry of economy and planning and a selection committee member with the Zayed Prize for the fourth year, said the award contributes to advancing the field of renewable energy and sustainability in many ways.

 "Firstly, it recognises those who have truly achieved results, assists those who are in the midst of a project, and encourages those who are on a path of achievement," Dr Babelli told Khaleej Times. What impact has the prize had in the implementation of renewable energy?

 "First, it has attracted various industries and thought leaders around the world. Former recipients of the prize command a lot of respect and a following among people interested in the field of sustainable development. Second, the reward has propelled winners of high schools, small and medium enterprises and non-profit organisations across the world to higher levels of achievement in sustainable development. It is heartening to see that the quality of entries remained high despite the increase in numbers. 

 "In fact, we have seen SMEs and NPOs that have been around for years are now keen to participate in the Prize. Beyond securing funding, they ultimately believe that it will help them secure credibility" Babelli noted the "real impact" can be seen by giving people the ability to start businesses or doors to employment - bettering lives within different communities across the world. 

He added: "It has garnered awareness among various industries and thought-leaders around the world. Former recipients of the prize command a lot of respect and a following among people interested in the field of sustainable development."

Various factors were taken into consideration during the fourstage evaluation process. "There are four main evaluation criteria: impact, innovation, leadership and long-term vision. We also review each entry against a set of finer descriptions of each criterion and within the broader context. We look at their impact on the industry and community, and how much of their work and effort support sustainable development. "We distinguish between those who have dedicated time, energy and investments into research and development for renewable energy and sustainable development, and those who came across this field and are making strides in this sector. "For example, the Lifetime Achievement award winner, Ashok Gadgil, has worked tirelessly with students to create the Berkeley-Darfur Stove to minimise women refugees' exposure to danger from having to collect firewood in South Darfur, Sudan," Babelli added.

The finalists will now be discussed during a meeting of the prize's Jury next week. 

ashwani@khaleejtimes.com

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