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Details on the 2020 Constellation Prize Award Process

The Constellation Prize was established to shine a light on the work of engineers who are reimagining engineering and recognizing the valuable role we can play as engineers in the broader challenges of  environmental protection, social justice, human rights, and peace.  It is in this spirit that rather than single out any one accomplishment, the founders have chosen to celebrate those nominees who exemplify their commitment to the planet and humanity through thoughtful collaborations with the communities committed to these ideals.


The first criteria we looked at was whether the nominee(s)’ initiative was US-based.  While we appreciate the remarkable work that US engineers are doing around the world, our motivation behind the Constellation Prize was to pay more attention to the work in these areas being done domestically.  All engineering initiatives that were determined to be domestic were then rated across the following criteria: 


  • Generative - to reimagine engineering, with greater orientation towards environmental protection, social justice, human rights, and peace, we celebrate the importance of generative design and implementation to ensure iterative adaptation.

  • Community-driven - we believe that engineers must become more embedded in the contexts the solutions reside, driven by the community’s needs and implemented through collective action.

  • Pushing boundaries - we recognize that there are many boundaries in the way of engineers playing a more deliberate role in efforts to bring about environmental protection, social justice, human rights, and peaceful changes.  We celebrate those able to push past those boundaries.

  • Inspiring others - our hope is that through this prize we can elevate the awareness of engineers who have reimagined their roles and can inspire others.  We considered how inspired we are with the work, as well as how inspirational it has been for others, especially those within the communities they are engaged in.

  • Collaborative - we celebrate those engineers who recognize the limitations of their technical solutions in broader environmental and societal context and have chosen to embrace a collaborative rather than dominant role.

  • Promotion of ideals - while we appreciate those who are committed to the ideals of the Constellation Prize, we believe promotion of these ideals through the work is an important part of reimagining engineering and celebrate those engineers who include the promotion of their ideals in the process.

  • Sustained impact - by looking at accomplishments rather than proposed solutions, we were able to assess its sustainability and celebrate lasting solutions that also have the potential to be expanded and adapted beyond the targeted beneficiaries. 


It is through these criteria that our awardees were selected.  We were blown away by how many of the nominees were driven by these same criteria.  Take a look at the Constellation Prize award recipients and you will see the evidence. 

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