How to Participate

Design for regeneration. Design for people, planet and prosperity. Cumulus GREEN 2020: For a New Circular Economy calls on all Cumulus students to submit their best work to help us achieve SDG 12 and foster a circular economy.

Participation means a chance to be recognized by the international community with a prize or honorary mention, the public showcase of your work, and travel to the Cumulus Conference in Rome in June 2021.


Submission Categories

Cumulus GREEN 2020 wants to encourage innovative solutions that relate to one or more of the following 3 categories:


Projects that illustrate how artifacts (products, communications, interactions, etc.) can embody responsible production and consumption and circular economy principles.


Projects that organize and improve the quality and interactions of human experiences in a circular economy context. Services may focus on one or more of the following: people, infrastructure, institutions and communications.


Projects that utilize design research and strategy to showcase multi-component elements that are interconnected and integrated solutions for the circular economy. Projects in this category may have widespread applications that rely on a wide range of formats and design disciplines.

*This diagram is informed by Richard Buchanan’s Four Orders of Design framework. See: Richard Buchanan (1992). “Wicked problems in design thinking,” Design issues, 8 (2), 5-21.


Entry Expectations

The jury will be looking to reward submissions that represent the best work according to the following criteria: 

These three lenses are critical in all good design and are often referred to as “the trifecta of innovation.”

Desirable: how can we create an experience that is truly human-centered and answers to the needs and aspirations of its intended audience?

Feasible: what do we need to do in order to make the project happen? What are the variables we must take into account for the project to become a reality?

Viable: how might you show that the solution is linked to a sustainable business model?

A well-researched submission clearly describes the problem, stakeholders, purpose and proposes a solution that is contextually grounded and well informed.

Creativity is key. We want to see new ideas with the potential for true impact.


Participation Eligibility

Who can submit?

The competition is open to students from Cumulus member institutions in all disciplines in art, design and media who are pursuing either a Bachelor level or Master level program. Member institutions must have registered in the competition for students to be eligible to participate. Click here to find out if your Institution is registered

Students that are currently enrolled in Cumulus member institutions or students who have graduated in 2018–2019 and/or are graduating in 2019–2020 are eligible to participate.

There is no limitation in the number of submissions per institution, and there is no cost to submit.

**Institutions are encouraged to consider having their own pre-selection system.

Entries must be comprised of work that is original; individuals and/or teams must hold the Intellectual Property for their submissions and have the right to enter and publish the submitted work.

Deadline for submissions is January 31st, 2020, by Midnight (12:00 am), Helsinki, Finland. Check your time zone here.

Where might submissions come from?

Submissions can consist of curricular and non-curricular projects and may include ideas developed as part of an academic assignment or course. Submissions can also consist of a project sponsored or developed with an external partner such as a private company, NGO, non-profit organization, or community organization. Submission entries may include work conceived at a date prior to the Cumulus GREEN 2020 competition.

Individual and Team Submissions Accepted

Students may enter as individuals or as part of a multidisciplinary team (there is no limit to the number of members in the team).

Mentorship and Collaboration with external institutions and/or organizations

Students and teams are encouraged to seek academic and professional mentorship/advisement. Submissions may include students from non-Cumulus organizations. However, the lead entrant must come from a Cumulus member institution.

What assets do I need to submit with my entry?

Please refer to the submission pdf form for detailed instructions.

Students are invited to submit up to 1 individual project. They can also submit 1 team project for a total of 2 projects entered in the competition.


Awards and Exhibition

Cumulus GREEN 2020: For A New Circular Economy is a chance for the next generation of committed designers in the Cumulus network to be recognized by all Cumulus members on an international stage. The competition will reward the best work with 3 different categories of prizes as well as with honorary mentions.

Please note that the 3 prize categories of winning submissions will not necessarily correspond to the 3 formats invited (products, services and systems). This means that the Cumulus GREEN 2020 jury will decide amongst the strongest submissions and evaluate entries first and foremost based on the criteria for submissions outlined (see entry expectations section).

Winning submissions will be unveiled in April 2020 and an online exhibition will showcase the best projects and honorary entries.

A live Cumulus GREEN 2020 ceremony will be postponed and shall take place during the Cumulus Conference Roma 2021: Design Culture(s) at Sapienza University of Rome in June 2021.

Winners in all 3 prize categories will be expected to attend the Rome celebrations. In addition, winners will be highlighted in the Cumulus and competition websites and published through Cumulus social media platforms, gaining many opportunities to see their designs showcased to a worldwide audience.

1st Prize

5000 €


Travel grant / Conference admission



2nd Prize

3000 €


Travel grant / Conference admission



3rd Prize

2000 €


Travel grant / Conference admission



Honorable Mentions



Travel Grant and Participation Support

Cumulus GREEN 2020 Winners in all 3 categories will receive the following support to facilitate their participation: a travel grant of 500 € to cover partial transportation and accommodations in Rome and a conference registration waiver with free admission to all Cumulus Conference sessions and related events.

In the case of winning teams, a maximum of 3 travel grants and 3 registration waivers will be awarded.

See Competition Participation Regulations for more information about the terms of participation.




Register your Institution by
October 15, 2019 here

Jury Announcement

September 2019

Competition Website Portal

Opens September 2019

Submission Due

January 31, 2020

Jury Deliberations

February–March, 2020

Notifications to Winners

By the end of April, 2020

Award Ceremony

Cumulus Conference
Roma 2021: Design Culture(s)
June 2021