Ten Across is launching a new student competition designed to inspire the development of new and innovative solutions to address the impacts of extreme heat in poor and underserved communities in the Ten Across region. Five teams will be selected to present their solutions to a panel of expert judges. The winning team solution will receive a $100K prize: $25K to go to the student team’s institution and an additional $75K grant to prototype the solution. The remaining four finalist teams will each receive $10K.

This competition is made possible through the generous sponsorship of the Clean Cooling Collaborative, a philanthropic initiative of the ClimateWorks Foundation, working to create a future with efficient, climate-friendly cooling for all.

The Context: Adapting to a Hotter Future

The most recent UN IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report highlights a troubling heat trajectory—the planet is getting hotter and disadvantaged communities are being hardest hit. Recent analysis from First Street Foundation predicts an “extreme heat belt” may form in the US by 2053 with 107 million Americans seeing temperatures above 125-degree Fahrenheit. In some cases, populated areas will become virtually unlivable while others will continue to experience and adapt to more intense and frequent heat waves with poorer and underserved communities being impacted the most.

This scenario is playing out most profoundly along the United States’ southernmost region—the Ten Across U.S. I-10 corridor. A region that provides a through-line to some of the fastest-growing, most diverse, and now hottest cities, suburbs, and rural communities in the U.S. This is an area where affordable, clean, and equitable cooling solutions are urgently needed now and for the future.

The Challenge: A Need for Innovative and Scalable Solutions

As record breaking heatwaves become the new normal, energy intensive air conditioning has become a go-to solution not only in this country, but in others who are following our model. However, this option is out of reach for many who lack the financial resources to pay for these mechanical systems to keep their homes cool or who don’t have the luxury of a stable dwelling arrangement. 

Ironically, current cooling technologies are major contributors to climate change making it imperative that alternative, affordable, and scalable solutions be developed to meet the needs of a hotter planet. Whether mechanical, passive, or policy driven, new options need to be responsive to local conditions and communities where creative thinking and adaptive problem solving will be required.

To meet this challenge, Ten Across is hosting a competition to addresses the issue of needed clean cooling solutions, leveraging this selected geography, to foster innovative and viable solutions. In the process, the goal is also to encourage the exchange of ideas to generate a greater sense of community and common purpose around the challenges before us.

Who Can Apply

Student teams of 3-5 students with an identified faculty lead from colleges and universities residing within the 8-state U.S. I-10 transect region are invited to participate in the competition. Student teams must bring together different study areas, skillsets, and perspectives to insure a comprehensive approach to the challenge. Teams will also be required to identify a community or institutional partner to work/consult with to inform responses and be prepared to help implement the solution if a prize is awarded.

Awards and Recognition

This is an ideas competition but one with an intent to implement the winning solution. All entries will be available on the competition website with five finalists selected from the submissions.

All finalist teams will be invited to present their presentation to a jury of topic experts.

The winning university/college team will receive $100K. $25K will go directly to the team’s college or university to disperse as each institution feels appropriate and an additional $75K grant to prototype/test the solution in partnership with the identified non-profit community. All finalist teams’ university/college will receive $10K.


Below is a high-level timeline to assist with planning. Note dates are subject to change.

  • Competition Announced – April 2023
  • Competition Launches – September 5, 2023
  • Intent to Apply Deadline – November 15, 2023
  • Application Deadline – January 31, 2024
  • Finalists Announced – February 14, 2024
  • Pitch Presentations – March 7, 2024
  • 10X Prize Winning Team Announced – March 8, 2024
  • Prototype and Testing Executed – March – December 2024

More Details to Come

Details regarding competition requirements, deadlines, submission, and evaluation criteria will be available in early September.

To receive updates and deadline reminders please submit the form below.

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For questions regarding the competition please contact Rae Ulrich.

Competition Sponsors

The competition is offered in partnership with the Ten Across Initiative and the ClimateWorks Foundation Clean Cooling Collaborative.

The Clean Cooling Collaborative is a philanthropic initiative of ClimateWorks Foundation that is working to create a future with efficient, climate-friendly cooling for all. A philanthropic initiative of ClimateWorks Foundation launched in 2017 as the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP), Clean Cooling Collaborative focuses on making cooling more sustainable and accessible.

Both organizations share an ongoing commitment to supporting and raising interest among young entrepreneurs to envision and create scalable solutions to address the world’s most pressing climate challenge.