January 26, 2021

Announcing our 6th Annual Healthier Design Innovation Contest!

Are you a design activist creating innovative design while promoting equity? Are you using healthy materials and addressing climate change? Parsons Healthy Materials Lab is hosting the 6th annual Role Models Contest to award design innovations for material use that have no negative impact on the planet.

Does your work exemplify healthy material innovation and advocacy in design?

How are Winners Chosen?

We choose winners who exemplify innovation, use healthy materials or healthy strategies and/or advocate through design. Projects of all types, including theoretical, proposed and real, are eligible. Entries can include models, prototypes, artwork or visual media. Requirements include documentation of the design process through pictures, drawings or short videos, and an annotated life-cycle diagram summarizing the carbon impact of your design in order to understand how your design responds to the current global climate emergency.

$1,000 cash prize and social media coverage


Students currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree-seeking design program are eligible to enter. This includes students in all disciplines and continents. Group submissions are also accepted.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Monday May 17, 2021


We accept in-process and digital models (that might have been made in your kitchen) and/or any other evidence to support your final concept.

  • First and last name (If this is a group submission, please enter first and last names separated by a comma of all team members)

  • Name and location of your University

  • Faculty reference

  • Name of academic program you are enrolled in

  • Project title

  • A description of your motivation or inspiration (100 word limit)

  • A description of your process (100 word limit)

  • A description of market viability (100 word limit)

  • A description of all materials used, including any coatings and/or adhesives; plus evidence to support any claims of healthier materials (Why is your material innovation healthier?) (500 word limit)

  • Annotation of this diagram to reflect the lifecycle of your design. Consider the impact on human and environmental health at every stage.

  • At least 3 final project images (under 1MB). All images must be high resolution.

A maximum of 7 supporting images, videos, drawings and/or other means of demonstrating your process. All images must be high resolution.


Clear argument for positive human health impacts and environmental benefits: Record evidence to support claims of healthier materials.

Clear Motivation for Material Choices: Are the materials chosen because they are healthier alternatives to commonly used materials? Are the materials salvaged, recycled, or reused - closing the loop of their life cycle? Are they sourced locally or from sources that lower a typical carbon footprint?

Demonstration of Innovation and Future Thinking: Give details of your design process, describing why you made the choices that you did.

Demonstration of Carbon Impact: How well does your annotated diagram address planetary and human health at every stage of the product’s life-cycle? Do your design decisions reduce the impacts of carbon emissions and therefore slow down climate change?

Compelling Aesthetics: This is a design project. Considering health, the environment, and local and global ecologies improves creative design work. Your creative, healthy, and sustainable strategies should be communicated through equally beautiful models, prototypes, and/or physical design proposals. We look forward to seeing radical innovation that will proliferate, which depends upon unique and compelling aesthetics.


  • Use mechanical joinery or fasteners instead of glues or adhesives

  • Avoid potential toxics, including VOCs, flame retardants, stain repellent coatings, etc.

  • Use natural, salvaged, or recycled materials.


Personal information collected from this form will only be used for the purposes of this contest and will be deleted after the contest winners are announced.

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