For a New Circular Economy

Call for Entries

The Cumulus International Association of Universities and Colleges in Art, Design and Media is pleased to announce the international student competition CUMULUS GREEN 2020: For a New Circular Economy.

Building on the legacy of the Cumulus Green Award and the Kyoto Design Declaration, Cumulus invites member institutions to address the interdependent challenges presented by The United Nations Sustainable Goals (SDGs) with a specific focus on SDG #12, Responsible Production and Consumption. The topic of SDG #12 is closely linked to the concept of a circular economy.

A circular economy is one that is restorative and regenerative by design. The Cumulus global community is uniquely positioned to make a circular economy a reality through the talent, diversity and creativity of its student body.

Cumulus invites the participation of students from its member institutions to put forward submissions that demonstrate the power of design and creative solutions to help humankind transition to a circular economy, one that ensures sustainable consumption and production patterns, and does “more and better with less.”

Why SDG #12 and the Circular Economy?
We know that design is integral in the shift to the circular economy. We have a great imperative to rethink the design of products, services and systems that contribute less waste, can be regenerative and add value to our planet’s ecosystem. The objective of CUMULUS GREEN 2020: For a New Circular Economy is to recognize, showcase and promote the best design ideas and projects that embody the principles and aims of SDG #12 through the Cumulus educational global network.


How to Participate


CUMULUS GREEN 2020: For a New Circular Economy is a multidisciplinary competition administered by the Cumulus Secretariat for design ideas and projects that address the goals and principles of SDG #12 for sustainable production and consumption and embody circular economy aims.

Entries that provide reflective insights about their envisioned and/or realized impact and the strategic and business dimensions of their designs related to SDG#12 and the circular economy are particularly encouraged.


Student participation in the competition is through their home institution which must be a Cumulus member.

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.

The competition is open to students that either are currently enrolled in Cumulus member institutions or for students who have graduated in 2018-2019 or are graduating during the 2019–2020 academic year.

Students may enter as individuals or as part of a multidisciplinary team (there is no limit to the size of the team). Their submissions may be part of a sponsored project with an external partner (corporate or non-profit).

The Cumulus member institution must have their membership in good standing to be eligible for participation.

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 or authority to enter and publish the work entered. Submission entries may include work conceived at a date prior to the Cumulus Green 2020 competition.


The participation in the competition requires that Cumulus members pre-register for participation. The submission will require both visual material and a written statement of 500 words. All entries must be in English.

Entries or files that do not meet the entry criteria as in the competition rules will not be conveyed to the jury. Entrants retain ownership of all ideas and materials/images presented.


A multidisciplinary panel of international experts from Cumulus members and external organizations will be selecting the winning entries. In addition, the jury will reserve the right to decide on the number of honorable mentions that may be granted to deserving entries.



The winning submissions will be exhibited during the Cumulus Conference Roma 2020: Design Culture(s) on June 16-19, 2020 hosted in Rome, Italy by Sapienza University of Rome.

Award ceremony
Prizes and certificates will be awarded to the selected student(s) and presented during the competition’s award ceremony in conjunction with the Cumulus Conference Roma 2020: Design Culture(s). At least one student representative (if team submission) of each winning category will be expected to participate in the awards ceremony and to attend the exhibition and Cumulus conference.

Winning submissions (either individual or team-based) will be recognized with a monetary prize and a certificate; honorable mentions will be recognized with a certificate. Academic mentors, external team partners and honorable mention awardees are invited to attend the award ceremony and Cumulus Conference.


Travel grant and conference registration waivers to Cumulus Roma 2020
Cumulus will support the three (1st, 2nd and 3rd) winning prizes as follows:

  1. Travel grant Students in all prize categories will receive a travel grant (stipend) of 500 €. A maximum of three students per winning team qualify for the stipend. This stipend per person must be used towards flights and lodging during the Cumulus conference
  2. Conference registration waivers Cumulus Roma 2020 Students in all prize categories will receive free admission to the conference


Note: Cumulus member institutions and/or external partners participating in the competition are encouraged to further support travel expenses for winning student(s).


Pre-Selection by Home Institution
Cumulus members are encouraged to coordinate internally and conduct their own pre-selection and verification of eligibility for all competition entries. Member institutions are invited to submit as many entries per institution that they deem competitive within the guidelines and objectives of the competition.

The competition submission portal will open in September 2019 and close by 31 January 2020. By submitting, the participants agree to follow the rules of the competition. To be formally considered by the competition jury, all submissions will require to have been carried out via the competition submission site. Submission are at no cost.

Note: Cumulus new members joining the association at its General Assembly taking place in the Cumulus Rovaniemi conference in May 2019 are also welcomed to join after Rovaniemi by the deadline.


Context and Supplementary Resources

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and SDG #12 The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, are the set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] adopted in 2015 by the UN’s assembly of nation states, to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) established in 2000. Considered a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, the SDGs address the interconnected global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. More information about the UN SDGs:

While the SDGs provide a critical underpinning framework for the competition, the focus of this edition of CUMULUS Green is SDG #12:

The Circular Economy
Use UN SDG 12 reference as above. Other sources

About Cumulus and Cumulus Green
Cumulus is the only global association representing art, design and media education and research worldwide. The Kyoto Design Declaration signed in March 2008 is a statement of commitment, by the members of Cumulus to sharing the global responsibility for building sustainable, human-centered, creative societies. This is an agenda that has been foundational to Cumulus since its inception in 1990. Cumulus Green is an international design award of Cumulus focused on cultivating and leading global cultures, societies and industries towards more ecological and responsible solutions as a direct consequence of Kyoto Design Declaration. The establishment of the Cumulus Green award was a commitment of all member institutions towards global responsibility, human-centered design methods and solutions, improving quality of life, creating optimism for the future and improving economic, social and cultural benefits for all people around the world. It was active for the first time in 2009 as a student competition and has been going on since then.

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