About the Challenge

"Socially-Responsible Design's Highest Award"

Each year, The Buckminster Fuller Institute invites scientists, entrepreneurs, planners, designers, architects, activists, artists, and students from all over the world to submit their innovative solutions to some of humanity’s most pressing problems. A $100,000 prize is awarded to support the development and implementation of one outstanding strategy.


Buckminster Fuller's prolific life of exploration, discovery, invention and teaching was driven by his intention "to make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through the spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

Fuller couples this intention with a pioneering approach aimed at solving complex problems. This approach, which he called "comprehensive anticipatory design science", combined an emphasis on individual initiative and integrity with whole systems thinking, scientific rigor, and faithful reliance on nature's underlying principles. The designs he is best know for (the geodesic dome, the Dymaxion house, car, map, and global electric grid) were part of a visionary strategy to redesign the inter-related systems of shelter, transportation and energy.

Fuller’s work embodies a deeply attuned ecological aesthetic. Fuller conceived and prototyped new strategies intended to enable all of humanity to live lives characterized by freedom, comfort and dignity without negatively impacting the earth’s ecosystems or regenerative ability. He emphasized that the technology and know-how already exist to successfully surmount our global challenges and advocated “doing more with less” by increasing the overall performance of every resource invested in a system.

After decades of tracking world resources, innovations in science and technology, and human needs, Fuller asserted that options exist to successfully surmount the crises of unprecedented scope and complexity facing all humanity — he issued a call for a creative design revolution to make the world work for all.

Answering this call is what the Fuller Challenge is all about.


Each year, a $100,000 prize is awarded to support the ongoing development and implementation of one outstanding design solution. The winning individual or team is celebrated at a Conferring Ceremony in New York City and, along with a check for $100,000, receives the prestigious OmniOculi award sculpture created for The Fuller Challenge by artist Tom Shannon.

The winners of the Challenge also receive all of the benefits of our Catalyst Program.

You may email [email protected] to express your interest in entering future Buckminster Fuller Challenge cycles. To receive updates about the program, please sign up for our monthly newsletter, Trimtab.


Winning the Fuller Challenge requires more than a stand-alone innovation that focuses on one aspect of a system failure. BFI looks for holistic strategies that demonstrate a clear grasp of the big-picture dynamics influencing successful interventions.

Selection Process

Check here for an overview of the Fuller Challenge annual cycle, information about the selection process, and information about entering the 2017 Fuller Challenge, including the 2017 Call for Proposals and Application Questions.

Catalyst Program

The Fuller Challenge offers more than a single financial award. In addition to the $100,000 grand prize, BFI leverages further resources for Finalists and Semi-finalists through relationships with our sponsors, partners and networks.

Recommend a Project

We are looking for visionary social and environmental solutions from across the globe to win $100,000. Do you know of a project that demonstrates comprehensive problem solving and anticipatory design? Please enter the project name and contact information here. Recommended projects will be contacted with an invitation to enter the 2017 Fuller Challenge.