The idea behind the award

Europe shall become a circular economy. This is the goal that has been announced by the European Parliament, which has passed the EU Circular Economy Package on April 18th this year stating that we want to reduce the use of natural resources. We want to keep resources in the loop for as long as possible while creating jobs and prosperity.

The most important resource to achieve a circular economy is innovation. How can we fundamentally reduce our use of natural resources and reduce waste while adding value? This is the main question we want to address with the ARA Circular Innovation Award 2018.

Through our events at the ARA Innovation Space we met countless motivated and creative young minds from various backgrounds who are working on innovative ideas and we would like to support and reward the ideas with the most impact in advancing a circular economy in Austria and the EU.

Who can participate?

The Award is aimed at start ups, innovators, researchers, students, businesses and entrepreneurs, with innovative ideas, business plans, market products, visions, solutions or achievements.

Are you working on an idea, a business model or a finished product which can support a circular economy by fundamentally reducing the use of our natural resources or reduce waste by keeping used materials in the loop?

Then you can apply to win the ARA Circular Innovation Award in one of the following 3 categories:

Category A – Circular Idea Design

This category is for thinkers, visionaries and dreamers. To apply for this category all you need is a truly innovative idea. Your idea should potentially have a wide-reaching impact on our resource consumption and/or waste production. For this category, you are still at the very beginning of your endeavour, hence be fearless and dare to think out of the box!

To apply for this category, you need to send us:

  • your CV
  • a video (max. 3 minutes) of you describing the idea
  • A vision paper (5-10 pages): A paper in which you describe the problem you want to tackle, how you want to tackle it and what the world would look like if your idea were to be implemented on a large scale.

Category B – Circular Business Design

Circular Business Models (CBM) disrupt the production and consumption patterns we are used to by making use of collaboration among all actors along the value chain. CBM further replace products through services and minimize the use of natural resources during production of products and services. The lifespan of products is prolonged through repair and the material loop is closed through recycling,

To apply for this category, you will need to send us:

  • your CV
  • a short description of the main goals of your business model (250 words)
  • an actual business plan including areas of applicability and potential for reduction in resource consumption

Category C- Circular Product Design

This category is for all the makers amongst you. Have you designed and produced a product that is marketable and more sustainable than existing solutions? Are you creating value while also minimising waste and resource use and thus benefiting our economy and environment at the same time? But you feel like you still need a small kick to really go big? Then this category is where you should apply!

To apply for this category, you need to send us:

  • your CV
  • a sample of your product
  • a description of your product (2-5 pages) including motivation, material composition, resource savings and market potential

Your innovation, whether an idea, a business model or a product, should be in one of the following fields:

  • construction and infrastructure
  • packaging
  • textile and fibre

Evaluation Criteria

All applicants are free to choose the design and layout of their documents. All content requirements should be fulfilled.

The jury will evaluate all applications based on the following criteria:

  • Degree of innovation
  • Relevance and Impact
  • Implementability
  • Scalability (Uniqueness vs. Applicability)


Application Deadline:                                   July 3rd 2018

Announcing finalists:                                   July 27th 2018

Pitch Training Session for Finalists:       Mid August 2018

Presentations and Award Night:            September 7th 2018

Post Awards Exhibitions:                           September 2018

The Process

Our jury will screen through all the applications between July 3rd and July 27th. On July 27th 3 finalists per category will be announced – a total of 9 finalists.

All 9 finalists are eligible for a pitch traning taking place in August in preparation for the final Award night on September 7th.

On September 7th all finalists will hold a 3 minute pitch in front of a big audience at the ARA Innovation Space in residence at the Angewandte Innovation Lab in Vienna. The winner of each category will be chosen by the jury.

Furthermore there will be a vote before the audience to pick THE project with the best applicable idea on a european scale for a special prize.

The Prize

  • All 9 finalists win a pitch training and get the chance to pitch their innovation in front of a wide audience (including social media coverage) in August
  • The winner of each category gets the chance to exhibit their innovation as part of our September Exhibition „Let’s circulate” at the ARA Innovation Space
  • The winner of each category gets prize money of 1.000 Euro.
  • The winner of each category will be featured in our final movie project which will be shown at the „Bringing the Action Plan to Life: Towards a fact based circular economy” EU conference including a wide range of international guests from academia and the EU
  • The best applicable idea on a EU-wide scale will receive the chance to pitch their idea to a high-ranked EU environmental politician at a meeting in Brussels (including flight, hotel and meals).

To participate, all documents have to be sent to by July 3rd 2018.

We are looking forward to receiving your application!

Conditions of participation for the ARA Circular Innovation Award 2018

AIS GDPR for participants at ARA Circular Innovation Award 2018

A project by Altstoff Recycling Austria for “25 years ARA”
In co-operation with the Vienna University of Applied Arts and the Vienna University of Technology
Piaristengasse 8, 1080 Vienna