Recognizing Innovative E-STEM Programs that Power a Sustainable Tomorrow: The UL Innovative Education Award

This one-of-a-kind recognition program enables nonprofit organizations performing critical, inspiring work in environmentally-focused STEM fields.

Award seeks to further environmental efforts and spark the interest of tomorrow’s scientists

The UL Innovative Education Award is a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to invest up to $250,000 annually in environmental and STEM education, sustainable communities and youth empowerment. The recognition awards look to increase the impact of existing innovative non-profit programs that use the Environment as a pathway to STEM Learning (E-STEM).

Through the UL Innovative Education Award, UL invests in the critical work of non-profit organizations across the U.S. and Canada that are leading the way to inspire a passion for STEM education in young people through a focus on designing solutions to environmental problems. The award program, designed in collaboration with the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), empowers the next generation of leaders to connect with the natural world, develop science-based, sustainable solutions for local communities and nurture a capacity for social responsibility.

Making the environmental connection to STEM

Studying and helping the environment and the world around us is a proven strategy to engage students in learning about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). This approach, referred to as E-STEM, is critical for developing solutions to complex modern problems and lies at the heart of the UL Innovative Education Award. This award recognizes and encourages E-STEM programs that emphasize critical thinking and problem-solving as it applies to urgent environmental issues for youth.  

Environment in the context of the UL Innovative Education Award is defined broadly, including urban, suburban and rural areas, as well as built spaces (such as buildings, workplaces, schools, campuses, etc.). Programs showcased through this award delve into the relationships between the environment and local communities. When thinking of environment, these programs look beyond habitat or species conservation; they champion engineering and design solutions to current day environmental challenges.

“The UL Innovation Education Award matters because we have a chance to shine a spotlight on these outstanding organizations,” says Cara Gizzi, Vice President of UL Education and Outreach. “They are innovating the way we teach our kids, the way we are engaging kids in the environment, and by supporting this work we are creating a more sustainable future.”

As an important element of the award program, UL employees work with the award recipients by lending their expertise in areas of science, technology, engineering and math. By collaborating with the ULIEA winners, UL and these highly regarded organizations can elevate STEM learning, encourage citizenship and social responsibility, and work together towards identifying and solving environmental challenges.

Relevant Resources

RESOURCE #1: UL Innovative Education Award

Fast Facts

  • The UL Innovative Education Award is a collaboration between UL and the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) recognizing outstanding not for profit organizations focused on E-STEM programming.
  • Not-for-profit organizations in the U.S. and Canada are eligible.
  • Five winning organizations are selected each year to receive monetary recognition awards.