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Call for Entries

Cook Stove Design Competition

Winners will be announced in early November.

NEW DEADLINE: August 30, 2013

The Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management is accepting submissions for its “Cook Stove Design Competition.”  This competition seeks out-of-the-box, innovative design ideas for cook stoves targeting low-income households in emerging markets.  Designers, engineers and innovators from around the world are invited to submit ideas that may shape the features and design of clean cook stoves based on kerosene or biofuels through either iterations of existing technology or entirely new designs.


In emerging countries, many low-income households do not have access to affordable means to make everyday activities convenient and sustainable. Cooking is no exception. Since electricity and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) are not yet available to many of these households, many families still rely on fuels such as kerosene, firewood, and dung. Despite the recent spread of locally available, cheap cook stoves, products are plagued by efficiency and performance issues which results in increased cooking costs, health-related issues and useless stoves.

In an attempt to advance progress in cook stoves, leading Japanese kerosene-stove manufacturer TOYOTOMI is seeking to promote innovations that result in cleaner, more reliable and affordable products.  Thus the Cook Stove Design Competition (CSDC) has been created to elicit human-centered, innovative and inspiring design ideas that can be brought to market in low-income, emerging market communities.

Criteria:  Submissions will be evaluated on the following:

  1. Applicability
    1. Societal issue cook stove solves
    2. Ability to integrate the cook stove into daily life
    3. Feasibility of producing the cook stove at a low price point
  2. Functionality
    1. Ease of operation
    2. Durability (i.e. materials used)
    3. Reliability
  3. Aesthetics
    1. Visually appealing
    2. Innovative
    3. Simplicity


  • All proposals must be written in English
  • Designs must be for cook stoves based on liquid fuels (kerosene or biofuels)
  • Each design entry should be presented as a single digital file in PDF format whose maximum size is 15MB
  • Submissions must include the following:
    1. Cover page containing:
      1. Concept Title
      2. Contributor name(s)
      3. Contact information for each participant, including email and phone number  
    2. Problem statement and proposed solution
      1. A short written explanation of the specific problem or limitation the submitted concept addresses; how your concept improves the quality of life and experience of its users; how your concept is different than other solutions in the marketplace; and the geographic location where your concept would be used.
      2. Limited to 500 words
      3. Footnoted references for facts or statistics
    3. Concept description
      1. A short written explanation describing how the concept works; its main functions; how it is made; materials used; and other important information to describe your concept.
      2. Limited to 500 words
      3. Footnoted references for facts or statistics
    4. Visual design (images, diagrams, illustrations, photos, sketch, or any visual representation of your concept).  Your visual must include call-outs that highlight how your concept meets the criteria: Applicable; Functional; and Aesthetics.
  • Submissions may be made by individuals or teams
  • There is no limit to the number of submissions that can be made by an individual or team, but each idea must be submitted separately
  • All designs submitted must be the original work of the contributor(s). If work has been published previously, it should be noted in the submission.
  • Illegible, unintelligible, inappropriate or incomplete submissions will not be considered

Awards: Winning submissions will be notified on or about October 1st, 2013.  Award winners will be asked to submit a short biography and photo to be used for publicity purposes by the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise and TOYOTOMI. Awards, sponsored by TOYOTOMI, will be given for:

1st Place          

  • $3,000 USD

2nd Place   

  • $2, 000 USD

3rd Place    

  • $1,000 USD

Deadline: Extended to Midnight, Eastern Daylight Time, August 30, 2013.

Eligibility: This competition is open to individuals and teams over the age of 18 at the time of submission. There are no professional or geographic restrictions however the contest is VOID in nations, states or provinces where prohibited or restricted by US or local law.  Contest is subject to applicable state, federal and local laws and regulations. This competition should be of particular interest to those engaged in product design, innovation, industrial engineering, engineering, social entrepreneurship, and international/sustainable development.

Submission Process: Submissions should be made online or by mail (post marked no later than July 26, 2013) to:

Cook Stove Design Competition
Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise
Cornell University
253 Sage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853

Inquiries: Please direct inquiries to CSGE@johnson.cornell.edu with the subject line “Cook Stove Design Competition Inquiry.” 

Disclaimer: All entries become the property of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University and Toyotomi. Entries may be reprinted or referenced in online and print publications and may influence future product designs and research. Submitters maintain the right to further develop their ideas.