Throughout history, talented scientists and innovators have helped to move humanity forward. As modern changes in our environment threaten our livelihood, communities and the natural world, education—particularly STEM (science, engineering, technology and math) education—is a shining hope.

In recognition of our world’s changing needs, UL and the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), a leader in environmental education, announced the UL Innovative Education Award, a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to invest $250,000 in environmental and STEM education, sustainable communities and youth empowerment.

“At UL, we take great pride in our reputation as a champion for progress, and this new program is a natural extension of that,” said Barbara Guthrie, vice president and chief public safety officer at UL
“The UL Innovative Education Award addresses the clear need to prioritize STEM and environmental education for our future leaders to innovate, address new problems and create new solutions. Together with our program partners at NAAEE, we will select and invest in those who are driving this cause forward, as well as provide mentorship opportunities with our employees.”

Through the UL Innovative Education Award, UL will invest in the critical work of nonprofit 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 the environment. The program, designed in collaboration with trusted experts from NAAEE, will empower our next generation of leaders to connect with the natural world, develop science-based sustainability solutions for local communities and nurture a capacity for social responsibility.

“Our research shows that hands-on education about the environment is the ideal way to engage with kids because of its unparalleled ability to inspire interest and build skills in science, technology, and engineering with a focus on systems thinking,” said Christiane Maertens, deputy director at NAAEE. “The UL Innovative Education Award was designed based on our latest findings and will get an enormous boost with the support of such a trusted, independent, scientifically sound and forward-thinking company as UL.”

Qualifying nonprofit organizations will be judged by a panel of environmental, science, research and technical experts. Judging criteria will include:

• The use of research and investigation to advance science learning;

• Promotion of social responsibility

• STEM applications to tackle real environmental problems

In addition to recognition grants, UL employees, including science, engineering and technical experts, will work directly with the selected organizations to provide expertise, resources and volunteer hours to help further their efforts in E-STEM education.