Iowa State University Students’ Inventions Could Win Big

For Immediate Release:
September 20, 2021

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Ames, Iowa

Young scientists at Iowa State University once nabbed a PETA grant for designing a placenta-on-a-chip to replace the use of animals in poisoning tests—and now as the school year kicks off, PETA is offering a big, new incentive to this year’s class to get their thinking caps on. The group is seeking submissions from students for its Future Without Speciesism Cash Award, which comes with a prize of up to $10,000 for exciting innovations that could help end animal suffering, protect the planet for future generations, and improve human health.

To win, applicants must identify a way in which animals are still being subjected to speciesism—the archaic notion that all other species are inferior to humans and that it’s acceptable to exploit them—and come up with an action plan or a design for a marketable animal-free replacement. Other gold-star examples include University of Missouri researchers’ patented process now being used to create in vitro (test tube) chicken and their part in the development of the überpopular Beyond Meat as well as University of California–Berkeley students’ ongoing work to develop robots to replace dogs who spend their days guiding blind humans.

“Fantastic inventions for animals have come out of Iowa State University before, and PETA hopes to give a boost to the next students who have a lightbulb moment that will modernize an animal-using practice or industry,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “There’s no limit to the ideas that innovative young minds can come up with to help keep animals from becoming tacos, trinkets, test tubes, or anything else that denies them their right to be themselves.”

The award is open to all students around the world. It does not convey ownership rights to PETA or prevent applicants from patenting their inventions. Students can work in teams or individually. Prize amounts run from between $1,000 and $10,000 and will be determined by PETA based on the workability, practicality, and promise of the submissions. For more information and to apply, please click here.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way.” For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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