Global Call for Nominations

Grinnell College is accepting nominations from across the globe for the 2019 Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize. The College awards the $100,000 Grinnell Prize annually to individuals who show creativity, commitment, and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change.

Individuals and organizations are encouraged to nominate someone who is:

  • A change-maker working on the cutting edge of social innovation;
  • A leader who collaborates to co-create solutions to pressing social justice issues;
  • A visionary who is tackling immediate challenges while also addressing related systemic issues; and
  • A mentor who inspires the next generation of social innovators

The Grinnell Prize is the largest award given by any U.S. college in recognition of social justice. It reflects Grinnell’s commitment to exploring issues of purpose, responsibility, and justice and a historic mission to educate individuals "who are prepared in life and work to use their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good."

"The Grinnell Prize reflects our college’s longstanding commitment to educating individuals who will make the world a better place," says President Raynard S. Kington. "Our students benefit greatly from interacting with Grinnell Prize recipients in the classroom and in informal settings on campus."

Nominations are open to both U.S. citizens and nationals of other countries. Nominees must have earned a bachelor’s degree no more than 15 years prior to their nomination. No affiliation with Grinnell College is needed.

Find details about the prize and nomination process at Grinnell Prize. Any questions should be directed to the Center for Careers, Life, and Service, 641-269-4940.

Nominations are due by 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 8, 2018, and winners will be announced in May 2019. Winners will be awarded $100,000, with half presented to the individual and half to the individual’s organization.

2018 Grinnell Prize

The 2018 Grinnell Prize has been awarded to Mélanie Marcel, founder and CEO of SoScience. Based in France, SoScience brings together scientists and social entrepreneurs around the world to collaborate on research to solve global challenges.
Before founding SoScience, Marcel researched human-machines interfaces at NTT Basic Research Laboratories in Japan and then at the Brain and Spine Institute in France. In her work as a laboratory scientist, she realized that researchers most often conduct projects for which they can secure corporate or government funding, rather than projects that address community or environmental needs.
SoScience disrupts this system and creates a new model for driving research. “The point is that we are all together in this,” Marcel says. “We create, we make, a society. The choices that we make today will actually create the future of tomorrow.”  To date, SoScience has worked with more than 800 researchers and led five “Future of” conferences that unite groups of selected scientists and social innovators to collaboratively develop research projects that lead to the creation of innovative solutions to some of the world’s most intractable challenges.

Marcel will receive the prize during an awards ceremony at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 2, on the Grinnell campus. During Grinnell Prize Week, Oct. 1-4, students faculty, staff, and guests will interact with Marcel, learning how to facilitate collaboration, build partnerships, and spur systematic change. 

About Grinnell College

Since its founding in 1846, Grinnell has become one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges, enrolling 1,700 students from all 50 states and 44 countries. Grinnell's rigorous academic program emphasizes excellence in education for students in the liberal arts; the college offers the B.A. degree in a range of departments across the humanities, arts and sciences. Grinnell has a strong tradition of social responsibility and action, and self-governance and personal responsibility are key components of campus life. More information about Grinnell College is available at