We award grants to three winners and six runners-up each year with locally delivered capacity-building programmes and peer-to-peer mentoring facilitated by our Advisory Panel.

Awards categories.

We recognise that nature restoration takes a variety of forms – from traditional land stewardship to innovative technological solutions. As such, The Iris Prize rewards new ideas and established projects, hoping to overcome the circumstantial barriers that too often prevent young people from being able to advocate for nature-related change.

The Seed Prize


Awarded for a new idea, not yet established.
Ages 14-24

The Stem Prize


Awarded for an existing project, established on a small scale.
Ages 16-24

The Iris Prize


Awarded for an established project, with the potential to replicate and scale.
Ages 16-24

How to apply.

Applications open March 1st – April 30th, 2024

Our global network of nominating partners helps us identify candidates for the Iris Prize. They have been carefully selected to ensure we reach as many potential applicants as possible, and include environmental, youth, indigenous and education-focused organisations and NGOs. If you would like to join our nominating partner network, please get in touch:

Each year, our team and Advisory Panel create a shortlist of applicants for each prize, which is then reviewed by our Judging Panel who select the winners. You can find out more information about them below.

  • James Thornton

    Environmental Lawyer and Writer

  • Aliza Ayaz

    United Nations Goodwill Ambassador

  • Afroz Shah

    Environmental Activist and Lawyer

  • Melati Wijsen

    Changemaker and Movement Builder

  • Kate Rothschild

    Iris' Mother, Environmental Philanthropist & Music Industry Executive

  • Wanjira Mathai

    Vice President and Regional Director for Africa at the World Resources Institute

  • Elizabeth Wathuti

    Environmentalist and Climate Activist

  • Dr Enric Sala

    National Geographic Explorer in Residence


Got questions about the Prize or how to apply? Here are the answers to some of our frequently asked questions.

Can I print-out the application form and fill it in offline?

Yes, you can. A PDF version of the form can be downloaded in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Arabic (coming soon).

We will consider any project for the Iris Prize which supports our core principles; namely championing the protection and restoration of nature, and rights of those working to defend it. We recognise that nature restoration takes a variety of forms – from traditional land stewardship, to innovative technological solutions. As such, the Iris Prize will look to reward new ideas and established projects, hoping to overcome the circumstantial barriers that too often prevent young people from being able to advocate for nature-related change.

Provided you fulfil our awards criteria, you are eligible to apply for an Iris Prize. You can either fill out an application yourself or ask a nominating partner to support you to do so. Go to our website’s ‘How to Apply’ section to learn more.

Young people are at the centre of a global movement calling for urgent action to address the climate and ecological emergency. While this movement has brought hope to many, we recognise that young people must be more effectively compensated for their efforts, with less than 1% of institutional climate funding being directed towards youth-led projects. They are being given all the responsibility for “saving the world” but reap none of the rewards. The Iris Project hopes to address this through the provision of grant funding and mentorship that can harness young people’s potential whilst rewarding them financially for their work.


We believe that the protection and restoration of nature should form a central part of any strategy seeking to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Whilst this should not be treated as an alternative solution to the rapid and urgent decarbonisation of the global economy, we recognise the multitude of benefits that locally-led nature restoration can bring, especially when approaches are grounded in justice, equity and inclusion.

Building someone’s ability to deliver on the objectives of their project. All prize winners will receive individualised capacity-building support, helping them maximise their project impact; this could take the form of anything from media training to financial support for our prize winners’ families to enable them to spend more time on their projects. All winners and runners-up are invited to join the youth-led CoalitionWILD 6-month Leadership Development accelerator programme. 

We do not want language to become a barrier to prize funding. As such we accept applications in any language and have translated the application form into Spanish, French, Arabic and Portuguese. We also accept both audio and written submissions.

Our thorough selection process involves meticulous reviews of applications against our eligibility and scoring criteria. The Advisory Panel and The Iris Project team collaborate in small groups to ensure a comprehensive and unbiased assessment for each prize category. They nominate five to seven outstanding projects, creating a shortlist of twenty initiatives for evaluation by our expert Judging Panel. After the Judging Panel’s verdict, the Advisory Panel and The Iris Project collaborate for final decisions, prioritising thematic and geographical diversity among award-winning projects. Shortlisted candidates must provide two references for added validation to enhance transparency and credibility.
Iris Prize 2024

Applications are now open.