Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some FAQ related to the Ross Prize for Cities. If your question is not answered here, please email


1. Who can apply or be nominated?

The application is open to a broad range of projects and applicants. See the Terms and Conditions.

2. How do I know if my project is transformative?

The Ross prize outlines three dimensions and five characteristics that are frequently found in transformative projects. The three dimensions of transformation are economic, environmental, and social. The five characteristics are transparency, inclusion, replicability, durability, and innovation. For additional information on these and for projects we view as transformative, please see our Additional Information page.

3. Does a project have to be ongoing to be considered?

No. A project must have been started and impacts of the initiative must be present prior to applying for the Ross Prize, but if the project timeline ends before the prize timeline it is a valid entry.

4. How does the Ross Prize define city?

Applicants can use local definitions of cities/urban areas.

5. What if I can’t receive money from a foreign entity?

We will make every effort to find a way to ensure winners receive the cash award. However, if it is not possible, the winner can designate another recipient.

6. Will there be an awards ceremony?

The Ross Prize for Cities will be awarded at the April 10, 2019 gala.

7. When and where is the gala?

The gala is April 10, 2019, and will take place at The Shed in Hudson Yards.

8. Who can attend the gala?

The finalists of the Ross prize will be invited to attend the gala. An all-expenses paid invitation will be extended to the winner of the Ross Prize for Cities.

9. What type of media coverage will apply?

Media coverage of projects will include highlighting the five finalists of the Ross prize. This will include, but is not limited to: blogs, video, photography, information on the Ross Prize website, social media coverage, and sharing throughout WRI networks. Media coverage of projects is subject to change.

10. Are there conditions to the prize money?

The prize is awarded as a lump sum and has no strings attached. See Terms and Conditions.

11. Is there a submission fee to apply?

No, there is no application fee.

12. What is the cutoff day for submissions?

The final day for application submissions is May 31, 2018 at 11:59pm EST.

13. What if our project is affiliated with a jury member?

Projects associated with jury members are welcome to apply. If these projects are selected as finalists to be assessed by the jurors, the jury member will be asked to recuse themselves.

14. Is there an advantage to being recommended by an advisory board member?

No, there is no advantage to being recommended by an advisory board member. Advisor recommendations are intended to help broaden the scope of projects that apply to the prize, not help select a winner.

15. Our project is ongoing. What if we anticipate impacts in different dimensions but they have yet to manifest? Can we apply using these future projections?

Ongoing projects are welcome to apply using their future impacts, providing these are clearly labeled as projections. If using projections/expected outcomes, it is necessary to outline risks to the success of the project. The review of the projects will focus exhisting tangible impacts, and additional information on other future impacts will be treated as additional information, but not central for selection of winners.

16. Can multiple applications be submitted for the same project?  There are multiple stakeholders associated with our project, what if we submit separate applications?

Yes, but if this occurs projects will be asked to combine their applications. We recommend contacting all project stakeholders before submitting your Ross Prize application.

17. If there are multiple stakeholders associated with our project, how do we navigate the prize money if we win?

See Terms and Conditions.

18. What is the selection process? Is there a secondary application?

When the application period closes, projects will be reviewed and top applicants will be contacted for additional interviews and relevant additional material. The five finalists will be selected by September 2018, when site visits and in-depth review will ensue. The winner will be selected by the jury in early 2019.

19. What is the timeline for the prize?

The timeline for the Ross Prize for Cities is as follows:

  1. Formal launch and call for application at World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur – February 11, 2018
  2. Project applications submitted by individual or nominator, rolling review performed by WRI network – 5 months (Feb - June 2018)
  3. Projects narrowed to five finalists – 4 months (July 2018 - October 2018)
  4. Jury packages for five finalists developed by project team with support from WRI – 4 months (November 2018 - February 2019)
  5. Jury reviews five finalists – 1 month (March 2019)
  6. Winner announced at gala in New York –April 10, 2019

20. How many finalists will be chosen?

Five finalists will be chosen.

21. Is there one winner or multiple?

There is one winner of the Ross Prize for Cities.

Application Specific

1. Can applications be submitted in languages other than English?

Yes, applications can also be submitted in specify ???

2. Can applications be saved and then continued?

No, they cannot. We recommend drafting your answers and then copying and pasting them into the application.

3. Can I edit my application once it has been submitted?

No, it is not possible to edit your application once it has been submitted. Please email if you realize something is amiss from your application.

4. Does the project need to address each of the three dimensions to be considered for the Ross prize?

No, the project does not need to address each of the three dimensions of transformative urban projects to be considered for the Ross prize. However, the strongest applicants will likely have aspects within each of the three.

5. Does the project need to address each of the five additional characteristics to be considered for the Ross prize?

No, the project does not need to address each of the five additional characteristics to be considered for the Ross prize. However, the strongest applicants will likely touch upon some or all of these characteristics.

6. Can I share media (photo, video, etc.) with my application?

Yes, there are opportunities to attach photographs and videos. There is also a space to share links to media/websites associated with your project.

7. Do you have examples of transformative urban projects?

Yes, please visit our Resources for Applicants page for examples and other helpful information.

Advisory Group

1. What are the responsibilities and time commitment expected from the advisors?

Responsibilities of advisors include:

  1. Details of up to three urban transformation projects by March 30, 2018
  2. Optional: introduce WRI team to the potential applicant.
  3. Providing a high-resolution image and brief bio to be featured on WRI's Ross Prize for Cities website
  4. The time commitment of advisors can vary widely based upon engagement with the recommendations.

2. How many projects can be nominated by one advisor?

Up to three projects can be nominated per advisor, although additional recommendations are accepted.

3. Where should I send my recommendations?

Please send all recommendations to

4. Is there a preferred format for recommendations?

No, there is not a preferred format for recommendations.

5. Can I nominate a project that I am affiliated with?

Yes, you are welcome to nominate a project you are affiliated with.

6. When is the cutoff date for project nominations?

The last date project nominations will be accepted is March 30th, 2018.

7. I would like to recommend a project but missed the nomination deadline. What should I do?

The application period for the prize is open until May 31st, 2018. If you have missed the nomination deadline, we recommend contacting the project stakeholders directly and inviting them to apply for the prize.

8. Is there additional time commitments for advisors after the nomination period?

No, there are no additional time commitments for advisors after the nomination period. Advisors will be invited to attend the April 2019 gala.

9. I know someone who would be a great addition to the advisory board. Are you seeking more members?

We welcome any recommendations of relevant additions to our advisory board. Please email with the suggestion, including contact information for the expert.

10. If a project I nominate wins, do I receive any sort of recognition?

Options here:

  1. Intimate cocktail reception for the winner of the Ross prize in NYC before/after gala. Could invite relevant advisors/all jurors. This would offer opportunity to more robustly toast the winner and recognize the advisor who recommended them.
  2. Advisor thanked on the website/media


1. What are the responsibilities and time commitment expected from the jury?

From January 2018 – April 2019, the jurors are asked for a time commitment of 11-13.5 hours, split between different phases of the prize. In addition to these hours, jurors are invited to attend the awards gala, held on April 10, 2019. The responsibilities and time commitment expected from the jury are outlined in detail in the juror handout.

2. What if a project I am affiliated with is nominated and selected as a top five finalist?

If a project you are affiliated with is selected as a top five finalist, the Ross Prize will have to ask you to step down from the jury to avoid a conflict of interest.

3. How will bias be avoided and clarity of the criteria of the projects be ensured?

The WRI Ross Prize has developed a definition of transformative urban projects, which includes three dimensions and five additional characteristics. In addition, jurors will be presented with packets for the five finalists, which include video,. PPT, and a brief on each project. Guidelines for assessment will be included with the packets.

4. What is the protocol in the event I am unable to fulfill my duties as a juror?

In the event you are unable to fulfill your duties as a juror, we ask you to recommend a replacement and let WRI know as soon as possible. See contract for additional detail.

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