National Geographic has awarded FIT’s Team AlgiKnit $25,000 to develop a groundbreaking, sustainable textile. A panel composed of a scientist, an agriculturalist, and other experts selected the project from among thousands of game-changing ideas for first place in the Sustainable Planet category of NatGeo’s Chasing Genius Challenge. (The two other categories were Global Health and Feeding 9 Billion; there was also a People’s Choice Award.) The new fabric is composed in part of a seaweed called kelp, one of the world’s most rapidly renewing resources. Team AlgiKnit won the 2016 Biodesign Challenge for an earlier iteration of the idea.
“AlgiKnit is honored and excited … to have the opportunity to contribute to a sustainable future,” writes Asta Skocir, associate professor, Fashion Design, who worked on the project with students and other faculty. “With so many great ideas submitted, we are also very humbled by this win.