Harvard University's Graduate School of Design will announce today the launch of the Wheelwright Prize, an expansion of a traveling fellowship that enabled such architects as Paul Rudolph and I.M. Pei to study architecture outside the U.S. at formative points in their career. The winner of the Wheelwright Prize, who will be named on May 15, 2013, will receive a $100,000 award.

The prize is an extension of the Arthur W. Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship, an annual award established in 1935 for GSD alum. Eliot Noyes, John Haro, Rudolph, Pei, and others received support as alumni architects through the fellowship. The new Wheelwright Prize broadens the scope of that fellowship, making it a global prize available to early-career architects anywhere in the world who want to do research outside their home countries. 

Applicants must have received a degree in architecture from an accredited institution within the last 15 years, so architects who graduated prior to 1998 are ineligible to apply. This restriction—along with the size of the $100,000 cash award, which rivals the Pritzker Prize—is intended to spur innovative research at the early stage of an architect's professional career. 

"The GSD is a truly global design school, based at one of the leading research universities in the world, GSD dean Mohsen Mostafavi says. "It is clear that today's fluid movement of people and ideas necessitates new approaches towards the understanding of architecture and urbanization. I am excited that in the coming years the Wheelwright Fellowship will be able to have a significant impact on the intellectual projects of young architects and, in turn, on the future of architecture and the built environment."

The Wheelwright Prize organizing committee comprises Mostafavi, GSD associate dean Benjamin Prosky, Michael Hays, and Jorge Silvetti. Applications for the inaugural award will be accepted from Jan. 10 to Feb. 28. An international jury will review the applications.