Now Open for Applications: Ocean Innovation Prize

The Blue Climate Initiative (BCI) is welcoming applications from innovators and entrepreneurs for the global US$1 Million Ocean Innovation Prize. The Prize is designed to inspire, fund and support innovations that mitigate climate change through ocean-related strategies. The deadline for applications is September 15, 2021.

Apply now


The Prize is presented by BCI as part of an endorsed programme of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, and is designed to advance the goals of the Ocean Decade and the Sustainable Development Goals. The Prize is presented in collaboration with the Sustainable Ocean Alliance.

What we’re looking for

The Ocean Innovation Prize (OIP) will be awarded for market-based innovation that addresses climate change mitigation through human-centered, ocean-related solutions, inspired by the Blue Climate Initiative’s 40+ Transformational Opportunities. The proposals must incorporate an innovative technology, practice, model, approach or idea that is capable of being scaled to have an impact on climate change. Applicants can represent a for-profit, non-profit, an individual or a group of collaborators. Commercial viability and scale potential can be demonstrated through products/services for consumers, for businesses, for governments or for other entities. The BCI takes a holistic view of “innovation” -- a new or under-used technology, practice, model, approach or idea -- and “science” -- evidence-based knowledge encompassing a broad range of areas including, for example, biology, engineering, chemistry, social sciences, etc. The offering must have proof of concept or early momentum and must be able to be implemented within 1 year, achieve results within 1-3 years, be co-designed or co-delivered by knowledge generators and users, and be designed to scale within 2-4 years.

What you can win

Approximately 16 semi-finalists will receive:

  • Visibility - featured on BCI and collaborator social media & website, and in media/materials for the 2022 BCI Summit
  • Match making - virtual access to BCI and collaborator networks of investors, business executives, members of the media, scientists, foundation representatives and community leaders.
  • Mentoring and expertise - informal access to BCI network for advice and support

3-8 winners will receive all of the above, and in addition:

  • Monetary reward: a minimum of $1M in money split among the winners (for the purpose of accelerating and deepening impact of the innovation submitted); which will range from $150-$400k per winner. Pending expansion of the prize purse through fundraising, the number of winners and/or the amount per winner may be increased.
  • BCI Summit engagement - Invitation to attend the 2022 BCI Summit in person, including showcasing and networking opportunities.

Who is eligible to enter

Applicants are encouraged to apply as a business/organization represented by a member of their leadership team. Alternatively, an individual or set of collaborators may apply on their own where they provide a credible plan for scaling and commercializing the innovation. The prize is global; applicants can be from anywhere in the world -- including and especially Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries. The BCI will put emphasis on diversity and equity in its promotion and selection, including race, gender, generational, and geographic diversity.

For innovations offered via a business/organization, that entity must:

  • Offer a commercially viable innovation, whether from within a for-profit business or a non-profit organization
  • Be in good standing under applicable laws

The key individuals involved in the innovation must:

  • Be 18+ years of age as of date of application
  • Have no criminal record related to corruption, tax evasion, financial impropriety, felony or other offence
  • gree, if selected as a semi-finalist or winner, to nominate one or more representatives to participate in competition processes to the extent possible (interviews, public events and promotion, Summit engagement)

Selection criteria

All proposed innovations must demonstrate a direct contribution to climate change mitigation or they will not be considered. Applications will then be judged according to six criteria: impact potential, innovation, profitability and scalability, capacity & feasibility, alignment with Ocean Innovation Prize (OIP) principles, and the value of OIP support to the innovation and its team. Judges will also take into account a diversity consideration to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion across the portfolio of semi-finalists and winners.

Application deadline and Prize timeline

  • Prize competition launch: June 28 2021
  • Application deadline: Sept 15, 2021 at 23:59 PDT
  • Announcement of semi-finalists: Nov 2021
  • Announcement of winners: Jan 2022
  • Winners engagement in BCI Summit & other benefits: 2022

Apply now


The OIP is guided by the following principles, and will be awarded to candidates who demonstrate them:

  • Diversity, equity and inclusion: The team and its innovation reflect diverse expertise and lived experience, and are designed to enhance equity and inclusion
  • Co-design: The innovation and its implementation reflect co-design with knowledge generators, users, and communities, including incorporation of indigenous and local knowledge as relevant
  • Scientific integrity: Innovation and solutions developed are based on the best and most relevant scientific knowledge. The work of scientists, and scientists themselves, are reflected.

For any questions about the Prize, contact Jeanne Everett: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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