Ocean innovation challenge

Simon Hilbourne

The Ocean Innovation Challenge (OIC) is a unique new mechanism that has been designed to accelerate progress on SDG14 by the identifying, financing, advising and mentoring of truly innovative, entrepreneurial and creative approaches to ocean and coastal restoration and protection that sustains livelihoods and advances the ‘blue economy’. The OIC seeks innovations that are transferable, replicable and scalable in order to achieve maximum catalytic impact. The first call for applications opens on 8 January 2020.

The goal of OIC is to accelerate progress on SDG14 by catalysing replicable and scalable innovations – including technical, policy, economic and financial – that can be sustained and contribute directly to delivery of one or more SDG14 targets.

The Ocean Innovation Challenge is issuing a series of ‘Ocean Challenges’ or Requests for Proposals, each focused on a specific SDG14 target. Initial concepts may be submitted by public or private entities, including governments, private companies (including start-ups), NGO/CSO, United Nations entities, academic institutions, and intergovernmental organizations.

Concepts passing initial review and meeting OIC criteria will be invited to submit full proposals for further internal and external (“peer”) review and consideration. Grants range from 50,000 USD to 250,000 USD and project time frames can range from one to two years. Project proposals must be implemented in and benefit stakeholders in developing countries but may be submitted by applicants in either developing or developed countries. All proposals should include a special focus on ensuring gender equity, livelihoods of the poor and poverty eradication.

The first ‘Ocean Challenge’, focused on solutions to Ocean Pollution, opens here on 8 January 2020.

The application process is in 3 stages:

  1. Starting 8 January 2020, interested applicants should submit their preliminary proposal here no later than 5 March 2020. Early applications are encouraged.
  2. In April 2020, successful applicants to the first round will be invited to submit a more detailed project proposal before 25 April 2020.
  3. OIC Award-winners will be announced at the 2nd UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, 2-6 June 2020.

Proposals can be submitted by

  • Governments
  • Private entities (including start-ups)
  • NGOs
  • CSOs
  • Academic institutions
  • United Nations and other intergovernmental organizations

Read more on the Ocean Innovation Challenge website

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