Ocean Data Challenge for Start-ups and Social Enterprises

Startups and social enterprises are encouraged to participate in this challenge. If they can demonstrate how ocean data applications may help to advance ocean conservation and the sustainable blue economy. (Ocean Data Challenge for Start-ups and Social Enterprises)

Although more than 80% of the ocean has not yet been mapped. New technologies, data processing, sensors, and satellites may change how we understand and interact with the ocean. For a sustainable ocean future, we need to make decisions that are informed by research and data. This calls for breakthroughs in data collection, analysis, and communication. By connecting ocean data from throughout the world. We can more easily match problems with solutions and move faster toward sustainability.

There is a rising need for fast and accurate ocean data of all kinds. Businesses in the blue economy require data to lower their emissions, for site developments, and to assess their effects. Countries striving to achieve the 100% target set by the High-Level Panel on a Sustainable Ocean Economy. In order to promote integrated ocean management and to make wise choices about the use of ocean resources, sustainable oceans need data.

The UN Ocean Decade (the “UN Ocean Decade”) advocates for the development of a global ocean data ecosystem. That will link private sector, nonprofit, and governmental data sources. Public spending on ocean monitoring programs produces data that has made trillions of dollars in value available to companies in all industries.

Scaling the ocean data ecosystem involves more than just gathering and analyzing data, though. Building a strong ocean data ecosystem continues to be difficult due to data accessibility issues. Therefore, if possible, data development should follow the FAIR data principles: findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable. The UN Ocean Decade in general and the ocean data ecosystem specifically depend on “open data” and “open science.”

This UpLink challenge aims to advance the next generation of entrepreneurs in the ocean data ecosystem. By making previously inaccessible data accessible, turning open data into vital goods and services, or gathering and adding unique data and insights to our understanding of the ocean.

Focus Areas

The following focus areas, as well as the general scope outlined above, must be met by eligible solutions:

A new approach to data collection

  • New sensors or data collection tools that enhance current data programs or shed light on aspects of the ocean or ocean processes that are presently unstudied, unidentified, or opaque
    Using public and open data resources for business
  • Startups that demonstrate the value of making publicly financed data open and accessible and use public data in creative ways
    data collected at the local level or data used to inform choices
  • Solutions that connect information to decision-making and are co-designed with end users, such as community/citizen science, participatory science, or indigenous data collection
    advanced analytics for ocean data
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance ocean monitoring, bridge data gaps, increase data availability and interoperability or handle other information difficulties

What are we trying to find?

  • Type: Submissions that are accepted must be past the concept or prototype stage and have a demonstrable history of effect and size. The majority of the current UpLink Top Innovators’ operations are in the pilot to growth / scale phase.
  • Stage: For-profit startups or social enterprises with a sustainable funding plan are given priority. Non-profit groups with a well-defined, money-generating project may also be taken into consideration.
  • Scale: Innovations need to show that they have the potential and desire to grow, as well as a long-term plan for achieving sustainability, impact, and financial viability.

Submissions will be evaluated based on the following standards:

  • Solutions must show that they have a sustainable business strategy and a method of generating income. It demonstrates the degree to which the project either has a vision and a plan for reaching financial viability and sustainable revenue sources, or has both. Those that provide investable opportunities for investors or altruistic funders are strongly preferred.
  • Governance & team: Solutions should have a legal entity associated with the project or technology, as well as a leadership team that is both diverse* and equipped with the necessary resources and expertise to carry out the project’s objectives.
  • The degree to which other organizations have shown interest in this solution, whether through demonstration, collaboration, investment, or other means.
  • Socio-ecological considerations: Submissions should, at the very least, follow the “do no damage” maxim with regard to their effects on the environment and the community. Submissions will also have taken into account, as appropriate, how their technology or data usage will affect the relevant community(ies) or party(ies) affected. Top solutions should involve community involvement and/or be driven by local communities. That might entail giving frontline ocean communities access to technology, data, data products, capacity-building, or analyses at a reduced or no cost in the context of this challenge.
  • Addressing a need or gap in the ocean data ecosystem requires solutions to have shown that their technology, methodology, or output is distinctive, contributes to the ocean data ecosystem globally, and ultimately advances our understanding of the ocean.
  • Verification of measurement and standards: Solutions should show a clear framework for impact monitoring and evaluation. Transparent tracking of the metrics and indicators, application of pertinent, robust standards, and/or receipt of independent certification and third-party verification are all recommended. Conformity to the FAIR data principles. The application of FAIR data principles within an organization can promote improved business procedures and enable effective and efficient data exchange. Both with clients and within the larger data ecosystem. We invite submitters to explain how they are handling data licensing and sharing and/or putting FAIR principles into practice. It is highly recommended that women and/or Indigenous groups lead innovation.

Why Apply?

  • The top entries are recognized as “Top Innovators,” and they are invited to join the UpLink Innovation Network Programme. which is run by Friends of Ocean Action, the World Economic Forum, and partners. This will help them scale up and expand their impact. It will provide: ​
  • visibility via the World Economic Forum’s media channels and social media
  • activities hosted by Friends of Ocean Action, the World Economic Forum, and partners
  • Access to networks, businesses, organizations, and financing opportunities
  • The program’s goal is to assist the Top Innovators in gaining attention, luring partners and money to scale their solution, and ultimately accelerating their impact. This is done through capacity and community-building workshops.

5 October: Launch of challenge at the Economist Impact’s World Ocean Tech and Innovation Summit

5 October – 13 November: Open call for submissions

13 November – 16 January: Review and selection process

16-20 January [TBD]: Announcement of winning cohort during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023

To and for more information about about Ocean Data Challenge for Start-ups and Social Enterprises CLICK HERE

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