Hack the Planet Competition Offers a GBP 10,000 Prize for Solutions to the World’s most Pressing Ocean Challenges

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Hack the planet competition

To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, the Commonwealth Secretariat and Satellite Applications Catapult launched the first-ever Hack the Planet competition in search of innovative, impactful and scalable ideas to tackle the threats facing communities around the world, linked to ocean degradation and the climate crisis. 

The virtual ideas competition will advance outstanding home-grown solutions from across 54 Commonwealth countries, targeting some of the world’s most pressing ocean-related challenges, such as eliminating plastic pollution, accelerating sustainable energy uptake, climate change, developing sustainable approaches for the ocean economy and protecting nature in marine areas. 

With GBP 10,000 in prize money to be won, the competition will encourage entrants to utilise and explore the information and connectivity available from satellites as part of their ideas. 

Announcing the initiative, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said, “I am therefore encouraged by the sheer range of possibilities this competition will open up to identify new and improved ideas on how to address ocean sustainability. We look forward to receiving ideas from individuals, teams, and organisations from across our regions, which we could then support and amplify globally.”

Lucy Edge, Chief Operating Officer at the Satellite Applications Catapult, added that “We are very excited to launch Hack the Planet today and look forward to the innovative ideas we will see from around the world. Satellites provide a unique view of our planet Earth – they are vital for meaningful monitoring and mitigation of the effects of climate change and will be an important part of any solution looking at the world’s oceans. It is a wonderful and rare opportunity for people around the Commonwealth to come together and develop innovative ideas into world-changing concepts that take significant and measurable steps towards solving some of the world’s biggest ocean challenges.”

An official launch event held virtually on April 22, 2021. The deadline for online submissions is May 31, 2021. The theme of the competition is closely aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 14 (ocean), 13 (climate) and 7 (energy).

Specific examples of issues that could be addressed include those covered by the Commonwealth Blue Charter: marine plastic pollution, coral reef protection and restoration, mangrove ecosystems and livelihoods, marine protected areas, ocean acidification, ocean and climate change, ocean observations, sustainable aquaculture and sustainable coastal fisheries.

In the second phase of the competition, 30 shortlisted teams will be invited to participate in a knowledge exchange programme to learn about satellite technologies and elements of design thinking that could support their ideas and hone these into robust, compelling pitches. The training and support provided during the knowledge exchange programme will be precious. They will support participants to improve their ideas with the help of a wide variety of industry experts.

Six finalists will be selected to pitch their ideas live in front of a panel of judges. The winner of the competition will receive GBP 10,000, and the announcement of the results will take place at a final showcase event in October 14, 2021. 

Competition Highlights

  • April 22, 2021 – Competition opens for entries with a live-streamed event
  •  June 21, 2021 – Announcement of shortlisted entries
  •  July 1 – August 31, 2021 – Delivery of Knowledge Exchange programme for shortlisted entrants, including training and mentorship from a range of technical and investment experts
  • September 22, 2021 – Finalists announced
  • October 14, 2021 – Final pitch event and winners announced

For any interview requests or if you are unable to attend the event at this time and would like to watch the recording, please get in touch via hacktheplanet@outsourcedevents.com.