Ocean Data Challenge 2022 for Startups & Social Enterprises

Deadline: November 13, 2022

Applications for the Ocean Data Challenge 2022 are now open. This challenge calls for startups and social enterprises that leverage and/or contribute to the global ocean data ecosystem and which demonstrate the applications for ocean data to boost ocean conservation and promote the sustainable blue economy.

Solutions must fall under one (or more) of the following focus areas:

  • Innovations in data collection: New sensors or data gathering products that improve existing data programmes or illuminate parts of the ocean or ocean processes that are currently understudied / unknown/opaque
  • Commercial uses for public/open data resources: Start-ups that use public data in novel ways and demonstrate the value of making publicly funded data open and accessible
  • Community-level data/data designed to drive decisions: Solutions that are co-designed with end users and connect the information to decision making, including community/citizen science, participatory science, or Indigenous data collection
  • Advanced ocean data analytics: AI and machine-learning to improve ocean monitoring, fill data gaps, improve data interoperability and access, or address other information challenges


The best submissions are recognised as “Top Innovators” and invited to join the UpLink Innovation Network Programme, facilitated by Friends of Ocean Action & World Economic Forum and partners to help scale and advance their impact.

It will offer:​

  • Visibility through the World Economic Forum media and social media platforms​
  • Access to Friends of Ocean Action, World Economic Forum and Partners events​
  • Connection to networks, organizations, companies, and funding opportunities​
  • Capacity and community building sessions, the programme objective is to help the Top Innovators gain visibility, attract partners and funding to scale their solution, and ultimately to accelerate their impact.


  • Successful submissions must be beyond the ideation or prototype phase, with a measurable track record towards impact and scale. Current UpLink Top Innovators are primarily in the pilot to growth/scale phase of their operations.
  • Priority is given to for-profit start-up companies or social enterprises with a sustainable funding model. Not-for-profit organizations with a clearly defined, revenue generating project may also be considered.
  • Innovations must demonstrate the potential and desire to scale, and have a vision for achieving long-term financial viability, impact, and sustainability.
  • Innovations led by women and/or Indigenous groups are strongly encouraged.

Selection Criteria

Submissions will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Financially viable business model: Solutions need to demonstrate a sustainable business model and approach to revenue.
  • Governance & team: Solutions should have a legal entity attached to the project or technology, and have a diverse leadership team with the right capacity and skill set to deliver on the project’s mission.
  • Traction: The extent other organizations have been willing to demo, partner with, invest in, or otherwise support this solution.
  • Socio-ecological considerations: Submissions should at minimum adhere to the “do no harm” principle for environmental and community impact. In addition, submissions will have considered, as applicable, the impacts of their technology or data usage on the relevant community(ies) or party(ies) affected. They expect top solutions to include community engagement and/or be led by communities themselves. In the context of this challenge, that could include providing discounted or free access to technology, data, data products, capacity-building, or analyses for frontline ocean communities.
  • Addressing a need or gap in the ocean data ecosystem: Solutions need to have demonstrated that their technology, methodology or output is unique, contributes to the global ocean data ecosystem and ultimately expands the understanding of the ocean.
  • Measurement and standards verification: Solutions should demonstrate a clear impact monitoring and evaluation framework. The metrics and indicators should be tracked transparently, relevant robust standards are referenced and applied, and/or independent credentialing and third-party verification received.​
  • Compatibility with FAIR data principles: Implementation of FAIR data principles within a company can enable better business practices and allow for efficient and effective data sharing, both with customers and across the broader data ecosystem. They encourage submitters to describe how they are implementing FAIR principles and/or managing data licensing and sharing.


Click here to apply

For more information, visit Ocean Data Challenge.

By Bello

Ismail Bello is a content creator and enthusiast who is passionate about youth development.