The Marine Plastics Innovation Challenge Opens to University Students

UN Competition Encourages Student Innovations to Tackle Plastic Wastes in the Ocean

UN Environment and Think Beyond Plastic, an innovation accelerator organisation, have launched a worldwide innovation challenge for university students to fight plastic waste in oceans.

Plastic sandwich baggy floating in the water column. Fish that feed on various salps, jelly-fish, etc. mistake such trash for food and can ingest this with fatal consequences. Credit: NOAA.

Image © U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

UN Environment and Think Beyond Plastic, an  innovation accelerator organisation, have launched a worldwide innovation challenge for university students to fight plastic waste in oceans.

UN Environment said that entries have opened the ‘world’s first’ student competition to find the next generation of solutions to the global problem of marine litter.

The Marine Plastics Innovation Challenge invites university students worldwide to submit fresh ideas in the fields of engineering, communications, economics and data modelling.

The organisation noted that each year 8 million tonnes of waste plastic end up in the oceans, threatening the survival of fish and other sea creatures, destroying marine and coastal ecosystems that support over three billion people worldwide, and endangers human health by entering the food chain.

Deadline for entries is 6 October 2017. To participate, students need to be enrolled in a graduate or postgraduate programme as of June 2017, be supported by a faculty member, and submit an entry in one or more of the following categories:

  • Engineering and Design:  including innovations in materials, manufacturing processes, packaging design and related fields that result in a measurable reduction in marine plastic.
  • Communication: including multimedia products, mobile apps, and innovative storytelling that raise awareness and inspire public action against marine plastics.
  • Economics: including innovative methodologies to assess the economic impact of plastic pollution and/or develop new financial and business models to address market failures.
  • Prediction and Recovery: including the development of analytical tools (algorithms, models, hotspot identification) to better capture and monitor data about plastic pollution and propose solutions.

One winner in each category will be announced at the Sixth International Marine Debris Conference in San Diego, California, which will run from March 12 to 16, 2018. Winners will have the chance to present their ideas at the conference and gain entry into the Think Beyond Plastic annual acceleration programme, which provides mentoring and support to help make the winning ideas commercially viable.

Winners to attend the Sixth International Marine Debris Conference in San Diego, California and receive free mentorship to help them develop their ideas.

For more information on how to enter click HERE

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