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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

Ocean Observing Prize

Seeking innovators to integrate marine renewable energy with ocean observation platforms, ultimately revolutionizing our capability to collect oceanographic data.

Department of Energy

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $3,125,000
Type of Challenge: Ideation, Technology demonstration/hardware
Partner Agencies | Federal: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Submission Start: 11/14/2019 ET
Submission End: 02/12/2020 11:59 PM ET


The Ocean Observing Prize is a first of its kind innovation challenge jointly-led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Integrated Ocean Observing System program. The Prize encourages innovation within five thematic areas believed to be most relevant to the needs of stakeholders in both marine energy and ocean observation through a series of competitions over several years. The novel solutions that emerge from these competitions will benefit numerous stakeholders in the ocean economy and contribute to a better understanding of the ocean environment. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are supporting DOE and NOAA on the development and administration of this prize.

Key Dates:

  • Submission Open: November 14, 2019
  • Submission Close: February 12, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET
  • Judging and Review Period: Anticipated February 12 – March 5, 2020
  • Winner Notification: Anticipated March 20, 2020
  • Winner Announcement and Awards: Anticipated March 26, 2020

Note: Any dates you include in the above categories will appear in a graphic timeline at the top of the “Overview” tab. This timeline is automatic and cannot be hidden.


  • Explorer Prizes (DISCOVER Competition): The Explorer Prizes are awarded to the top-ranked submissions across all themes. Up to 10 Explorer Prizes will be awarded at up to $10,000 each. Some themes may have multiple winners, or none at all.
  • Nautilus Grand Prize (DISCOVER Competition): The Nautilus Grand Prize winner will be awarded to the single highest-scoring submission and receive a $25,000 award.
  • DEVELOP Competition: The DEVELOP Competition will narrow in on a subset of the themes and offer up to $3 million in prizes to competitors who successfully design, build, and test their systems through a series of contests.


The rules for the Ocean Observing Prize can be found here:

Judging Criteria

Please review the official rules for the judging criteria here:

How To Enter

Competitors can enter on the HeroX platform: