Prize Objective

The Ocean Observing Prize seeks to contribute to the Powering the Blue Economy™ initiative by providing avenues for more efficient marine data collection. Funded collaboratively by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA’s) Integrated Ocean Observing System, this prize seeks to incentivize innovation of technology to further advance ocean exploration and data collection. Projects submitted seek to address end-user needs across five broad themes: 

  • Unmanned vehicles
  • Communications and underwater navigation
  • Extreme environments. 
  • Buoys, floats, and tags
  • Blue sea ideas (i.e., other novel themes not listed).


The Ocean Observing Prize totals $3 million in funding and consists of two contests, the DISCOVER and DEVELOP competitions. The DISCOVER Competition sought to engage with a wide variety of stakeholders and receive detailed concepts of ocean observing ideas. The selected projects from the DISCOVER Competition will move on to the DEVELOP Competition, where entrants will design, build, and test their prototypes.

EERE Selections

Funding Awardees

  • DISCOVER Competition winners: 
    • Nautilus Grand Prize: 
      • CalWave’s xNode: A Flexible Ocean Science Platform, CalWave Power Technologies Inc.
    • Explorer Prizes:
      • BlueLink, Virginia Tech
      • Green Power for Persistent Ocean Observing, Seatrec Inc
      • Halona WEC Mobile AUV Docking Station, University of Hawaii
      • Livewire: Wave Energy to Power Ocean Monitoring, Del Mar Oceanographic, LLC
      • Mission Unlimited UUV Station, Northrup Grumman
      • OCG-Data: A Smart and Clean Ocean Observer, Ocergy, Inc.
      • P.A.zolutions, University of Pittsburgh
      • Pulse of The Ocean, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      • The RIB WEC, Navatek LLC
      • Wave Powered Oceanographic Gliders, WaveVenture
  • DEVELOP Competition winners: 
    • To be determined