Con X Tech Prize, Round 1: Oceans & Blue Sky

Bold Tech Ideas to solve Conservation’s Greatest Challenges! Bring your prototype to life with the Con X Tech Prize! $90,000 in grants
Closed for Entries

Con X Tech Prize Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Where can I submit questions about the Con X Tech Prize competition that I don’t see listed in this FAQ?

If you have other questions, concerns, or need for clarifications, you can do one of three things:

  1. Write to with any questions
  2. Message the Prize Leader, Cassie Hoffman, via her personal profile
  3. Leave a comment at the bottom of the Prize Overview using the posting tool

How do I enter an idea in the Con X Tech Prize competition?

To enter, Participants must submit a project application for their idea on the Digital Makerspace, create a project profile that is shared and viewable by DMS Members (registered users of the Digital Makerspace), and agree to the Official Rules on the Con X Tech Prize project submission page.

You may also submit existing projects on the Digital Makerspace via the Con X Tech Prize overview by clicking SUBMIT A PROJECT. You will be given the ability to select which existing project you would like to submit, and subsequently agree to the Official Rules via the Con X Tech Prize Submission page.

May I submit more than one submission?

Yes! You may submit more than one project as long as you complete all the submission requirements (completing a project application, creating a profile, providing supplementary information as requested by Conservation X Labs, etc.) for each project you’d wish to submit.

How much of my project profile will I be judged upon?

The entirety of your project profile, as well as additional information submitted as part of your project application and/or as requested by Conservation X Labs will be used to evaluate your submission – for both the first and second stage of the competition.

What is the conservation problem my team should try to solve?

There are two categories you can submit your project to – one is for ocean challenges, and you can respond to the 10 Grand Challenges for Ocean Conservation listed on the Challenges page of the Digital Makerspace.

OR – you can pick any conservation problem (really – any conservation problem!) that you have learned about, identified, observed, or are fretting about. Just be sure to start with the problem and understand it well before you design any solution. This will help ensure your proposed solution matches up with the size and scope of a real and tangible problem.

Why does my submission have to be shared with all registered members of the Digital Makerspace?

At Conservation X Labs, we believe that ideas and solutions can be improved through collaboration. The constructive feedback and input of individuals with different life and professional experiences and backgrounds can help Participants in the competition question some of the hypotheses and underlying assumptions of their proposed solution – before they go too far down a certain path.

We also think there is a lot of duplication of effort and reinventing of the (same damn ole’) wheel – combining forces can help surface the best ideas and make them stronger.

Who owns my idea? Will I maintain rights to my intellectual property?

All Participants maintain the intellectual property rights to their ideas. Note that promoting collaboration and sharing is a core goal of this idea competition, so (for example) a highly developed bench-tested product preparing for a provisional patent is not the ideal submission for this competition.

Of course, if you have specific concerns about the sharing and publicity requirements of this competition, please reach out to the Prize Leader or contact us at

I’m under 18, can I participate?

Unfortunately, at this time, we are not accepting entries or submissions from individuals under the age of 18. But we recognize there are a lot of really bright individuals under the age of 18 with great ideas, and we are working to make it possible for minors over the age of 13 to participate in the next round of the competition (of course, with parental consent).

Can I modify my project profile after submission?

Participants can modify their project application, project profile, and any supplemental materials as well as add or subtract Participants up until the submission deadline. So take advantage of the community on the Digital Makerspace to ask for feedback on your idea! And make it stronger!

What will project idea submissions be judged on?

In the first stage, each submission will be evaluated to what extent their project idea meets the following criteria:

  1. Transformative and Novel
  2. Impactful
  3. Financially Sustainable and Scalable
  4. Ecologically Sustainable
  5. Culturally Appropriate and Socially Responsible
  6. Feasible
  7. Interdisciplinary or Multidisciplinary

For more details and definitions for these criteria – please see the Prize Guidelines.


Con X Tech Prize: Hacking Extinction

Find Green

Validation Phase
Connecting green-minded people with green-practicing businesses through a 'Green Yelp'.


Validation Phase
Building a data-driven digital detection tool to help screen containerized cargo for illegal or unwanted wildlife parts, products or derivatives. Playing the needle in the haystack game.


Cassie Ann Hoffman [2352]
Product Manager
Conservation X Labs

First Stage Judges - Oceans

Jake Hanft [35]
Program Manager
Schmidt Marine
San Francisco, United States
Shah Selbe [6]
Los Angeles, United States
Andrew Thaler [18]
Blackbeard Biologic
Saint Michaels, United States
Barbara Martinez [270]
Open Innovation Director
Conservation X Labs
Baltimore, United States
Kate Wing [16]
the databranch
David Lang [0]
Berkeley, United States

First Stage Judges - Blue Sky

Dorothy Jones-Davis [12]
Executive Director
Nation of Makers
Silver Spring, United States
Lucas Joppa [0]
Sammamish, United States
Tatjana Dzambazova [0]
AI Strategy, Autodesk AI Lab
Autodesk Inc.
Mill Valley, United States
Dara Dotz [0]
San Francisco, United States