Con X Tech Prize, Round 2: Invasive Species & 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


The Con X Tech Prize is designed as a competition for bold, new concepts for technology-enabled solutions for conservation. Any submission should be a well thought-out concept for a solution responding to a specific conservation problem or challenge.

To enter, Participants must submit a project application on the Digital Makerspace, create a project profile that is shared and viewable by other members (registered users of the Digital Makerspace), and agree to the grant competition Official Rules when submitting their project to the Con X Tech Prize. An initial description and design (image, drawing, or computer aided design) of your proposed tech solution and answers to all application questions are required for submission, and should be uploaded to the project profile. Teams who already have working prototypes of their ideas are not eligible to apply, though those who want to make substantial modifications to existing prototypes or product pivots are eligible.

For Round 2 of the Con X Tech Prize competition, we invite Participants to submit ideas for two different categories.


Category 1 is the Invasive Species Category. CXL welcomes project submissions in response to any of the Invasive Species challenges listed on the Challenge page. In addition, we will accept any solution to an invasive species or emerging pathogen problem given the challenge is articulated clearly.


Category 2 is the Blue Sky Category, whereby Participants can submit any novel, tech-enabled conservation solution idea. Participants must identify and articulate a specific problem to which their solution applies, which will improve the quality of the submission as well as the success of the tech-idea overall.

Conservation X Labs anticipates selecting up to twenty (20) Finalists and awarding an initial prototyping grant of $3,500 to each Finalist team. Approximately, ten (10) prizes will be awarded to project ideas in each of the two (2) categories for a total of twenty (20) prototyping awards, though CXL reserves the right to allocate the grant awards across the two categories that results in the most impactful and transformative pool of grant awardees. After CXL awards prototyping grant money to Finalists, winners should publically share project advances and updates on the Digital Makerspace during prototype development.

Finalists from stage 1 of the competition will be able to compete for a second stage award of $20,000, and receive design, acceleration, and investment support from CXL. Specific requirements for the second stage of the award will be released when the second stage finalists are announced.

Finalists and award winners of Round 1 of the Con X Tech Prize (that occurred between March to December 2018) are not eligible for Round 2 (opening in January 2019). All other projects currently published on the Digital Makerspace, including those that were submitted, but not selected as a Finalist, to Round 1 are eligible for Round 2, assuming they meet all other submission requirements for the competition.


  • Wednesday, January 23, 2019
    Con X Tech Prize open for submissions.
  • Wednesday, March 20, 2019
    Submission period closes.
  • March 2019
    Peer Feedback Period.
  • Late May 2019
    Finalists selected and announced.
  • Summer 2019 Prototyping Second Stage.

Specific deadlines for the Second Stage of the competition will be shared when the First Stage Finalists are announced. We anticipate a 10-week window for prototyping and initial project development before judging for the second stage of the competition occurs.

Peer Feedback Period

When the submission period closes on March 20, a multi-week Peer Feedback period will begin, whereby competition participants are encouraged to solicit feedback on their CXTP submissions and give feedback to others. Participants are then given time to consider feedback, and revise and improve their submissions based on that feedback.

First Stage - Submission Requirements

The Con X Tech Prize requires teams to complete a project application (all application questions and prompts) and publish a project profile on the Digital Makerspace (DMS) that is viewable and shared with all registered users of the DMS. This requires teams to prepare and provide the following information in their project application:

  • Description of a conservation problem and your proposed solution for addressing the chosen conservation problem;
  • Names of project members and collaborators. All team members must be registered as a member of the Digital Makerspace. (Teams from different disciplines are highly encouraged and reviewed favorably);
  • Description of your solution’s novelty (how it is different from existing solutions), potential impact (what it solves and why it matters), customer/end user (who it is designed for), initial value proposition (why it works); and
  • An image of the proposed solution idea or depiction of how the solution might be implemented (drawing, a computer-generated model, and/or other sketch or design).

If you have an existing project on the Digital Makerspace, you can submit your project on the Con X Tech Prize page via the “Submit a Project” button in the header. You will be prompted to choose which project you would like to submit, and select the category you wish to submit in. New projects will require approval from the Community Manager, and will then be prompted to submit to the Prize. Participants should check the box that indicates they agree to the Con X Tech Prize Official Rules, wish to submit their project to the competition as well as indicate which prize category the project fits (Invasives or Blue Sky).

Judging Criteria for the First Stage

Your solution will be evaluated on six equally weighted criteria on a scale of 1 to 5, and awarded up to three additional points for including team members from different disciplines or professions.

1. Transformative & Novel

How revolutionary is the proposed solution and how likely is it to upend fundamental assumptions about what is possible through its approach? Would this solution be ‘ground-breaking,’ with the potential to shift the context of the conservation challenge? How different is it from existing solutions on the market?

2. Impactful

Does the idea demonstrate an understanding of the specific conservation need for which the solution is designed? How likely is the proposed solution to achieve significant outcomes that dramatically and positively affect and address the problem at hand? How would you know when you are successful?

3. Financially Sustainable and Scalable

How simple is the solution in its design, easily replicable, and sufficiently universal to be applied to a larger number of species and/or ecosystems, across multiple geographies and cultures? Does the idea have great potential to work on a larger scale than the prototype/pilot studies? Does it respond to a critical conservation need, market, or demand?

4. Ecologically Sustainable

Does the solution idea result in a significant net positive environmental outcome (when considering its direct and indirect impacts)?

5. Culturally Appropriate and Socially Responsible

Does the proposed project cause any undue harm to a specific group or population? Is it appropriately sensitive and give due credit to different cultures? Does it benefit the public good and not unfairly promote or discriminate against a population?

6. Feasible

Is the proposed solution technologically, culturally, and economically realistic, with an acceptable degree of risk, from idea to deployment?

Up to three additional points for:

Interdisciplinary or Multidisciplinary (out of three points only)

Does this project successfully tap different professions, skillsets or disciplines in order to improve the impact of the solution idea?

Our goal is to reinvent the composition of the conservation community and increase the number of disciplines, and thus, solvers and solutions. We believe that the best solutions exist at the boundaries of disciplines.

Second Stage - Submission Requirements & Judging Criteria

During the Second Stage of the Con X Tech Prize, Finalists teams will be given approximately 10 weeks to prototype their solution idea. Submission requirements and evaluation criteria for the Grand Prize Winner of the Second Stage of the Con X Tech Prize will be published when the Finalists are announced in late May 2019.


Con X Tech Prize: Hacking Extinction

Blockchain Ecosystem Payments

Other phase of development
Programs that pay people to maintain ecosystem services are often inefficient and corrupted. We improve that by - for the first time - linking blockchain smart contracts to remote sensing algorithms!


LobsterLift LLC
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A lobster trap that doesn't also trap whales


Tom Quigley [3209]
Community Manager
Conservation X Labs
Washington, United States

Judges - Invasive Species

David Will [40]
GIS Program Manager
Island Conservation
Santa Cruz, United States
Brent Beaven [0]
Programme Manager PF2050
Department of Conservation
Wellington, New Zealand
Amy Berry [0]
Tahoe Fund
Incline Village, United States
Kelly Pennington [0]
Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Consultant
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Saint Paul, United States
Brian Gratwicke [0]
Washington, United States
Brad Zamft [0]
Technology Prospector
X, The Moonshot Factory
Mountain View, United States

Judges - Blue Sky

Ken Banks [0]
Head of Social Impact
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Mark Schrope [0]
Schmidt Marine Technology Partners
Melbourne, United States
Matthew Mulrennan [14]
United States
Evan Thomas [0]
Boulder, United States
José Lahoz-Monfort [0]
Senior Lecturer
University of Melbourne