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2017 Marine Plastics Innovation Challenge: Calling Graduate Students

Marine PlasticsStudents interested in solving the global problem of marine plastics can now submit ideas to a new competition organized by UN Environment and Think Beyond Plastic: the 2017 Marine Plastics Innovation Challenge.

Marine plastic is an economic, environmental, human health and aesthetic problem posing a multi-dimensional challenge to humanity, often compared to climate change in terms of impact, breadth, and complexity. In order to accelerate the search for solutions, UN Environment and Think Beyond Plastic are launching this challenge to engage university students and faculty in a solutions-oriented effort to help solve the global marine litter problem.

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

  1. Engineering and Design:  including innovations in materials, manufacturing processes, packaging design and related fields that result in a measurable reduction in marine plastic.
  2. Communication: including multimedia products, mobile apps, and innovative storytelling that raise awareness and inspire public action against marine plastics.
  3. Economics: including innovative methodologies to assess the economic impact of plastic pollution and/or develop new financial and business models to address market failures.
  4. 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.

The entries are judged on strength of innovation, impact on marine plastics, scale and feasibility, capacity to execute and completeness by a distinguished panel of experts in plastic pollution, economics, science, technology, entrepreneurship, communication and visual arts. One winner in each category will be announced at the Sixth International Marine Debris Conference in San Diego, California, (March 12-16, 2018) . Winners will have the chance to present their ideas at the conference and gain entry into the Think Beyond Plastic annual acceleration program.

For more information on judging criteria, or to enter the Innovation Challenge, visit:

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