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Challenging NZ Innovators to Use Tech in Saving the Environment

Tech Solutions to Reverse Negative Human Impacts on Climate

Devising a tech-based solution with the power to slow or reverse negative human impacts on climate is one of the challenges being set for New Zealand innovators in this year’s C-Prize competition.

As reported, C-Prize is the biannual competition of Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand’s Innovation Agency, which challenges New Zealand innovators to devise tech-based solutions to complex problems.

Teams compete for cash prizes and one of ten places on the C-Prize Development Programme, an intensive mentoring programme of technology and commercialisation boot camps.

They also get the chance to take out the grand prize of NZ$ 100,000 cash plus NZ$ 50,000 in ongoing support and services.

C-Prize Competition

  • C-Prize 2019 teams are being called to tackle areas of environmental impact with their entries. Some examples are delivering smarter use of finite resources or cleaner waterways.
  • Currently, massive environmental challenges are being faced.
  • However, there are also unprecedented advances in the application of different technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), advanced materials and biotechnology.
  • All of which have the power to help solve many of these problems.
  • C-Prize should inspire New Zealand innovators to see the massive opportunities offered by environmental innovation and to get involved.
  • Minister for Climate Change James Shaw was delighted to officially launch a technology challenge that is focused on developing solutions to solve global environmental challenges.
  • The C-Prize challenge presents a massive opportunity for entrepreneurs, researchers, engineers and scientists to develop their solution with mentoring and R&D support, and to kick-start their commercialisation journey.
  • It offers innovators a way to advance their idea with a broad range of support and less risk.
  • The programme offers a unique opportunity to spend time with like-minded teams and individuals in a fast-paced and supportive learning environment.

Environmental Innovation

  • The competition’s call to develop solutions to clean waterways is also timely given the release of the marine report by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics NZ.
  • The report highlights the major challenges New Zealand’s marine environment is facing, including threatened marine species, increased sedimentation and significant declines in shellfish populations in some areas.
  • Aside from environmental fallout, the report points to the economic risk to the marine economy, which in 2017 was valued at NZ$ 7 billion and employed more than 30,000 people.
  • Environmental innovation increases the rate of positive change and more are needed to mitigate the catastrophe.
  • With an evolving recognition of the climate emergency coupled with a maturing ecosystem leading to better investment opportunities and a better-equipped workforce, now is a great time to get involved in environmental innovation.


Entries for C-Prize close on 8 December 2019, when judges will select up to 10 teams to participate in the C-Prize Development Programme and compete for the grand prize.

The judges will be looking for solutions that have the customer clearly in mind as well as employ a convergence of technologies across areas such as advanced materials, additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and IoT.

Entries need to be submitted by a team of two or more people and provide the concept for a solution that can deliver a positive impact in one of three areas:

  1. Climate change – Slowing or reversing negative human impacts on climate
  2. Fresh clean water – Cleaning up waterways
  3. Resource use – Smarter ways to use and preserve the planet’s finite resources.
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