Novel Method to Treat Biofouling on Vessels in Port

$10,000 USD

Challenge overview

Biological fouling, or biofouling, is the accumulation of waterborne organisms on submerged surfaces. This buildup on ships not only slows down the passage of these vessels through the water, but it can also serve as a route for the transfer of invasive aquatic species into an ecosystem. Therefore, the Seeker desires a novel method to treat biofouling on ships while in port.

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.                          

Ships are scheduled periodically for dry-dock to perform maintenance activities to ensure safe operation. This is particularly important to allow for work to be done on parts of the ship, such as recessed chambers, that are difficult to access in the water. In addition to the cost of cleaning, repairs, and improvements, revenue is lost each day the vessel remains inactive. One way to reduce the dry-dock time is to perform some of these tasks while the ship is operational in a port setting. Therefore, the Seeker is looking for novel and cost-effective approaches to treat biofouling on vessels without interfering with normal performance or compromising the environment.

This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The award(s) will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $10,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $1,000.
  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker.  Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solver grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license, to use any information included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on September 17, 2018. 

Late submissions will not be considered.

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.


The National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd. (NIWA) is the coordinating agency for this prize, with funding provided by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

NIWA is a research company owned by the New Zealand government whose mission is to conduct leading environmental science to enable the sustainable management of natural resources for New Zealand and the planet.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources develops and implements policies and programmes to ensure Australia's agricultural, fisheries, food and forestry industries remain competitive, profitable and sustainable, and supports the sustainable and productive management and use of rivers and water resources.


This Challenge is part of an international scientific collaboration between NIWA, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Biofouling Solutions Ltd., the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia (DPIRD), Cawthron Institute, University of Waikato, Department of Fisheries & Oceans, Canada, and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Centre that is supported by the New Zealand Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment’s International Relationships Fund. All parties will contribute to technical review, judging, and promotion of the Challenge.

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