CARBON TECH CHALLENGE
What technology readiness level are you looking for?
Finalists will be asked to spend a year validating their technology, and final award recipients will be awarded a contract to implement their technology in the field with our conservation partners. As such, we are looking for technologies at readiness levels 4-6. Participants will need to have achieved level 7 by the time the validation phase is over if they are to receive a contract. Learn about technology readiness levels here.
How will the projects be evaluated?
All projects will be assessed using the following criteria:
Alignment with the goals of the Nature X Carbon Tech Challenge
Does the technology measure or enable the measurement of carbon in nature (terrestrial, freshwater and/or coastal ecosystems)? Does it target soil, biomass and/or ecosystem level carbon? Is it applicable at the community-user level? Is the data produced useful for understanding the impacts of Nature-based Climate Solutions? Does it address the barriers to current carbon measurement technologies (i.e., cost, capacity)? Will the approach produce accurate data?
Feasibility of implementing the solution
Does the team/organization have the right expertise to execute the solution? Is the technology likely to work as described? Is the business/revenue model realistic? Are the timelines realistic? What is the likelihood of success?
Openness and accessibility of the solution
Is the solution cost effective? What are the ongoing maintenance costs? How will the team/organization ensure that their solution is affordable for community users? Does the technology require a high level of training/expertise to use? How will training be provided to communities if required? Is there a mechanism by which the team/organization will share their key learnings? Will this technology be open source?
Scalability of the solution
Does the team/organization have a plan to increase uptake/use of their solution? Is it realistic? Does this technology have the potential to contribute to a broader understanding of carbon in nature across Canada, or is the potential limited to a hyperlocal/specific context?
Ecological and social responsibility
Are there any potential negative social or ecological impacts that may be generated by this solution? If so, are satisfactory plans in place to mitigate or reduce these impacts?
Novelty and innovative quality of the solution
Is this a novel technology or novel use of an existing technology that has not been successfully implemented at scale before?
Why is the focus on technology that can be used at the community level?
We believe that Indigenous-led conservation is an effective, equitable and efficient way to safeguard nature. As the experts who have been stewarding these lands and waters since time immemorial, Indigenous communities are best positioned to lead the measurement and ongoing monitoring of carbon in their territories. Furthermore, in a country as large as Canada, with many remote areas, we need to use all the tools at our disposal to ensure we have a complete understanding of the state of ecosystems in Canada. Community-based monitoring (CBM), which includes both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, is one of those tools. By catalyzing the development of tools that can be used at the community-level, rather than leaving carbon measurement capabilities to larger institutions, we will build capacity and capability to ensure credible and accurate reporting of the carbon benefits of stewardship activities over time.
Will this technology be used in carbon markets and to verify carbon offset projects?
While it is not the primary goal of the Nature X Carbon Tech challenge, it is possible that participating technologies may have applications for carbon markets.
Are both English and French-language applications welcome?
Yes, both are welcome! Live interpretation may be provided for pitches, if necessary.
Will there be at least one finalist from each stream?
Not necessarily. The streams provide guidance about the types of projects we’re looking for, and help us compare projects. We will be selecting the strongest overall proposals as our finalists. That may mean there will be at least one from each stream, but it’s not a guarantee.
Can I talk to someone at WWF-Canada to learn more about Nature-based Climate Solutions or about the Nature X Carbon Tech Challenge?
Sure! If you have any questions, contact us and we'll get in touch.
Can I submit more than one idea?
Individuals can only be the lead on one submission; however, you can be listed as a team member on multiple submissions.
Innovation vs. invention
When we talk about innovation, we don’t necessarily mean that you’ve invented something new. There are many opportunities to use existing technologies in new and innovative ways. To be eligible for this challenge, you do not need to have created a completely new product (although it’s great if you have). We will also be considering submissions that find a novel approach to using existing technologies to monitor nature-based carbon storage and sequestration.
Do I have to participate in the Microsoft Global Social Entrepreneurship Program?
Finalists do not have to participate in the Microsoft Global Social Entrepreneurship program, but we recommend they do. What we heard most from ventures we’ve worked with in the past is the value they received from entrepreneurship coaching.
Do I maintain ownership of my intellectual property?
Yes, all participants retain ownership of all rights, including intellectual property rights for projects submitted to the challenge. However, please keep in mind that a primary intention of this challenge is to create real-world solutions to lower barriers for carbon monitoring, so the open-source and accessible nature of the solution will be considered when evaluating proposals.