Brilliant Blue Challenge: A Global Showcase of Ocean Innovation For The Blue Economy

Brilliant Labs
5 min readDec 21, 2023

Saint John, NB — December 20, 2023 — Brilliant Labs hosted its inaugural Brilliant Blue Challenge, endorsed by UN Ocean Decade, as a high-energy virtual event on December 16, 2023. This groundbreaking youth competition successfully united 26 teams from Atlantic Canada and 14 countries, including Nigeria, Honduras, Mexico, Senegal, Indonesia, and two refugee teams based in Lebanon to name a few. The teams showcased innovative youth-created solutions in Marine Autonomous Systems, Healthy Marine Life, and Marine Renewable Energy. Looking ahead, Brilliant Labs is excited to announce a hybrid in-person/virtual event slated for 2024.

Winning Teams and Categories

Healthy Marine Life: Aqua Current Innovations from Lebanon (Refugee Team) clinched the top honours, demonstrating outstanding teamwork and a clear vision to address significant marine challenges.

Marine Autonomous Systems: Catra-Eels Honduras received the Marine Autonomous Systems Award for their ambitious project modelling technology after eels. Judges highlighted the need for context-specific applications to enhance scalability.

Marine Renewable Energy: Team Teal Niergia was honoured with the Marine Renewable Energy Award, recognized for their innovative approach to harnessing Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Systems.

A Clean Ocean: Team Royal Robotics from Riverview High School, NB, Canada impressed the judges with their innovative approach to identifying and mitigating sources of pollution. Their strong business plan and prototype garnered widespread acclaim.

A Healthy and Resilient Ocean: Representing Hungary, Team Reef Guardians wowed the judges with their project aimed at rejuvenating coral reef growth. Their innovative and financially viable concept was recognized as a standout in the category.

Team Hungrary Reef Guardians showcasing their brilliant project. (Photo taken by Team Hungary Reef Guardians)

A Productive Ocean: Team Micro Sea Solution from Halifax West High School, NS, Canada presented a meticulously planned project focusing on sustainable food supply and a thriving ocean economy, earning commendation from the judges.

A Predicted Ocean: Team AQUATECHS showcased unparalleled passion and innovation from Lebanon, demonstrating remarkable resilience and collaboration despite technical challenge.

A Safe Ocean: Team iBot from Italy presented a compelling proposal for a robotic fish built to remove microplastics from the ocean.

An Accessible Ocean: Team PhPals from Saint John, NB, Canada, Saint Malachy’s High School were presented with the Accesible Ocean Award. This amazing team aims to expand knowledge and make data accessible regarding the ocean acidification phenomenon by looking at coastal acidification in the Saint John Estuary.

Photo taken by Team PhPals from Saint John, NB, Canada, Saint Malachy’s High School.

An Inspiring and Engaging Ocean: Team TENG from Saint John, NB, Canada, Saint Malachy’s High School presented a compelling research proposal utilizing Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Systems. Their project’s relevance and professional presentation earned high praise.

Photo taken by Team Teng from Saint John, NB, Canada, Saint Malachy’s High School.

Ecosystem Excellence Award: Senegal Sea Savers received the Ecosystem Excellence Award. Their initiative to tackle environmental challenges using local knowledge and innovative technology was lauded by the judges.

Team Senegal Sea Savers, proudly holding their country’s flag prior to the Inaugural Brilliant Blue Challenge Competition.

A Bright Blue Future Ahead

Brilliant Labs extends heartfelt congratulations to all participants and winners of the Brilliant Blue Challenge. The exceptional talent and dedication showcased by these teams underline the immense potential for innovation in the Blue Economy. As anticipation builds for the 2024 hybrid (in-person/virtual) Brilliant Blue Challenge, stay tuned for updates and continue to support the #BrilliantBlueGeneration!

Thank you to Brilliant Blue Challenge funder The National Research Council Of Canada; sponsors: Cooke and InnovaSea; our official partners & supporters Canadian Integrated Ocean Observing System (CIOOS), Marine Environmental Observation Prediction & Response Network (MEOPAR), Cloud & More; Endorsed by UN Ocean Decade; Media and Public Relations Partner amPR inc.

A Heartfelt Thank You

Expressing gratitude, the organizers extended their thanks to the #BrilliantBlueChallenge teams and mentors. The event’s success was made possible through the generous support of sponsors like the National Research Council Canada, CanCode, Cooke Inc., and Innovasea. These contributions played a pivotal role in powering the competition and nurturing the #BrilliantBlueGeneration.

Partnerships and Collaborations

Acknowledging the collaborative spirit, the organizers recognized the official partners and supporters, including CIOOS Atlantic, MEOPAR, Cloud&More, endorsed by the UN Ocean Decade, and amPR. These collaborations amplified the opportunity for youth innovation, creating a platform for the participants to showcase their talents and ideas.

Keynote Speakers and Ocean Advocates

The event featured charismatic speakers and advocates for ocean conservation, including Jeff Willson, Karen Gillam, Seamus O’Regan, Kent Smedbol, Marie-Chantal Ross, Paul Brett, Michael Szemerda, Kendra MacDonald, and the energetic event emcee, Rasheed Idou. Their insights and support contributed significantly to the event’s success and underscored the importance of a sustainable Blue Economy.

A True-Blue Panel of Judges

The competition would not have been complete without an esteemed panel of judges, including Andy Marshall Brilliant Blue Challenge Judges Advisor, and experts like Daniel Hasselman, Cailin Burmaster, Naomi Boon, Kudirat Oyiza Abdulkareem, Paul Brett, Olga Telecka, P.Eng., and Laleh Nazari, Ph.D., P.Eng… Their collective expertise and guidance ensured a fair and impactful evaluation of the participants’ efforts. This event truly showcased the brilliance of the #BrilliantBlueGeneration.

Finally, special thanks to our Brilliant Blue Challenge Mentors who played a pivotal role in guiding and inspiring teams as they showcased innovative solutions that drove the #blueeconomy.

About Brilliant Blue Challenge:

The Brilliant Blue Challenge is an international competition endorsed by UN Ocean Decade, organized by Brilliant Labs. It serves as a premier platform for young innovators worldwide to present groundbreaking solutions in the realms of Marine Autonomous Systems, Healthy Marine Life, and Marine Renewable Energy. Engaging participants from diverse regions, the challenge underscores the significance of nurturing innovative solutions for a sustainable Blue Economy. For more information, visit BrilliantLabs.ca/Brilliant-Blue or

About Brilliant Labs:

Brilliant Labs is a leading organization committed to fostering creativity, innovation, and digital skills among youth across various domains. With a mission to inspire the next generation of innovators, Brilliant Labs offers a range of programs, competitions, and educational initiatives designed to equip young minds with the tools and opportunities they need to thrive in a rapidly evolving world. Through strategic partnerships and community engagement, Brilliant Labs continues to champion hands-on learning to inspire creativity, collaboration, and innovation in STEAM education and beyond. For more information, visit BrilliantLabs.ca.

Media Contact:

Omar Hussein Brilliant Labs Director, Brilliant Blue Challenge

Email: Omar@brilliantlabs.ca

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