Wednesday, 15. June 2022 - 11:00

The Blue Economy Challenge: A new 10-week program aims to inspire students across Japan to tackle ocean-related challenges

The East-West Center Hawaii, InnoDays, OIST and the Okinawa Tourist Service will jointly host the Blue Economy Challenge, a program designed to engage undergraduate students across Japan with ocean sustainability. Funded by the US Embassy Tokyo, this 10-week program will be held, free-of-charge, from September 28, 2022, to December 7, 2022, with the aim of nurturing innovation. 

Established to coincide with the start of the U.N Ocean Decade, the Blue Economy Challenge will allow Japanese university students to gain knowledge, skills, and networks to tackle ocean-related challenges. The program will be delivered online, but the winning team will be invited on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii to present their ideas at the Innovation Ecosystem and Investor Pitch.

  • Participants: While the target group for this program is university students residing in Japan (regardless of the degree or major), everyone, including professionals and students of vocational schools, is welcome. We also hope to receive inquiries and applications from instructors and faculty who are interested in integrating the Blue Economy Challenge into their course.
  • Team composition: Each team will consist of no less than 3 and no more than 5 members. Each of them will be assigned to one of three roles: designer, engineer, or business leader.
  • Language: English will be the main language of this program, and participants will be asked to give their presentations in English. However, the project work can be conducted in Japanese. The key instructions will be translated into Japanese.
  • Program: The program consists of two parts; (1) biweekly online training and (2) the 48-hour hackathon. Through this online training, the participants will be prepared for the hackathon by learning how to propose innovative ideas for the themes and how to convert them into the actual pilot projects.
  • Themes: In addition to proposing innovative ideas, the participants will conduct proof-of-concept projects for one of the two themes--"Impactful Science" and "Sustainable Tourism."
  • Timeline: This 10-week program will be held from September 28, 2022 to December 7, 2022 with six two-hour webinars every two weeks (12 hours in total). From November 4, 2022 to November 6, 2022, participants join the virtual 48-hour Blue Economy Challenge hackathon. They will also engage in individual activities for 1 to 3 hours each week.
  • Application: Go to to submit an application form. 
  • More information and updates: Visit the InnoDays’ website:

Inquiries on Blue Economy Challenge: 
English: Christina Monroe at The East-West Center Hawaii,
Japanese: Daniel Chinen at The East-West Center Hawaii,

Inquiries on this press release: