Triton Innovation Challenge

What is the Triton Innovation Challenge?

Triton Innovation Challenge

The Triton Innovation Challenge, now in its tenth year, is a business competition focused on fostering creativity and bringing to the spotlight commercially promising, environmentally focused technologies generated by the finest minds at UC San Diego. Supported through the generosity of The William and Kathryn Scripps Family Foundation Inc., the program is presented through a partnership of the Rady School of Management, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Jacobs School of Engineering.

The competition awards cash prizes totaling $17,500 to support new and innovative ideas that relate to the environment (comes from, inspired by, or directly impacts nature.) Environmentally related social innovation ideas and those with or without a prototype are encouraged to apply. All participants are also eligible to compete for up to $300,000 in investment funding from the Rady Venture Fund and Triton Technology Fund. Anyone (students, faculty and staff) affiliated with UC San Diego is invited to apply.

Meet the 2022 Triton Innovation Challenge Finalists:

See the finalists pitch their technologies - watch the 2022 event

Active Gene - Easy biodiversity assessment onsite.
Contact: Debashis Sahoo at or 

Algeon Materials - Sustainable and biodegradable plastic alternatives made with kelp.
Contact: Kim Pendergrass at

Kai Pono Solutions has created a stormwater filtration device that is low cost, requires simple maintenance, and has a small spatial footprint.
Contact: Navy McKee at

Renew Solar, LLC. expands access to solar power and clean energy through recovered, restored, and rejuvenated second hand solar panels.
Contact: Heather Hardenberg at or

Tyfast is designing next-gen lithium batteries for always-on, ultrafast charging wearables and consumer electronic devices.
Contact: Haichen Lin at

Alumni Presenter/2021 Triton Innovation Challenge Winner 

Limelight Steel - Harnessing light to power zero-emissions steel manufacturing.
Contact: Andy Zhao at

Who can participate?

Any current UC San Diego student, staff or faculty member can apply.  Those with environmentally relevant ideas at all stages of development, including social innovation ideas, are welcome to submit an application.  

What’s the process?

Applications for the 2022 Triton Innovation Challenge are now closed. Please join us for the final event (virtually) on Wednesday, April 27th. 

Look for more information and applications for the 2023 Triton Inovation Challenge in January 2023.


What are people saying?

  • I'm ecstatic (about winning) and so proud of myself and my research partner. As a first-year student, I was a bit of an underdog. I'm very happy to win and humbled at the same time. It is great that the Jacobs School, Rady and the Scripps Institution put on this competition. It was a wonderful opportunity for researchers to take and present what we've done and get exposure. We will use the cash prize for patenting our idea and research and development, all the things needed to further develop the product and get it to market.
    Uzair Mohammad, Student
    Jacobs School of Engineering
    2013 first place winner
  • The Triton Innovation Challenge event provided a unique opportunity to interact with business advisors from UC San Diego's von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center and students from UCSD Rady School of Management and learn about the ways to transition knowledge and information about innovative technology from the academic to the business-oriented environment.
    Dariusz Stramski, Professor
    Scripps Institution of Oceanography
    2014 third place winner
  • Scripps Oceanography provides an open culture to be innovative and creative and to explore the world of learning without barriers. This event allowed me not only to connect with people and organizations that I otherwise would never cross paths with, but also gave me the opportunity to join a team of inventive partners and pursue new education endeavor without boundaries.
    Debi Kilb, Project Scientist
    Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
    2014 Social Entrepreneurship prize

Need some inspiration?

View the 2021 Triton Innovation Challenge final event. 

Check out the link below for some examples of program participants from prior Triton Innovation Challenge competitions:
For more information, or if you have questions, please contact Karen at