Shell Ocean Discovery Guidelines

The Competition Guidelines (PDF) is a detailed competition document designed to provide prize specific information surrounding the Grand Challenge, the testing parameters, and the competition timeline.

The Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE will take place in two rounds over 36 months (3 years). Teams must register by the deadline in order to compete. Each team will submit technical documentation two months after the registration deadline, detailing their approach and technologies, therefore we encourage teams to begin designing their technologies at the earliest opportunity.

The technical documentation will be judged and the (up to) top 25 teams will be invited to participate in round 1 testing. The first round of testing will be conducted at ocean depths up to 2,000 meters and the second round will be to 4,000 meters.

Please see schedule for dates and deadlines.


XPRIZE believes that solutions can come from anyone, anywhere. Scientists, engineers, academics, entrepreneurs, and other innovators with new ideas from all over the world are invited to form a team and register to compete. In order to participate, a team may need to recruit additional experts and can add new members at any time throughout the competition. Competing teams will own the Intellectual Property of their submissions.

Note: The competition is void in those countries where prohibited or restricted by law. XPRIZE reserves the right to limit, or restrict upon notice, participation in the competition to any person or entity at any time for any reason. Teams may withdraw as set forth in the Competitor Agreement.


To compete in the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE you must be a fully registered team. To complete your registration, you must:

  1. Create a Team profile
  2. Sign the Competitor’s Agreement
  3.  Pay the registration fee*

*Registration fees are required as a simple qualifier to ensure competitors will be able to obtain the appropriate resources to fully compete in the competition. All fee’s collected are used to support teams and competition operational costs which consists of testing, team focused events, media and prize impact development.


Teams will be responsible for funding their own technology development costs.


During Round 1: Teams will initially be evaluated on their technical documentation. The top 25 teams will proceed to testing, where their Entries will operate at a depth of 2,000 meters.

During Round 2: Up to 10 finalist teams will participate. Their entries will operate at a depth of 4,000 meters.

Review the Competition Guidelines (PDF) for more detailed information on the minimum requirements for this competition. 


To ensure that the competition is fair to competing teams, XPRIZE will appoint the following two panels:


XPRIZE will recruit a Scientific Advisory Board composed of experts in various fields such as geophysics, oceanography, engineering, seafloor mapping, underwater vehicles, and ocean business. XPRIZE will seek to ensure that the Scientific Advisory Board is diverse enough to understand and advise on a variety of technical approaches to deep-sea technologies. This board will remain in place throughout the competition to advise XPRIZE on the scientific and technical details of the competition.


XPRIZE will recruit judges, chosen by the Scientific Advisory Board. XPRIZE will seek to ensure that the expertise of the judging panel is diverse enough to fairly evaluate the various technologies and approaches that the teams may develop during the competition.


  • Competition Guidelines (PDF): Describes the final requirements and parameters of the competition and is binding on teams as referenced in, and as part of, the Competitor Agreement.
  • Competitor Agreement: Legally binding contract that contains the requirements of the competition. All competing teams must sign this in order to compete.
  • Rules and Regulations (PDF): Testing protocols, specific rules, dates/times, and other details that will govern the competition and will be binding on teams.