Veolia and the Tara Ocean Foundation Launch the PlankThon Challenge for Students in the Region

  • Veolia is calling on all talented, tech-savvy and eco-conscious students from across the Middle East region to participate in the online hackathon, taking place from June 25th to 27th, 2021.

Dubai, UAE: Veolia Middle East, the benchmark company for ecological transformation offering game-changing solutions for water, waste and energy management, is hosting the region’s first PlankThon Challenge in partnership with the Tara Ocean Foundation.

Announced on World Oceans Day on June 8th, 2021, the PlankThon Challenge is a 48-hour ecological hackathon in which students from all over the world will utilize coding, AI and data to create low-energy solutions enabling the work of scientists studying the oceans and the consequences of climate change on marine life.

Veolia is calling on all talented, tech-savvy and eco-conscious students from across the Middle East region to participate in the online hackathon, taking place from June 25th to 27th, 2021.

As part of the challenge, teams of two to four students will have 48 hours to imagine a way to qualify a database of hundreds of thousands of plankton photos collected from the current expedition being carried out by the Tara Ocean Foundation. The solutions must be low energy-consuming (to be used on a Raspberry Pi, for example), and the winning entry will be deployed on the famous research schooner, the Tara, to work with the Planktoscope developed by the Plankton Planet and Stanford University.

The eight best teams at the end of the 48-hour challenge will be invited to pitch their solution on July 1st, in front of a jury of experts from Veolia, the Tara Foundation and the Villefranche/Sorbonne University Oceanography Laboratory. The three best teams will be awarded Raspberry Pi devices and low power tech accessories worth a total of €20,000.

The winning team will also have the unique privilege of experiencing the schooner Tara first-hand. Originally built in France in 1989 by medical explorer Jean-Louis Étienne specifically for scientific expeditions, the Tara is a 36-metre aluminium-hulled schooner dedicated to ocean exploration and environmental research. The winning team will meet the Tara Ocean Foundation team aboard the Tara when they return from the Microbiomes Mission in Lorient, in October 2022, and enjoy a fantastic opportunity to see their winning solution at work.

Registration for the PlankThon Challenge is open from the 8th to 23rd of June 2021. Teams can register via the website:

The event kicks off at 5pm CET on Friday, June 25th, and ends at 5pm CET on Sunday, June 27th. The eight finalists will be announced on Tuesday, June 29th, and will then be invited to make their final pitch on Thursday, July 1st, 2021.

The winning team will be announced on Monday, July 5th, 2021.

About Veolia:

Veolia group aims to be the benchmark company for ecological transformation. With nearly 179,000 employees worldwide, the Group designs and provides game-changing solutions that are both useful and practical for water, waste and energy management. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and replenish them. In 2020, the Veolia group supplied 95 million people with drinking water and 62 million people with wastewater service, produced nearly 43 million megawatt hours of energy and treated 47 million metric tons of waste. Veolia Environnement (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of €26.010 billion in 2020.

About the Tara Ocean Foundation:

The Tara Ocean Foundation, first recognized public interest foundation in France dedicated to the world’s oceans, is leading a scientific revolution: The Foundation has developed an open, innovative Ocean science that will enable us to predict, anticipate and better manage tomorrow’s climate risks. Our two key-missions: exploring and sharing. To make the ocean a common responsibility and preserve it, the Tara Ocean Foundation raises awareness and educates young people to protect this vital ecosystem.