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Winners of the Student Innovation Challenge within deep sea minerals

From left: Raoul Schmitt, Julia Romano and Jon Hellevang
From left: Raoul Schmitt, Julia Romano and Jon Hellevang

Julia Romano, Matthias Schultheis and Raoul Schmitt won with their proposal Autonomous robot swarm system for large scale benthic observations.

The winners of the Student Innovation Challenge were announced at the Deep Sea Minerals conference in Bergen 26 October.

The award comprises of 10 000 NOK, free tickets to the conference and plenary presentation of the proposed concept.

The competition was organised by GCE Ocean Technology, who also sponsored free tickets to 10 students involved in the best proposals.

A multidisciplinary international collaboration

The winning team consisted of students from NTNU, the University of Bologna and TU Bergakademie Freiberg.

The winning concept targeted monitoring of huge areas in the deep sea using several autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) operating in swarm from a base station; enabling easy, flexible and modular transport, installation, docking, charging and data storage.

– We are very excited to have been selected as the winners of the Student Innovation Challenge, says Raoul Schmitt, PhD candidate at NTNU.

– The challenge was an excellent opportunity to discuss and propose creative solutions to some of the issues associated with deep-sea mineral extraction. We developed our proposal as part of the EIT International Autumn School ‘From Dredging to Deep-Sea Mining’ at NTNU, which received funding from EIT Raw Materials Schmitt explains.

EU has made considerable investments towards reaching marine mineral resources to become less dependent on importing minerals, as well as creating new jobs in Europe.

– Many thanks to GCE Ocean Technology for enabling such an exciting challenge and providing the opportunity for students to connect with the scientific community, policy makers and industry leaders through this year's Deep Sea Minerals Conference in Bergen, he ends.

 – I like to echo that, says Julia Romano, an exchange student at NTNU from the University of Bologna. – I would highlight how important real-life challenges and opportunities are for developing new perspectives. Thank you for giving us the opportunity, hope this kind of activities keep being encouraged.

Many new and interesting ideas

The competition received many new and different ideas and concepts for sustainable exploration and production of deep sea minerals.

Most of the proposals were related to exploration technologies, but we also received innovative ideas on how to minimize plume dispersal during production as well as policy design.

– Students offer many new perspectives and novel ideas that are valuable when developing a new industry. It is very encouraging to see the enthusiasm and all the new ideas we received, says Jon Hellevang R&D Manager in GCE Ocean Technology. Hellevang was heading the jury consisting of the programme committee of the Deep Sea Minerals conference.

Due to the huge success and positive feedback, we plan to arrange similar competitions related to upcoming events, Hellevang finishes.

Contact Information

Jon O. Hellevang

R&D Manager

Jon O. Hellevang


An international conference arranged for the 2nd time 26-27 October in Bergen Norway. The conference attracted about 150 participants from all over the world.

The conference is organised by GeoPublishing and addresses environmental aspects, geology, technology and innovation to secure minerals for the energy transition.

GCE Ocean Technology organised and sponsored the Student Innovation Challenge.