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Bennett Creates Custom Awards for Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE

Bennett Awards created a set of unique custom awards for the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE. The goal of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE is to accelerate the development of unmanned and autonomous systems and sensors for deep-sea exploration. A total of five uique awards were presented by the XPRIZE organization.

The Grand Prize winner was GEBCO-NF Alumni. They received $4 million and a Grand Prize award created by Bennett Awards. GEBCO stands for “General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans”. The GEBCO-NF Alumni Team includes 16 alumni of The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Postgraduate Training Program at the University of New Hampshire. Rochelle Wigley and Yulia Zarayskaya led the 14-nation team, which integrated existing technologies and ocean-mapping experience in a robust and low-cost unmanned surface vessel, the SeaKIT. Team Kuroshio from Japan was the runner up, winning $1 million and a custom Grand Prize Runner-Up award created by Bennett Awards. The other finalists for the Grand Prize included f ARGGONAUTS Fraunhofer IOSB from Germany, Team CFIS from Switzerland,Team Kuroshio from Japan, and Team Tao from the U.K.

For the Grand Prize awards, Bennett Awards created custom awards combining a fabricated aluminum base topped with a custom acrylic block sculpture. The base of the winner’s prize was gold-plated, while the runner-up base was finished as brushed aluminum. The bases featured customized engravings of the award name, winner name, and XPRIZE logo.


A Moonshot Award was also presented to Team Tao to recognize its “unique approach to seafloor mapping,” even though the team did not meet the criteria for the main competition. Team Tao won $200,000 and a custom Bennett Award. The lower portion of the Moonshot Award was a geometric sculpture in the shape of a stylized X. The sculpture was cast in pewter and had black metal mark engravings of the award name, recipient name, and XPRIZE logo. The sculpture was topped with a custom crystal globe with the XPRIZE logo embedded inside it.


Finally, Bonus Prizes were presented to other teams. These XPRIZE awards were sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and recognized technologies used to track a chemical or biological signal and track it to its source. The winner of the Bonus Prize was Team Ocean Quest. For coming closest to achieving the challenge objectives, the Ocean Quest team earned $800,000 and a recognition award from Bennett Awards. The Tampa Deep Sea Xplorers team was the runner up, earning $200,000 and named as “most promising” technology.

For the Bonus Prizes, XPRIZE presented a customized version of the Bennett sculpture “Eternal Spirit”. These sculptures were adorned with custom crystal globes. The sculptures were mounted on black marble bases with personalized engraving similar to the other Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE awards.



The results were revealed at an awards ceremony hosted at the world-renowned Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, part of the Oceanographic Institute, Prince Albert I of Monaco Foundation. The awards were presented to recipients by Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE. 


XPRIZE designs and operates multi-million-dollar, global competitions to incentivize the development of technological breakthroughs that accelerate humanity toward a better future. Active competitions include the $20 Million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $10 Million ANA Avatar XPRIZE and the $5 Million IBM Watson AI XPRIZE.