Type Of Challenge: Ideas


  • Submission start (ET):
    08/30/2018 12:00 AM UTC
  • Submission end (ET):
    04/09/2019 05:59 AM UTC
  • Winner announced:
    07/01/2019 12:00 AM UTC

Partner Agencies - Federal: National Park Service, National Invasive Species Council Secretariat, Department of the Interior Office of Native Hawaiian Relations, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Other Partners - Non-Federal: Conservation X Labs, Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife

Devastating fungi are killing Hawaii’s iconic ʻŌhiʻa trees.

Countless native species depend on the shade of the ʻŌhiʻa for their growth. Without its presence, native birds will lose a roosting habitat, and rainfall will erode the Hawaii's delicate island soils. Even the cycle of creation after a lava flow would be disrupted without the ʻŌhiʻa to help bring life back to the land.

Are you ready to invent a way to help us find the fungus before it wipes out this hallmark of Hawaii's landscape? Take up the challenge, be a HERO, win up $70,000, and establish yourself as a leader in the fungus world!

The Challenge

Saving the ʻŌhiʻa is an innovation competition that seeks novel turn-key tools and creative solutions to rapidly and inexpensively detect the fungal species Ceratocystis lukuohia and Ceratocystis huliohia in asymptomatic trees (i.e., trees that do not show signs of infection) as well as at the landscape scale in larger stands. We also seek tools that can detect the potential invasion transmission pathways (e.g., wind, streams, transported soil, forest products, tools, equipment, etc.) and potential reservoirs of the fungi that lead to its spread.

Help Others Develop Their Solutions

We encourage applicants to create a project profile in Conservation X Labs Digital Makerspace https://conservationx.com/ to assist the applicant in the development of their proposed solution to the Challenge.

The Digital Makerspace is an online open community working toward creating tech solutions for conservation's greatest problems. Please see a detailed description of the Ohi'a Challenge at the Conservation X Lab page. Note: The application needs to be submitted through "Submit" function on Challenge.gov.

First Place


The total prize purse is $70,000 USD. While we anticipate awarding one first place award of $70,000 to one application, the Judges and Challenge administrators reserve the right to award up to three winners (one for each category) to split the prize pool.

The prize money will be delivered to the individual who submits a winning solution through Challenge.gov. By accepting a prize, the winner(s) acknowledges compliance with the official Rules and Guidelines.

All federal, state, or other tax liabilities arising from this Contest are the sole responsibility of the prize winner. 

Please see a detailed description of Rules and Guidelines.

Here's how to participate:

  1. Create an account and login to Challenge.gov. All applications MUST be submitted through the Challenge.gov portal (and users must be logged in to submit). 
  2. Review the Challenge Guidelines carefully, and find additional background information on the Saving the ʻŌhiʻa page
  3. Develop your entry. The online application, on Challenge.gov, consists of a short essay (1000 words or less) and a short video (3 minutes or less) demonstrating your technology in response to one of the Challenge Categories.
  4. Make sure your essay addresses ALL of the criteria outlined in the Guidelines. See the section SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATION in the Guidelines to understand the criteria.
  5. Submit your application by April 8, 2019!