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Together to innovate

This is a monetary award established by the energy company Equinor together with Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

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Dear student. Great minds don’t always think alike, yet they achieve great things when they work together.

Without energy, the world simply stops. But the energy system must change. We are all in it to reach the goal of Norway becoming a low-emission country by 2050.

We believe that innovative entrepreneurs and start-ups will play a vital role in making this happen. We also know that funding can be a real showstopper for entrepreneurs, especially in the early stages of a project.

So, let us support you in developing your ideas and give you a flying start.

Want a dialogue with us?

Sign up for a dialogue with us using the form linked below before you enter in your ideas.

Preregistration form
Overall challenge

How can YOU contribute to the Energy Transition towards net zero?

Net Zero: the goal is simple, the solution is complex. This is where we all need to work together.

Like many other nations, Norway aims to be a low-emission country by 2050. Net zero means that we have solutions to eliminate or neutralise greenhouse gas emissions.

The capacity of renewables, carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) in addition to clean hydrogen clearly need to ramp up to meet the future demand of clean energy.

Equinor’s presentation at the Capital Markets Update 2022  provides information about Equinor's operations and plans going forward in our journey towards net zero in 2050.

The challenge

How can your idea, project, technology or start up contribute to the energy transition? How can it contribute in Equinor’s journey towards net zero?


Gaming is becoming a game-changer for future control rooms. Let’s see how we can take this further.

The energy transition and climate commitment bring some interesting challenges for energy companies like Equinor. Moving from fossil fuels with traditionally high economical margins to a renewable market with significantly lower margins challenge us, all the way from idea via daily operations to decommissioning and recycling.

The present challenges are about daily operations. How can we secure safe, reliable, and effective production on our facilities at lowest possible cost? Securing production includes monitoring activities, making necessary and optimising adjustments, perform ordinary maintenance, prevent unforeseen incidents, preparedness and any emergency response.

Historically Equinor’s value creation took place on a few large offshore platforms on the Norwegian continental shelf with local control. Since the future will be many small units spread all over the world, you probably think like us; we need to perform remote operations and both automise and robotise as much as possible. You might also think, like us, that a huge growth in robotisation and automation, sometimes alongside with humans, needs to be orchestrated somehow. To help us here, we have built digital twins of our facilities both topside and subsea. These are pretty cool 3D models of all our equipment, but as of now, these are all static visualisations.

You don’t need to spend much time behind the joystick on games like Fortnite or COD/Warzone to understand that gaming is a dynamic flow of real-time images and information offering the gamer the opportunity to both establishing an overview and see necessary details – real time. Based on this information flow, the gamer chooses a strategy on which both immediate actions (like shoot or hide) and longer-term capacity interests (like ammunition and nutrition storage) are taken care off.

How can the energy industry learn from gaming to take the next step in safe, sustainable and cost-effective remote operations of offshore energy production, whether it is activities above sea level (Challenge 1) or subsea (Challenge 2)?

How can you contribute to solve this challenge?

Challenge 1: Digital operational support topside

A game-like tool where humans, drones, robots and general automation are working coordinated together for a best possible output; valuable energy to the world.

Some important tasks for such a tool would be

  • Keeping humans in the loop in control rooms for execution of operations (e.g. Human-Machine Interface, Human-Machine Teaming, simulation tools)
  • Energy consumption and fleet management of systems/tools in use whether for the new energy mix or for a drone fleet (mission objectives/energy optimisation)
  • Use for scheduling and simulation, employing sensors and real time monitoring to avoid incidents harming people or equipment or even causing large potential accidents
  • Training tool (or how to make an educational curriculum for future users).
  • Planning and execution of operations
  • Operate the tasks and energy optimization processes from shore (remote operated)

Challenge 2: Digital operational support subsea

A game-like tool where classic vessels, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), robots and general automation are working coordinated together for a best possible output; valuable energy to the world.

Some important tasks for such a tool would be

  • Integrated operation of topside and subsea production facilities, wind farms or any onshore installations
  • Use of visualisation tools for monitoring and remote control
  • Use of gaming technologies to improve human interaction with robots (avatars), installations, and environment
  • Subsea communication and coordination via global systems (satellites)
  • Reduce the need for larger support vessels

Prizes and conditions

1st place

Up to 300 000 NOK
Phd student or Startup project

Up to 100 000 NOK
early phase student project

2nd place

Up to 50 000 NOK

3rd place

Up to 50 000 NOK

The winners will also have access to Equinor’s subject matter experts for three months.

All students at NTNU, from bachelor to PhD, can apply. All we ask is that you have a concrete idea, project or start up that could contribute to the energy transition – and don't worry, Equinor will not own any rights, your ideas are one hundred percent your ideas.

And yeah – one more thing: All applicants are asked to attend the award winner announcement in Trondheim on 21 September.


Simply send your proposal in the following format to :

  1. Video introduction of the team (90 sec)
  2. Video pitch of your idea (3 min)
  3. Your pitch deck (max 12 slides)

Application deadline is 15 August 2022 and winners will be announced 21 September.

Guidelines for pitch deck (PDF)

Frequently asked questions

Who can participate?

The challenge is for all students, from bachelor to PhD. However, you must be able to attend in person at the announcement of the award on 21 September (tentative date).

Can international students participate?

Yes. However, you must be able to attend in person at the announcement of the award the award on 21 September (tentative date).

Can you participate as a group?

Yes, you should work in groups, preferably multi-disciplinary groups.

Will the whole group win the 1st prize?

Yes. The whole group will win the prize, in order to further mature the idea, project, start up or tech that you have been working on. This includes a monetary prize and access to Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) in Equinor, for three months.

What do you want me to deliver?

  1. Video introduction of the team (90 sec)
  2. Video pitch of your idea (3 min)
  3. Your idea pitch deck (max 12 slides)

Where do we submit our deliveries?
The deliveries must be submitted to  by 15 August 2022

Will Equinor own the rights to the idea, tech or project?


Do we get any kind of assistance during the competition?
Yes, you will be able to talk to mentors in Equinor.

What are the key criteria for success?

  • Value creation / business potential
  • Probability of success / likelihood of realization
  • Potential to improve sustainability
  • Degree of innovation Creativity

What is the deadline?

The deadline is 15 August, and the best groups will be contacted within three weeks to prepare for the presentation at the winner announcement on 21 September.