Low-Cost Tech

Low-Cost Tech

Low-cost technology can provide high-quality data, and is a massive oceanographic need

Ocean science and conservation needs for data on biological and ecosystem variables will rely more heavily on low-cost technology worldwide. Lower upfront costs for technology allows for a larger deployment of technology to inform local decision-makers about the status of the marine environment. 

Synchro is now hosting a call for low-cost equipment! Users within the Synchro Network (community members, government and NGO representatives, practitioners, engineers, and scientists) will evaluate low-cost tech under different scenarios and help provide feedback to the manufacturer. A low-cost technology workshop in late summer of 2023 helped co-design this low-cost tech procurement and focus its strategy. 

Visit here for the details on our procurement. We will post questions when we are asked in the FAQs below.

Submissions due January 31, 2024!

RFI NOW CLOSED! Aiming to procure technology during the summer of 2024.


How do I submit? I see a testing and evaluation application, is that the same thing?

No, the testing and evaluation application is a different program. The low-cost technology procurement exercise is separate from that, so please do not submit anything through that application form. Please follow the directions on the RFI that states what factors to include in your submission and where to email that submission: info@oceansynchro.io

When can we expect a response to our questions?

We strive to respond to all inquiries within a timely manner. We will do our best to answer any inquiries within 48 hours.

How is Synchro involved in intellectual property aspects of any procured technology?

Synchro is interested in supporting low-cost marine technologies that are ready to be on the market or have recently joined the ocean tech market and need assistance getting off the ground. Submissions of interest are open to all developers : faculty, staff, or students and we anticipate technologies originating not only from academics, but from a range including private sector developers. IP considerations are to be managed on the supplier side.

Once you buy the technology are the developers still involved? Would you now be entitled to any profits and own patents?

The program is solely for procurement. The goal is to support and distribute innovative technologies in a niche market. We will select a handful of low-cost marine technologies similar to purchasing a product from Amazon or another marketplace, purchase multiple units of that product, and distribute the tech to partners to use and test. The developers will be involved during the program and can opt to receive feedback from users that may help with technology optimization. There is no profit or patents that will result from the program.

The initiative aims to assist developers by providing a market for their affordable technologies, fostering low-cost tech development, and expanding marine data collection. 

When do you expect funds to be distributed?

Depending on how many submissions and where they are originating, we won’t have a specific date until closer to the submission deadline. But certainly within 6 months of the submission deadline.

Will you consider open source technology?

Though open source equipment plays a massive role in making technology more accessible, for the purposes of the RFI, we want to buy a fully functional ready-to-go product, so the company would need to have a manufacturing/delivery entity to ensure that.

What does engaging with users look like in practice?

It will depend on the technologies selected and a company’s willingness to engage with users, but also the cooperation and time required from users or experts. If selected, discussions would be around what type of user or particular feedback is needed. Also it depends on what the technology is measuring, and if that topic can be covered by Synchro experts. It would be ideal to have the company engage directly with a user!

My gear could be standalone or integrated. Should I apply? Do I submit multiple proposals?

While we want to buy a ready-to-go equipment, we realize the benefit of being integrated into other systems to expand data collection. In your submission please note the extended capabilities of your equipment and its flexibility in use. If you have multiple types of gear within your company you want to propose, please feel free to place them all into one submission

I have several technologies that would fit the bill. Do I submit a proposal for each?

Please list all of them in one proposal, which will make it easier on both sides!

I have a technical sheet to add. Does that count toward the 3 pages?

No, we would consider the technical sheet separate from the information you are proposing.

I have submitted information. When can I expect to hear back?

As this is a request for information and not an application, we will not be replying to companies individually unless we decide to move forward with purchases. The information provided helps guide our procurement and expands the technology possibilities in this technology landscape. This Stanford-led procurement may involve a tiered purchasing process, and we hope to have identified companies by the summer of 2024.