Hacking 4 Oceans

New Entrepreneurship + Ocean Conservation Course

In Spring 2020, UC Santa Cruz offered the first class of its kind focused on identifying solutions to key coastal and ocean problems using Lean Design

Email the teaching team if you are interested in joining the next cohort

Learn Lean Launchpad and other Lean Design techniques for startup success and solve real problems.

Tackle complex problems critical to saving our oceans and coasts with an interdisciplinary team of students from across campus.

Application is as individuals or as teams of four UC Santa Cruz graduate and/or undergraduate students from any school, department, or program.

Limited enrollment by application.

Interested in the course? Want to learn more?

Join a virtual info session. Register here.

  • Feb 5, 11:00 AM

  • Feb 10, 4:00 PM

  • Feb 24, 10:00 AM

  • Mar 5, 11:00 AM

  • Mar 10, 3:00 PM

  • Mar 24, 2:00 PM

Ready to Apply?

2021 class applications will open in February. If you are interested in joining the next cohort, please email the teaching team at Hacking4Oceans@ucsc.edu.

View Hacking 4 Oceans Information Session slides below or CLICK HERE

Across the country, startups are using the principles of Lean design to create the next generation of solutions. Startups operate with continual speed and urgency 24/7. Over the last few years they've learned how to be not only fast, but extremely efficient with resources and time using lean startup methodologies. The Lean Startup methods have been adopted to take on actual problems that are curated and presented either to students taking a class or made broadly available in open challenges to the community.

In this course, you will use Lean Startup methods and approaches to solve actual problems facing ocean focused organizations (government, for-profit, and non-profit).

Hacking 4 Oceans takes on problems facing the ocean. Some problems might use Lean to solve internal process problems (e.g. cut the time it takes to process permit approaches to advance adaptation) to large scale problems that have applicability in other regions (e.g. novel solutions to create sustainable aquaculture feed). Students will form teams and choose one problem to work on for the quarter from a set of available problems. Each team works on a different problem.

Read stories about the course here.


Course Title: Hacking 4 Oceans: Solving Ocean Issues with Lean Launchpad

Course #s: Enrollment by permission number only, provided following application submission

  • Graduate Students: CSP 281A, 5 units (2021 Grad Syllabus Coming)

  • Undergraduate Students: CRSN 151B-01, Class # 64011, 5 units, (2021 UGrad Syllabus Coming)

Term: 2021 Course offered Spring Quarter on Thursdays noon-3pm over Zoom.

Teaching & Planning Team: Anne R. Kapuscinski, Steve Weinstein, Radhika Malpani, Sue Carter, Andrea Carafa and Sarah Eminhizer


  • Apply as a team or individual.

  • Teams will include UC Santa Cruz graduate and/or undergraduate students from any school, department, or program.

Interested, but want to learn more? email Hacking4Oceans@ucsc.edu

Note: Limited enrollment by application.

There are 3 ways to apply to the class

  1. Form a team around one of the problems that are sponsored. Only one team can be accepted for each problem. If you apply as a team with a specific problem, please also choose your backup problems.

  2. Form a team around an ocean technology/policy idea you are already working on. If you plan on applying this way, please let us know ASAP so we can work to find you an appropriate sponsor for your work.

  3. As an individual who wants to join a team.

The course is team (4-5 student) based. If you do not have a team, please apply as an individual and the teaching and planning team will help connect you with other interested students.