Water Toxicity Sensor Challenge | Technology Org

This Challenge is requesting new design solutions for biologically based sensors for use in water systems that can detect the activation of one or more human toxicity pathways. Toxicity pathways are the perturbations to normal biological processes that occur due to exposure to a stressor, such as a chemical, that has the potential to lead to adverse health effects. Although the sensor might not identify a specific contaminant/toxin, it should be able to measure or quantitate the level of activation of one or more toxicity pathways when the sensor is exposed to water that contains relevant amounts of contaminants/toxins targeting the pathway(s). The solution should be less costly, more efficient, and more rapid than current methods for water toxicity analysis. This Theoretical Challenge is Stage 1; there is the potential for Stage 2, which would consist of a Challenge to produce a prototype.

Image credit: Davide Restivo/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

This Theoretical Challenge requires only a written proposal.


In the interest of advancing technology that can be used to evaluate water quality, the Seeker is looking for a design of a sensor that can detect the presence of one or more contaminants in water by measuring their impact on one or more toxicity pathways. The sensor would avoid the need for performing multiple laboratory measurements for the detection of target compounds. The sensor should be able to quantify the degree of activation of the toxicity pathway. The sensor may be new technology or an improvement to existing technology.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (U.S. Eastern Time) on July 26, 2021.

Source: InnoCentive