Blue Pioneers Program

Accelerating Innovation and Leading Change for Ocean Conservation

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program dates provided below are subject to change according to federal, state, city or campus restrictions that we closely follow. The safety and well-being of our participants, staff, faculty, and partners is paramount.

The Blue Pioneers Program aims to develop leaders and innovators who start and grow organizations to overcome ocean conservation challenges around the world.

In early 2016 the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in the United States initiated the Blue Pioneers Program (BPP), along with the Paradise Foundation and Yintai Foundation in China, in recognition of the central role that the oceans will play in Asia’s 21st century development and the tremendous need for innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders who are passionate about ocean conservation and sustainable use.

The BPP Accelerator Program selects carefully Blue Pioneers around the world to enter an intensive leadership development program designed to expand their capacity to start and grow new nonprofits and social enterprises or to transform established organizations to solve complex ocean conservation problems.

The 2020 accelerator program consists of four weeks of hands-on, live online learning and a full week of in-person classes, field trips and professional networking events in California. The participants will be trained and coached by accomplished practitioners and academics from leading organizations in Silicon Valley to central coast California.


Dates and Locations

Online Program, November 9 - December 2, 2020

On-campus Program, Deferred to Summer 2021 (prospective dates: June 27-July 3 ) at University of California, Santa Cruz


The total program cost is US$7,500, which covers the tuition, airfare and lodging. Full scholarships are available to the most competitive 20 applicants, thanks to the generous support from the Packard Foundation. We look for applicants who work actively in the front line of ocean conservation. The competitive candidates are engaged and engaging learners who are big-picture thinkers seeking actionable strategies to grow the impact of their organizations. They are open-minded, positive, and generous collaborators.

*2020 applications have closed*

Please check our website again in March 2021 for the 2021 Accelerator Application Call

Program Sponsors