The ENSM Foundation wanted to relaunch the HydroContest project, the flagship event of the Hydros Foundation from 2014 to 2019, interrupted with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Symbol of maritime innovation, this event has left its mark on the minds of teachers, students, and more broadly all those who have been involved in the success of this project.

  • 100 Participants
  • 1 race village
  • 1 exceptional place: The nautical base of the Marina Olympique in Marseille
  •  15 nationalities
  • 15 teams

“HydroContest is a great adventure that I recommend to all. Such a test allows you to think about many aspects of a ship. There is something for everyone, those who want to innovate, make 3D drawing, make calculations, save, weld, stratify, will be satisfied. You will find your place and you can develop your skills.

Personally, this adventure allowed me to discover materials that are rarely worked at the ENSM but that are nevertheless present in the maritime field, to develop my design capabilities and fluid-structure interaction.
The team spirit around this project creates strong bonds that will follow you throughout your life.”


Vivien LUTHY, ENSM participant 2016 edition

The challenges of maritime transport

Shipping is a major environmental challenge. Although it emits less CO2 per tonne transported than other transport modes, it is responsible for 3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, due to its magnitude.

Indeed, the volume of goods transported by sea has quadrupled since the 1970s to reach 13 billion tonnes in 2023.

In this perspective, the maritime sector must prepare for the future by focusing on the energy transition, an urgent need for industry.

A major lever for decarbonisation and maritime innovation

The HydroContest competition, incubator of ideas, brings together future engineers and architects from the international community around a common issue: «Transport better, faster, consuming less energy».

HydroContest offers a unique opportunity to hold a maritime innovation hackathon. It stimulates creativity through challenges and an inspiring competition. In addition, it integrates an academic and research dimension by bringing together students accompanied by their teachers and partner companies.

The 2025 edition of HydroContest is not only limited to the design, construction and piloting of a model ship conforming to a set of technical specifications, it also incorporates, and for the first time a whole new thinking challenge around the transformation of an “old ship”. Students are invited to propose solutions to improve the efficiency of these polluting ships, focusing on aspects such as the hull, motorization, or the addition of appendages, while emphasizing the environmental dimension. The project must be able to find meaning in the context of the United Nations Ocean Conference (Nice, 2025).

“Participation in the HydroContest project is an extremely dense experience in technical and human exchanges. It changes the relationship of “work” teacher – student towards a particularly effective and mutually ultra-trainer “constructive exchange” that extends to partners outside of school (technical and financial partners). Each new edition allows to (re)discover and present various technical solutions and to increase the number of our partners. It is an experience as diverse as it is rich in lessons.”


Frédéric SPELLIERS, EEA Teacher – Initiator of the project for ENSM Marseille in June 2013 and project leader until June 2016

A project committed

HydroContest embodies a commitment of future international engineers and decision-makers of tomorrow to the environment and the highlighting of the marine professions. This innovative initiative combines technology, innovation and environmental awareness to shape the future of navigation.

Potential French and foreign teams

The ENSM is responsible for identifying the structures potentially interested in the project. About forty French and foreign engineering schools and maritime academies have already been identified and will be contacted from mid-May 2024 for nomination papers scheduled for fall 2024.

“Participating in the first edition of HydroContest in 2014 and winning the innovation award with my team was a founding experience, which marked a turning point in my career and undoubtedly contributed to the success of the Plastic Odyssey adventure.  Much more than a technical challenge: it is a window on entrepreneurship, teamwork and all the complexity of engineering and naval architecture. This experience convinced me that the best way to learn is to be at the heart of the action, looking for solutions yourself.

HydroContest has also enabled ENSM to gain international visibility and build strong links between universities around the world. This adventure was for me a real springboard, giving me the desire to undertake and innovate to preserve our oceans. I am deeply grateful for this experience and fully support the new edition of HydroContest, convinced that it will continue to inspire and encourage new vocations.”

Simon BERNARD, Co-founder of the organization Plastic Odyssey
Sponsor of the 2025 edition

HydroContest Project Manager

Caroline PONS
+33 6 72 82 27 61

Director of the Foundation

François LAMBERT

Chairman of the Management Board
of the Foundation

Colomban Monnier

Chargé de mission ENSM Foundation

Gaëlle HARDY