About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Come and shape the solutions to big challenges of our era

At Nesta, we believe in expertise and evidence.

The challenges that we seek to address through our programmes are shaped and informed by experts - academics who study those fields, professionals who work in them, people who experience them in their daily lives.

In March, you have a chance to be one of those experts.

On Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 March 2018, Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre is hosting Challenges of Our Era Summit in Milan, Italy. At this international event, we will discuss some of the most pressing challenges facing the world, but more importantly, we will be gathering experts, funders and problem solvers to start to work on addressing them.

We’re looking at three global issues which are central to the prosperity and wellbeing of the world:

  • Surgical equity: the Lancet Commission thinks 17 million lives can be saved every year through increased access and improved quality in medical services in the developing world.

  • Agriculture and food production: we will soon need to feed a world of 10 billion, and the World Bank believes growth in agriculture can have up to four times the poverty alleviation power of other forms of economic growth.

  • Data for good: access to the benefits of the digital revolution have not been shared equally and new information technologies can transform education, governance, finance and the economy for the benefit of all.

The summit takes place over one and a half days and is completely free - we just want you to bring your relevant perspective, expertise or experience.

On day 1, keynote speakers will discuss the pressing challenges and the innovations that could help to solve them. You’ll also hear about how challenge prize initiatives can be part of the solution - what they do and how they work.

On day 2, roll up your sleeves for a day of intensive workshops. You’ll spend a day focusing on one of the three topics, mapping out its future, identifying problems that need to be solved, and designing challenge initiatives that can solve them.

Together with our partner institutions, we will use the insights from these sessions to launch the next generation of multi-million pound challenge prizes: the Summit isn’t just a chance to meet and interact with experts from around the world, it’s an opportunity to shape and inform programmes that will change the world.

The event builds on a successful previous Summit we held at the Royal Society in London with the Gates Foundation, NASA, USAID, XPRIZE Foundation and many others. The event sparked several multi-million-dollar challenges including a £100m fund to address the toughest challenges in cancer, led by Cancer Research UK.


Olivier Usher

Olivier Usher

Olivier Usher

Head of Research, Challenge Works


Oli leads Challenge Works research team. He helps to identify promising areas for innovation and choose the most impactful focus for new prizes.

View profile