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.

Help us find 2018’s New Radicals

Britain has no shortage of lists: lists of the rich, the powerful and the well-connected, and lists of famous sportsmen and women or film stars. But we thought it would be valuable to create a very different list, to celebrate people with creative ideas who were putting them into practice, usually well below the radar of media attention.

The idea was to create a list that didn’t just celebrate people who were already getting plenty of recognition - but rather a list that could itself be a catalyst for change

By giving the list the name ‘New Radicals’ we also wanted to celebrate, and refresh a great British tradition of practical radicalism.

That tradition tends to be obscured by what sometimes feels like a tsunami of TV series celebrating the royals or grandee political figures like Winston Churchill. Yet it has arguably had more direct influence on our daily lives; through everything from achieving votes for women, to the NHS and the dynamic civil society we now take for granted.

That’s why, for the fourth time, we’re working in partnership with The Observer to find a new generation of radicals working in the UK today. We’re asking you to nominate the people and projects who are challenging the status quo and working determinedly for the benefit of their communities and beyond.

From giving support to refugees, to ensuring young people and adults have the skills they need, to innovative ways of dealing with mental health or the challenges of ageing, what matters is that the nominees are already making change happen, and have the potential to achieve far more.

So, between now and 11.59pm on 29 April 2018, we’re inviting you to nominate a group or individual to be included on the list. Our panel of judges, which includes the actor Michael Sheen, the founder and CEO of Cracked It, Josh Babarinde, and the writer and novelist, Kerry Hudson, will then decide who makes it through to the final 50, announced in September.

The last round of New Radicals in 2016 attracted well over 1,000 nominations, and this year we’ll be compiling the list based on the following criteria:

  • Organisations of all sizes will be considered, ranging from one-person-shows to established companies. However, the project, initiative or company must have been going for at least six months and not in operation before January 2015
  • Entries must be able to demonstrate evidence of success and sustainability
  • All entries must be based in the UK and not be primarily motivated by profit

Here’s a reminder of the inspirational people and organisations we featured in the 2014 and 2016 lists.

So do please nominate people and projects you think deserve more attention and emulation. With the country divided down the middle over Brexit, and a national debate that often feels listless and sullen, here’s a chance to celebrate the energy of people who don’t just talk but are also acting to make the world a better place.

Help us get the word out by sharing the call on Twitter using #50Radicals

Part of
New Radicals


Geoff Mulgan

Geoff Mulgan

Geoff Mulgan

Chief Executive Officer

Geoff Mulgan was Chief Executive of Nesta from 2011-2019.

View profile