The race to revolutionise healthcare is on…Longitude Prize opens to competitors
Today marks a momentous occasion for Nesta as the Longitude Prize opens to competitors. We’ve been on a great journey to get here and now we embark on an exciting voyage of discovery.
The Longitude Prize is a challenge with a £10 million fund that aims to conserve antibiotics for future generations and revolutionise the delivery of global healthcare. It commemorates the 300th anniversary of the Longitude Act, when the British government asked the public to come forward with an innovation to determine longitude at sea - one of the greatest challenges of the 18th century.
"Ambition is high, we want to achieve a result that is truly life-changing for the world"
Although so many years have passed, the new Longitude Prize shares some important features; the challenge is one of the greatest global issues of our time, and the ambition is high, we want to achieve a result that is truly life-changing for the world and engage with as many people as possible.
Today’s prize was announced in 2013 by Prime Minister David Cameron and earlier this year we partnered with the BBC to kick start interest in the prize with a public vote.
The UK public selected the topic of the prize, from six of the world’s biggest issue areas:
The list was compiled by the Longitude Committee, an eminent group of scientists and innovators who will ultimately pick the winner of the Longitude Prize.
After five weeks of voting, the public chose antibiotic resistance to be the subject of the prize. Fast forward six months and after in-depth research and planning, we are now opening the prize to entrants across the world.
Today we’re publishing the final criteria, and encouraging individuals and teams to register and take part. We’re also announcing our Prize Advisory Panel, a group of global experts in developing and delivering a project of this kind.
"We need to act now so that future generations can have the security we have enjoyed for almost 80 years"
Why antibiotic resistance?
Antibiotic resistance is an issue that affects all of our lives. It threatens the security that modern medicine has brought us, and our freedom to live without fear of getting very sick and even dying from common infections caused by injury, simple operations, and other illnesses.
Resistance to antibiotics occurs naturally in bacteria but we are accelerating the issue by misusing and overusing antibiotics. We need to act now so that future generations can have the security we have enjoyed for almost 80 years.
Tackling antibiotic resistance will take a global effort. Through the prize we hope to bring about a radical new test to detect and understand bacterial infections, helping to make sure the right antibiotic is used at the right time. We’re also working in partnership with organisations in the UK and around the world, to help turn up the level of noise on this issue.
What are we looking for?
Entries to Longitude Prize need to develop a transformative test to show when antibiotics are needed and, if they are, which ones to use. The test must:
- be accurate to inform treatment decisions
- be affordable to everyone who needs it
- provide a result within 30 minutes
- be easy to use in any location, anywhere in the world
If you have a great idea then please register for the prize, we want to encourage individuals and organisations from all areas of innovation, science and health to come forward. We are accepting entries through our website. Competitors have up to five years to find a solution and win the prestigious Longitude Prize.
Throughout the prize’s lifespan, there will be regular submissions deadlines. After these deadlines, entries will be reviewed and potential winning solutions will be put forward to the Longitude Committee based on the recommendations of the Advisory Panel. The winner of the Longitude Prize could be selected at any stage throughout the five-year period.
Simultaneously, the prize will be running an award for early-stage, promising developments called the Longitude Discovery award. This award will provide support to promising competitors to develop their ideas, and further details will be announced in 2015.
We couldn’t have got to this day without the support and advice of many individuals and organisations throughout the Longitude journey. We’re really grateful to all of our partners, including our funding partner Innovate UK, and also the BBC, Amazon UK, National Maritime Museum and the Science Museum who have enabled us to reach millions of people.
Hundreds of experts have also given their time and expertise to help us shape the prize over the past months. We’re extremely grateful to them for getting us to this incredible day.
This is an issue that affects all of us, and all of us can get involved. Enter the prize, spread the word, or find out more about the issue. The race is on for all of us…
Photo credit: Matt Alexander/PA Wire. Portrait of Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin, by Nathan Wyburn using antibiotic capsules.