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.

The inaugural Challenges of our Era Summit included contributions from NASA, USAID and The Gates Foundation, tackling a range of big societal, global challenges which require additional impetus and creativity to enable innovative solutions.

This event pulled together global leaders and thinkers in diverse fields to identify innovation shortages where multi-disciplinary approaches and new innovations could be encouraged to solve global problems

Challenge Prizes can stimulate huge entrepreneurial activity and invention to solve problems which have been identified as requiring additional stimulus and inter-disciplinary problem solving;

This summit aimed to mix the people with the ideas, drive and vision to influence our world.

The Challenges of our Era Summit focused on identifying potential for stimulating innovation and finding solutions in the following four areas:

  1. Empowering Women and Girls
  2. Access to a Connected World
  3. Reducing the risk of developing cancer
  4. The survival of the oceans

Additionally, plenary sessions, discussions and panels collated global leaders in innovation, entrepreneurship, technology and science - including entrepreneur Naveen Jain, who explored the potential for using technology to inspire young people with musician and innovator will.i.am.


Lord Martin Rees

Astronomer Royal

Esther Dyson

Founder, HICCup

Steven Buchsbaum

Deputy Director, Discovery & Translational Sciences, Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation

Peter Singer

Chief Executive Officer, Grand Challenges Canada

Paul Rose

Expedition Leader – Pristine Seas Expeditions, National Geographic

Prof. Nic Jones

Chief Scientist, Cancer Research UK

Paul Bunje

Senior Director, X-Prize Foundation

Jenn Gustetic

Assistant Director, Open Innovation, The Whitehouse

Anne Jellema

CEO, World Wide Web Foundation

Carolyn Hardy

Board Member, Amnesty International, United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women