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New prize aims to find UK’s best inventions

  • Nesta and BEIS launch £50,000 prize to find UK’s best invention
  • New prize offers “best job in the world”

The search is on to find and help hidden inventors! Run by innovation foundation Nesta, supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), The Inventor Prize is  a chance for UK’s budding inventors to receive professional mentoring and financial support to make their dreams a reality.  

The prize, supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), will give ten of the best new inventors £5,000 and personal mentoring to develop their invention. One inventor will be chosen to receive £50,000 to turn their dream into a reality in September 2018. This is a unique opportunity for amateur inventors to dust off their brilliant ideas and bring them into the light.

Key inventors including Jane ni Dhulchaointigh of Sugru are backing the Inventor Prize, with more celebrity ambassadors to be announced closer to the launch.

Britain’s makers, innovators and entrepreneurs are a huge asset to the economy adding £18 billion to the UK economy and supporting 298,000 jobs. The number of patents filed in the UK nearly doubled from 2161 patents in 2015 to 4122 patents in 2016.

The UK has also witnessed an explosion of over 100 makerspaces, fablabs, hackerspaces and community workshops across the country in the last decade.

Business secretary Greg Clark said:

“In every corner of the country there are people creating new inventions in response to life’s everyday problems. Through our Industrial Strategy and the Inventor Prize, we want to help turn incredible ideas into products available to everyone. New inventions can change the world, so I encourage everyone who thinks they have a great idea to apply.”

Constance Agyeman, Head of International Development and Communities, at Nesta commented:

“Nesta is calling for inventors all across the UK to enter this exciting new prize. We know so many people right now are solving complex problems that affect us all in innovative ways, creating products that could change people’s lives. We also know that Challenge Prizes, like this, are an effective catalyst to stimulating innovation and fast tracking success. So if you think of yourself as a budding inventor, life-hacker or DIY disrupter, then don’t miss your chance to enter this challenge and develop your idea further.”

Mark Champkins, Creative Director at Lego  and former inventor in residence at the Science Museum, comments:

“I believe that everybody has an invention in them and people just need to embrace their inner inventor.”

Entries to the Inventor Prize are open from today. For more information or to enter visit:


Notes to Editors

The Inventor Prize is run by innovation foundation Nesta, supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).  The Inventor prize was announced in Government’s Industrial Strategy green paper, launched January 2017. It aims to find Britain’s undiscovered inventions and prototypes and help their makers fast track to success - by gaining access to bespoke mentoring from business experts and giving them the confidence and expertise they need to turn their idea into real products.

Entries for the Inventor Prize must be for the development of a new product that addresses a societal problem affecting a number of people in the UK.

The idea/product can’t have been on sale before. While the product doesn’t have to be finished, the judging panel needs to be able to see a working prototype in action.

Ten finalists will then be selected by a panel of judges in November 2017 to receive £5,000 and bespoke mentoring to develop their idea. The overall winner of the Inventor Prize will be announced in September 2018 and will receive £50,000 to make their dream a reality.