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.

Celebrating the innovators of tomorrow

The 36 Longitude Explorer Prize finalist ideas are testament to the hard work, resilience and entrepreneurial spirit of young people across the UK in the face of adversity.

The Longitude Explorer Prize is all about demystifying STEM and entrepreneurship, through encouraging young people who don't see themselves as being part of these industries to participate/take part and providing an opportunity to unlock their potential.

In the spirit of this, we decided to do something special with this year's prize. For the first time ever, we are opening up one of our awards to the public. We’re asking people to engage with the brilliant solutions the teams of young people have developed and to vote for their favourite - our very own ‘People’s Choice Award’

The 36 finalist teams are made up of two to five young people aged between 11 and 16 from across the UK, who have entered through their school or youth group.

Each team has taken an idea and developed it into a solution which uses Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), across one of the four themes, which are based on the government’s Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges, to help people in some way:

  1. Live longer: technology to help us stay independent and connected as we grow older.
  2. Live better: technology to help our bodies and minds stay healthy, and to help us feel better when we are sick.
  3. Live together: Technology to help us look after the planet and make our environments cleaner.
  4. Live greener: technology that connects us with other people, through safe and environmentally friendly transport.

The achievements of the finalists this year are perhaps even more significant, as for a large part of the prize, schools and youth groups have been closed due to COVID-19. This has created a range of additional challenges and hurdles for the teams in terms of managing communications, maintaining motivation and access to resources. Through the prize, we were able to offer the finalist teams various online activities to participate in, such as webinar workshops, access to technology if they needed it and a range of resources, all made freely available on the Longitude Explorer website. Although it hasn’t been easy for teams, they have persevered, with 90% out of the original finalists completing their final submission!

An outstanding feature of this whole competition is the level of support given to the teams and the amount and quality of resources.

Finalist Team Teacher

We are now asking the public to read and engage with these young peoples solutions by voting for their favourite. By doing so, people will not only help one of the teams win £5,000 for their school or youth groups, but they will also have the opportunity to learn more about the innovative ways young people have approached some of the most pressing issues our society is facing, from social isolation to sustainability, in the context of COVID-19 and beyond.

You have until the 3rd of July 2020 to to read how each solution is helping change the world and cast your vote: https://longitudeexplorer.challenges.org/vote/


Hannah Picton

Hannah Picton

Hannah Picton

Assistant Programme Manager, International Development and Education & Skills team

At Nesta Challenges, Hannah was an Assistant Programme Manager in the International Development and Education and Skills team.

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