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In the Challenge Prize Centre at Nesta we are experts and pioneers in challenge driven innovation.

Prizes act as a powerful incentive for meeting a specific challenge. They have a long and famous history: starting with the 18th century Longitude Prize to help British navigators 300 years ago, through to the 20th century Schneider Trophy for aviation, which inspired the Spitfire, and the 21st centry Ansari X-Prize, which has started the race for commercial spaceflight.

Orteig Prize

Launched in 2012, our Challenge Prize Centre is a hub of expertise on challenge prizes; as well as running prizes to help solve some of society's most pressing challenges, we aim to increase practical evidence and understanding about challenge prizes, and how they can be used effectively by governments, charities and businesses to have a tangible positive impact on society.

Our goal is to show that challenge prizes are not just effective at changing how things are done in the short term, but can also be used to help solve long term social challenges.

  • We unwrap problems to establish whether a challenge prize is the right mechanism.
  • We research the problem to understand how to best design the challenge.
  • We tailor prizes so that they are optimal in finding, testing and rewarding innovations that can impact on the major issues affecting our lives.
  • We can design and deliver, or support and build capacity. We always partner and collaborate, and whatever we do we only run prizes we know will work.

How we can help you run a prize

Find out about our service offers

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Meet the team and read our blogs