Why are we doing this?
In the spirit of the 18th Century Longitude Prize - a competition that set the task of determining a ship’s exact location at sea - the Longitude Explorer Prize focuses on how to solve a contemporary challenge using technology.
We want to provide a practical education opportunity for 11 to 16-year-olds in secondary schools and youth groups. We’re aiming to support them to develop their scientific and technological skills to enhance their learning, future STEM aspirations and prospects by taking part in a STEM challenge prize.
Find out more about the challenge.
What are we doing?
The second Longitude Explorer Prize challenged young people to develop innovative, practical solutions that use the Internet of Things to improve the health and wellbeing of people in the UK.
Areas of particular focus for teams might have included childhood obesity, physical activity, mental health and pollution, but ideas could relate to any health issue.
The prize was open to all secondary school pupils in the UK and entries were submitted from 9 January 2017 until 3 March 2017.
Around 10 teams were shortlisted for the final stage and invited to the induction event in London on 28 April 2017. The finalists were then supported by IBM experts to develop prototypes of their ideas.
We announced the winner at our awards event following presentations of finalists' prototypes to the judges. The overall winners were pupils from Southlands School, Lymington, who received £10,000 for their school for Octoptix, a prototype that helps people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder to communicate. Runner-up teams from Warwick School, Ursuline Academy Ilford and Bodmin College received £1,000 each.
In 1714, the British Government set up the Longitude Prize to solve the problem of how sailors would know their exact coordinates at sea. This was the first incentive prize of its kind. In 1765, a self-educated clockmaker, John Harrison, won the Longitude prize with his Chronometer. The solution led to massive innovation, including safer shipping, quicker trade, increased wealth and the start of globalisation (not to mention the invention of the portable timepiece).
The Longitude Explorer Prize builds on the tradition of more than 300 years of challenges advertised to involve the widest number of creative thinkers, in the belief that good ideas can come from anywhere. For more information, visit our Challenge Prize Centre.
Our first Longitude Explorer Prize in 2015 challenged young people to come up with ideas using satellite data for social good. Over a 10-month period, young people aged 11-16 worked hard to develop their technologies from concept to reality. An all-girl team from Rendcomb College won £25,000 for their school with their mobile app Displaced, which uses live data on homeless people and refugees collected from postings on social media accounts.
Two runner-up prizes of £5,000 were awarded to pupils from Sutton Grammar School in Surrey and Churston Grammar School in Devon. Find out more about the winners.