Longitude Prize 2014

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Longitude Prize 2014
Sponsored by
Reward(s) £10 million
Website www.longitudeprize.org

The Longitude Prize 2014 is an inducement prize contest offered by Nesta, a British lottery funded charity, in the spirit of the 18th-century Longitude prize.[1]

The prize was announced by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, in 2012, and a shortlist of six challenges to be put to a public vote was announced at Broadcasting House in May 2014.[2][3]

It was announced on 25 June 2014 that the prize will be awarded for antibiotics.

Candidate challenges[edit]

The six challenges as selected by a committee are:

  • Flight - How can we fly without damaging the environment?
Design and build an aeroplane that is as close to zero carbon as possible and capable of flying from London to Edinburgh
  • Food - How can we ensure everyone has nutritious sustainable food?
The next big food innovation
  • Antibiotics - How can we prevent the rise of resistance to antibiotics?
Create a cost-effective, accurate, easy to use test for bacterial infections.
  • Paralysis - How can we restore movement to those with paralysis?
Give paralysed people the freedom of movement most of us enjoy
  • Water - How can we ensure everyone has access to safe and clean water?
Create a cheap, environmentally sustainable desalination technology
  • Dementia - How can we help people with dementia live independently for longer?
Develop intelligent, affordable technologies to help independence

Longitude Committee[edit]

A committee,[4] chaired by Martin Rees,[5] the Astronomer Royal, chose the six challenges that will be put to a public vote.[2] The committee members are:

Public vote[edit]

The British public chose the focus of the prize from the shortlisted six choices.[2] The prize was a focus of an episode of the BBC science programme Horizon.[2] The result was announced on The One Show on BBC 1 on 25 June.[2] and the winner was antibiotics. The Longitude Committee will decide the subsequent format of the prize and the specific challenges that must be met to win.[2]

The competition website explains that the challenge for the Longitude Prize will be "to create a cheap, accurate, rapid and easy-to-use point of care test kit for bacterial infections."[6] The committee issued a draft of the criteria with a two-week opportunity for open review, which finished 10 August 2014.[7]

The vote was urged and welcomed by the Catherine Ball of the Biochemical Society:

"This is an issue which must be urgently addressed...what is really scary is that the threat of AMR (Antimicrobial resistance) is insidiously building; unless we act now it will creep up on the world and influence practically every area of modern medicine...To me, antibiotic resistance is the obvious choice for the Longitude Prize; indeed, without antibiotics many of the discoveries in the other challenge areas could be rendered useless."[8]

It was also welcomed by Jamie Reed, Shadow Minister for Health and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Antibiotics, who said "The scale of the challenge that antimicrobial resistance presents is beyond any doubt and new innovative thinking is essential."[9]


  1. ^ "Longitude Prize 2014: six great challenges of our time – as it happened". The Guardian. 20 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "BBC to kick off poll for £10m Longitude research prize". The Guardian. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Should we give the Longitude Prize some latitude?, Stephen Curry, The Guardian, 23 May 2014
  4. ^ The Longitude Committee 2014
  5. ^ Rees, Martin (2014). "A Longitude Prize for the twenty-first century". Nature. 509 (7501): 401. doi:10.1038/509401a. PMID 24848027. 
  6. ^ "Antibiotics". Longitude Prize 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Longitude Prize 2014 antibiotics - paper for open review". Nesta. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  8. ^ Ball, Catherine J. (30 May 2014). "Longitude Prize 2014". Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "Antibiotics wins the 2014 Longitude Prize!". British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 

External links[edit]