The Longitude Prize is an inducement prize contest offered by Nesta, a British lottery funded charity, in the spirit of the 18th-century Longitude rewards. It runs a £10 million prize fund, offering an £8 million payout to the team of researchers that develops an affordable, accurate, and fast point of care test for bacterial infection that is easy to use anywhere in the world. Such a test will allow the conservation of antibiotics for future generations and help solve the global problem of antimicrobial resistance.
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 the BBC's Broadcasting House in May 2014.
A committee chaired by Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal, chose the six challenges that were be put to a public vote, and subsequently decided the format of the prize and the specific challenges that must be met to win. The committee members 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.
The winner, antibiotics, was announced on The One Show on BBC 1 on 25 June. The committee issued a draft of the criteria with a two-week opportunity for open review, which finished 10 August 2014.
The vote was urged and welcomed by the Biochemical Society and Jamie Reed, the Shadow Minister for Health at the time and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Antibiotics (APPG-A), who said "The scale of the challenge that antimicrobial resistance presents is beyond any doubt and new innovative thinking is essential."
- "Longitude Prize 2014: six great challenges of our time – as it happened". The Guardian. 20 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- "Longitude Prize". Nesta. 2018. Retrieved 27 Feb 2019.
- "Challenge". Longitude Prize. Nesta. 2018. Retrieved 27 Feb 2019.
- "BBC to kick off poll for £10m Longitude research prize". The Guardian. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- Should we give the Longitude Prize some latitude?, Stephen Curry, The Guardian, 23 May 2014
- Rees, Martin (2014). "A Longitude Prize for the twenty-first century". Nature. 509 (7501): 401. doi:10.1038/509401a. PMID 24848027.
- The Longitude Committee 2014
- "Longitude Prize 2014 antibiotics - paper for open review". Nesta. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
- Ball, Catherine J. (30 May 2014). "Longitude Prize 2014". Retrieved 16 August 2014.
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.
- "Antibiotics wins the 2014 Longitude Prize!". British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. Retrieved 16 August 2014.