Science Practice is the lead research partner for Longitude Prize 2014, a project run by the Centre for Challenge Prizes at Nesta and funded in collaboration with Innovate UK.

As lead research partner our role was to design the structure of the six challenge prize candidates for the main Longitude Prize 2014. The topics for these prizes were Antibiotics, Dementia, Flight, Food, Paralysis, and Water.

Over six months in early 2014 we engaged with over 170 experts from around the world to first understand the challenges in each area, identify potential paths towards a solution, and finally shape them into six distinct prizes.

The aim of this process was to ensure that the resulting challenge prizes not only encourage innovation, but do so in a way that will have the greatest positive impact at a global scale. The resulting challenge prizes, their structure, as well as the decision making process behind them were presented as Challenge Reports.

In June 2014, following a month of open public vote, Antibiotics was selected as the challenge for Longitude Prize 2014. To learn more about this challenge and the types of solutions sought, have a look at our Antibiotics Report.

The Longitude Prize 2014 Candidates

The Longitude Act of 1714

The Longitude Prize 2014 aims to mirror the outcomes of the Longitude Act of 1714.

Drawing on the need for a solution to assess a ship’s longitude at sea, the original Act attracted significant interest from innovators and inventors across different fields of expertise.

Ultimately, it was John Harrison, a carpenter and clockmaker, who invented the marine chronometer which was able to keep time at sea and allow for the measurement of longitude by means of celestial navigation.

In celebration of 300 years since the Longitude Act was passed, the Longitude Prize 2014 aims to provoke both experts and driven problem-solvers to come up with a solution to one of the most pressing challenges of our times.

Research Methodology

Engaging with experts to help design the six challenge prizes was our main responsibility for the Longitude Prize. Using a design-led approach, this task became one of finding the most useful research stimulus to encourage constructive conversations. As our work on the project progressed, the types of stimulus used changed, as did our understanding of the different roles experts could play in this process.

6 Challenge Prizes designed

200 hours of interviews

170 experts consulted

Phase 1:
Challenge Mapping

Engaging with experts to create imagined landscapes mapping out the key barriers to innovation in the challenge areas.

Phase 2:
Challenge Prototyping

Designing the structure of the six challenge prizes by testing out different models with experts seen as potential competitors.

Phase 3:
Challenge Reporting

Summarising the decision-making process behind the structure of the challenge prizes and reviewing this with experts.

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