Young inventors urged to develop technology for a changing world - from climate change to healthy ageing

Young entrepreneurs are being challenged to develop the technology of the future - from measuring air pollution to helping everyone stay healthy as they get older.


  • £1 million competition urges entrepreneurs to create apps to seize business opportunities of becoming greener, ageing populations, cleaning up transport and the data revolution


  • prototypes to undergo Dragon’s Den-style scrutiny for chance to win £10,000 prize for their school


  • students to get chance to work with industry mentors to develop their products


Young entrepreneurs are being challenged to develop the apps and technology of the future - from measuring air pollution to helping everyone stay healthy as they get older.


Supported by almost £1 million of government investment, 11-to-16-year-old students across the country will compete to build prototypes. Entries to the competition need to seize the economic opportunities of becoming greener, healthy ageing, cleaning up transport and the artificial intelligence and data revolution – the 4 Grand Challenges identified in the government’s modern Industrial Strategy.


The extra-curricular Longitude Explorer Prize, run by NESTA Challenges, will start in September with first-round winners given the chance to work with expert mentors from industry. They will then be offered the chance to test their ideas in a Dragon’s Den-style pitch to experts with the chance to win cash prizes of up to £10,000 prize for their school.


Science and Innovation Minister Chris Skidmore said:


“Becoming greener, ageing healthily, cleaning up our transport and how we use AI and big data, they are today’s grand challenges and opportunities that can put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future.”


“This new competition will not only help thousands of young people seize these opportunities but also become the next generation of digital entrepreneurs to stay at the global cutting edge of innovation – a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”


Entries from the previous NESTA pilot scheme include:


  • wearable technology allowing students to discreetly notify teachers when they’re experience a panic attack;


  • a device connecting to mobile phones to measure air quality; and


  • a badge for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, which changes colour according to the wearer’s emotions.


The competition is open to 11-to-16-year-olds and encourages them to use using artificial intelligence (AI) and data, to address the government’s modern Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges:


  • Future of Mobility


  • Clean Growth


  • AI and Data


  • Ageing Society


The innovations need to be readily accessible for people around the country to help new technology and innovation can benefit all corners of the country and sections of society.


The competition will engage young people across the UK over the next academic year, increasing the number of young people with access to innovation programmes.