Longitude Explorer Prize open to UK secondary schools

Teams of secondary school students from around the UK can now enter the Longitude Explorer Prize, a creative tech challenge with a £10,000 grand prize. Run by innovation foundation Nesta, supported by technology company IBM, schools will compete for a cash prize plus expert mentoring from IBM.

In the spirit of the 18th century Longitude Prize, which set the task of determining a ship’s exact location at sea, the contest for schools now focuses on solving a contemporary challenge using technology. School teams can enter the prize at www.longitudeexplorer.challenges.org, until 3 March 2017 (3pm GMT).

This year’s Explorer Prize challenges young people to develop innovative, creative and practical solutions that use web-enabled technology – the ‘Internet of Things’ – to improve the health and wellbeing of people in the UK. Teams can focus on any health issue facing the country from childhood obesity to mental wellbeing and respiratory health, and are responsible not only for building the technological solution but also budgeting its development, designing how it looks and planning how it’s marketed.

Teams of students aged 11 to 16, supported by a teacher or youth leader, are eligible to enter the contest and will have until Friday 3 March 2017 to submit their plans. Finalists will then visit IBM’s London offices, where they will work on their ideas with mentoring from the technology company’s team of Internet of Things specialists. Teams will also be trained in the use of cutting edge ‘cognitive’ computing tools, intelligent platforms that are able to think, understand and learn. Winners will be announced before the end of school summer term 2017, with a first place prize of £10,000 and two runner-up prizes of £1,000.

The first Longitude Explorer Prize, launched in 2014, focused on geolocation and attracted over 60 entries. The competition was won by an all-girl team from Rendcomb College in Gloucestershire who took home the first prize for their app, Displaced, designed to help charities to coordinate the logistics of supporting vulnerable people around the world.

www.longitudeexplorer.challenges.org