The University of Southampton

Dame Wendy Hall plays leading role in 21st century Longitude Prize

Published: 6 June 2014

Professor Dame Wendy Hall is one of the judges for a new £10M prize which has been launched to solve one of the greatest scientific problems facing the world today.

The innovation charity NESTA, in collaboration with the Technology Strategy Board, the BBC and other partners, has launched the Longitude Prize 2014 to find solutions to one of six key global challenges: dementia, antibiotics, flight, water, paralysis and food.

The competition idea is based on the 1714 Longitude Prize, which was won by John Harrison, whose innovative clocks enabled sailors to pinpoint their position at sea for the first time.

Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Dean of the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, is a member of the Longitude Committee, which features experts from across the scientific world and who will judge all entries and decide the winner.

Dame Wendy recently appeared in the special 50th anniversary edition of the BBC science series Horizon to launch the prize and presented the argument for how smart devices and new technology can help people with dementia. “This is a great opportunity for us to tackle some of the biggest issues facing society today," she commented. "I believe technology offers us a great opportunity to help people with dementia to live independently for longer in their own homes.”

It is estimated that 135 million people worldwide will have dementia by 2050, which will mean a greater personal and financial cost to society. With no existing cure, there is a need to find ways to support a person’s dignity, physical and emotional wellbeing. The challenge is to develop intelligent, affordable integrated technologies that revolutionise care for people with dementia, enabling them to live independent lives.

The six themes are being put to a public vote to determine which one will be adopted as the winning prize challenge. Voting is open until 25 June, through the Horizon website and by text.

The winning challenge will be announced on 25 June, and will become the focus of the £10M prize fund. The Longitude Committee will then finalise the criteria for how the prize will be awarded, and from September anyone will be able to submit their ideas to the competition judges. The Longitude Prize will run for five years, or until the prize is won.

Longitude Prize

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