The Centre for Challenge Prizes at Nesta is launching two prizes to harness UK ingenuity to increase the number of people cycling across the UK. The prizes are supported by Nesta and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.
Nest was founded as NESTA, the National Endowment For Science Technology and The Arts, in 1998. Originally a Government agency funded by the National Lottery, in 2011 Nesta became an independent innovation foundation with charitable status.
Nesta says: "We help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. We do this by providing investments and grants and mobilising research, networks and skills."
The organisation's work is enabled by an endowment from the National Lottery.
Two 'Cycling Challenges' have been announced by Nesta.
£50,000 is on offer for the device which foils a bike thief for the longest. The innovation will be also judged on the impact on the environment, cost and potential for commercialisation. The deadline for entries to 'Hands Off My Bike' is 18 January 2013
A further £25,000 is available for the winner of the Workplace Cycle Challenge Prize, a promotion supported by CTC and Challenge for Change.
All UK workplaces with more than 10 employees, which come up with new ways of increasing the number of employees cycling to and from work, will be eligible to enter. The deadline is 12th October 2012. One employer will win the top prize with another £25,000 spread amongst a number of other firms.
Offering cash prizes to incentivise breakthrough innovations is a time-honoured practice. Famous examples of challenge prizes include the Ansari X-Prize for manned private spaceflight, the 18th century Longitude Prize to help British navigators, or the 20th century Schneider Trophy for aviation, which inspired the Spitfire.
The Centre for Challenge Prizes are available in a number of industries.