What is the Longitude Explorer Prize?

About Longitude Explorer

Longitude Explorer Prize is open to secondary schools and youth groups across the UK, to enter teams of 11-16 year olds with ideas for tech that will help improve the world around them. 

For our 2019 Prize, we’re calling out for participants to submit ideas that use Artificial Intelligence (AI) across our four themes, based on the government’s Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges, to help people live longer (helping the older generation to stay independent and active), live better (helping people live healthier), live together (through better transportation and tech) and live greener (helping tackle pollution and energy saving).

Longitude Explorer is delivered across the academic year, and teams that progress through the Prize will be able to turn their idea into a reality, as we supply hardware, software and mentors to help develop business cases and prototypes for their product.

The Prize is completely free to enter and, following an exciting Dragon’s Den pitching event in July 2020, the winning team will win £25,000 for their school or youth group.


Our themes: How can we use AI to help...

Timeline 2019/20 (Click and drag below)

23 Sept 2019

Applications open!

We launch this year’s prize!

29 Nov 2019

Deadline for entries

All entries are due by 5pm!

Dec 2019

Semi-finalists are informed

We will have up to 60 semi-finalists move onto the next round!

Jan 2020

Semi-finalists induction event

The Longitude Explorer Prize will host an event for the (up to) 60 finalists.

March 2020

Finalists are shortlisted

We have out judges pick up to 30 finalists.

April 2020

Finalists development event

We will hold an event to help out finalists through to the next stage of pitching.

July 2020

Dragons Den style pitches and winner announced

We will be holding an event where finalist teams will pitch their projects. The winner will then be announced!

Join our mailing list

For more info and updates on the prize, our newsletter is your one stop shop.


Where did the Longitude Explorer Prize come from?

2014 marked the 300th anniversary of the original Longitude Prize, the first incentive prize of its kind set up by the British government to solve the problem of extensive losses at sea by enabling sailors to navigate accurately by knowing their exact coordinates. The eventual solution was unexpected. A humble clock-maker John Harrison developed the chronometer that went on to save thousands from peril and herald a new era of innovation.

In celebration of this amazing achievement, in 2014 Nesta extended its drive for innovation to young people all over the UK by engaging them in the Longitude Explorer Prize – a pilot programme for secondary school students aiming to enhance their STEM skills as well as soft and entrepreneurship abilities.

The first Longitude Explorer Prize 2014 engaged young people (aged 11-16) in satellite navigation in a completely new way. The all female team won £25,000 for their school as well as individual prizes. Their idea, Displaced, is a mobile app which help local charities support homeless people in their community. You can find more details about the pilot Longitude Explorer Prize 2014 here.

The second Longitude Explorer prize challenged young people (aged 11-16) to develop innovative, practical solutions that use the Internet of Things to improve health and wellbeing of people in the UK.  A prototype that helps people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder to communicate, won a £10,000 prize at the award event. You can find more details about the pilot Longitude Explorer Prize 2017 here and by watching our video below.