Tackling the world’s greatest challenges


What can be done to tackle the rise of the superbug? How can we as a society best deal with dementia? How can we make air travel environmentally friendly?

These are some of the “greatest issues of our time” which students are being asked to investigate as part of the £10 million Longitude Prize 2014.

The challenge commemorates the 300th anniversary of the original Longitude Prize, which was set up to find a way of pinpointing a ship’s longitude at sea.

The modern version of the challenge is run by innovation charity Nesta and will see the public vote on which issue should form the focus of the final challenge. The six issues are:

  • Tackling superbugs.

  • Dealing with dementia.

  • Providing safe water for all.

  • Providing a healthy diet for all.

  • Restoring movement after paralysis.

  • Environmentally-friendly air travel.

The schools part of the programme is inviting students aged 10 to 14 to explore and champion some of these challenges by forming up to six groups and running their own voting campaign to help “identify and understand the issues better”. 

A range of free resources have been developed by Nesta and the National Schools Partnership to help schools introduce and discuss the issues.

Students taking part have the chance to win prizes including a behind-the-scenes visit to the Science Museum and a VIP trip to the National Maritime Museum, both in London.

The deadline for entries in June 25. For more on the Longitude Prize, visit www.longitudeprize.org. To find out more about the schools part of the challenge, visit www.nationalschoolspartnership.com/nesta

To vote to decide the final focus of The Longitude Prize 2014, visit www.bbc.co.uk/horizon


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