New Prize to support dementia tech innovation

June 23, 2022

The Alzheimer’s Society, Innovate UK and the Medical Research Council (MRC) have announced a partnership to launch a new £4.1m Longitude Prize on Dementia.

Innovators will seek to develop the next generation of assistive technologies which can change the way people with dementia live their lives.

Opening for entries this September, global innovators will be invited to develop technologies that learn about the lives and routines of people living with early-stage dementia, employing assistive technology and machine learning to adapt as their condition progresses.

Delivered by challenge prize experts, Challenge Works (the new name of Nesta Challenges), the £4.1m Longitude Prize on Dementia will award £3.1m in seed funding and grants to the most promising innovators, with a £1m prize awarded to the winner in early 2026.

In addition, wider support has been funded to provide innovators with crucial insight and expertise, facilitating whatever they need to bring their ideas to life – like access to data, collaborations with people living with dementia, and dementia organisations in the UK and around the world, advice on product design, user experience and business mentoring.

Inspired by the original Longitude Prize of 1714, the Longitude Prize on Dementia will incentivise a new generation of assistive technologies, supporting people to remain independent in their own homes as long as possible – one of the best ways to slow the advance of the disease.

Kate Lee, Chief Executive Officer, Alzheimer’s Society said, ‘As the UK’s leading dementia charity, the Alzheimer’s Society is a vital source of support for everyone affected by dementia. We know that there are treatments around the corner but we want to change the way people are living with dementia now. Current technologies supporting dementia care focus on monitoring people and alerting their carers but there are real opportunities for innovation that will support people to live joyfully and independently. The Longitude Prize on Dementia will deliver technologies that become an extension of the individual’s working ‘brain’ and memory in a way that is specific to their needs – enabling them to continue living at home and doing the things they love for as long as possible.’

The Longitude Prize on Dementia is the second modern Longitude Prize delivered by Challenge Works, with the Longitude Prize on AMR launched in 2014 calling on innovators to develop novel diagnostic tests to tackle the rise of antimicrobial resistance, also known as superbugs. The Longitude Prize on AMR will accept final submissions from diagnostics innovators later this year.

Since 2012, Challenge Works has run more than 80 prizes, in global health, climate change and pollution, consumer services, and frontier technologies. To date, it has distributed £84 million in funding and engaged with 12,000 innovators.

Visit the Challenge works website to find out more information.

In other news, The Relatives & Residents Association has co-signed a letter calling on the Government to provide pre-legislative scrutiny of the proposed Bill of Rights.

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