Martin Rees: Why challenge prizes can solve our most pressing issues

Martin Rees: Why challenge prizes can solve our most pressing issues

Martin Rees: Why challenge prizes can solve our most pressing issues

Martin Rees at the 2017 Hay Festival of Literature in Hay on Wye, UK

Keith Morris/Hay Ffotos/Alamy

The Oscars. The Booker prize. The Nobels. The award ceremonies that punctuate our year are all inherently backward-looking, celebrating past achievements. But there is another type of award, one that looks to the future – a challenge prize. Such prizes don’t recognise past successes, rather incentivise future ones.

The idea is simple: a challenge is selected – with a clear-cut target – and a jackpot is offered to whoever first reaches that goal. Examples include the Longitude prize on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which has…


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