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

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

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

Alamy Stock Photo

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 – the 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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