The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation – which encourages ambitious and talented sub-Saharan African engineers to apply their skills to develop scalable solutions to local challenges – is receiving applications till June 30, 2016.
The prize, organised by the Royal Academy of Engineering, highlights the importance of engineering as an enabler of improved quality of life and economic development with an aim to stimulate, celebrate and reward innovation and entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa.
Applications are invited from engineers in sub-Saharan Africa who have developed an innovation that can provide scalable solutions to local challenges. Engineers from all engineering disciplines are invited to enter, who can provide a letter of support from a university or research institution.
Shortlisted applicants will receive a six-month package of tailored support to help them achieve commercial success from their innovation. The overall winner of the 25,000 British Pounds (US $ 35,750) prize will be announced at a high-profile event in May 2017.
Following the closing date, a shortlist of applicants will be identified to receive a six month period of mentoring and training. The mentoring and training will be structured to give participants the skills and knowledge to develop their technology further, with a view towards successful commercialisation; strengthen and develop their existing business plans and prepare them for pitching and forge links with potential partners, investors and customers.
The training (conducted in English) will take a number of forms but will require that during the six months you are able to commit time to these activities.
The training period will run from Monday October 3, 2016 to Friday March 31,2017. During this time, two week-long immersion sessions will be arranged (taking place in Africa), training and mentoring outside of these times will take place remotely via skype, telephone calls and an online course.
Shortlisted applicants will be expected to submit a full business plan, from a provided template, for the consideration of the Judging Panel by Friday March 31, 2017. Afterwards, the Judging Panel will then identify three finalists, who will be invited to present their work in person at an event taking place in Africa in May 2017.
The Prize will be awarded following an assessment of these presentations by the Judging Panel. Finalists will also be invited to an exhibition taking place in London, England.
Applicants must have developed (or co-developed), or be in the process of developing (or co-developing) a new technological innovation. Applicants should also have the ambition to take a leading role in creating a new business to commercialise this innovation.
Applicants must be be from sub-Saharan Africa and be individuals or groups of no more than three people and currently reside there. For teams of two or three, the lead applicant must be a citizen of a country within sub-Saharan Africa and currently reside there. Applicants must also have an engineering innovation and provide a letter of support from a university of research institution while industrial researchers and establishments are not eligible.
The applicant’s innovation can be any new product, technology or service, based on research in engineering defined in its broadest sense to encompass a wide range of fields, including: agricultural technology, biotechnology, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer science, design engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, ICT, materials science, mechanical engineering, and medical engineering.
Applications submissions date opened on Tuesday March 1, 2016 and closes on Thursday June 30, 2016.
The Academy will continue to monitor and evaluate the success of the Africa Prize shortlist against its objectives. After the programme, all shortlisted candidates will be expected to provide brief progress reports to The Academy about the progress of their business 6 months and 18 months after the final event.