Young inventors offered share of £1m to tackle air pollution and climate change

They are being encouraged to build prototypes that uses AI and data to help the UK become greener and clean up transport among others

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Young entrepreneurs are being offered a share of £1 million to develop apps and technology of the future that can help reduce air pollution and tackle climate change.

The Longitude Explorer Prize, run by NESTA Challenges and which will start in September, is encouraging 11 to 16-year olds to build prototypes seizing the economic opportunities of becoming greener, cleaning up transport, artificial intelligence (AI) and data as well as healthy ageing.

It will be delivered across the academic year, with support and guidance materials provided to teachers.

Winners from the first round will be given the chance to work with expert mentors from industry and be offered the chance to test their ideas in a Dragon’s Den-style pitch to experts, with the chance of winning up to £10,000 for their school.

The innovations need to be readily accessible for people across the country.

One of the entries from the previous NESTA pilot scheme was a device connecting to mobile phones to measure air quality.

Science and Innovation Minister Chris Skidmore said: “Becoming greener, ageing healthily, cleaning up our transport and how we use AI and big data, they are today’s grand challenges and opportunities that can put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future.

“This new competition will not only help thousands of young people seize these opportunities but also become the next generation of digital entrepreneurs to stay at the global cutting edge of innovation – a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”

Tris Dyson, Executive Director of Nesta Challenges added: “As part of the UK’s innovation foundation, Nesta Challenges is at the forefront of supporting and accelerating great ideas to solve some of the biggest challenges of our time – whether that’s the challenge of bacterial resistance or using drones for social good. Challenge Prizes are a proven way to help bring to life the ideas of entrepreneurs and innovators – creating products that make a real difference to society.”