Launch of the Longitude Prize on Dementia

The challenge prize will foster the creation of personalised, technology-based tools co-created with people living with the early stages of dementia to enable them to live independently and do the things they enjoy.

Challenge Works – a social enterprise founded by UK innovation agency Nesta – has launched the Longitude Prize on Dementia with funding from Innovate UK and Alzheimer’s Society, with support from the Medical Research Council (MRC), The Hunter Foundation, CareTech Foundation and Heather Corrie.

The prize will support innovators around the world using artificial intelligence to create breakthrough technologies that learn from a person living with dementia. Supported technologies can employ artificial intelligence and machine learning to adapt as the condition progresses, bridging the cognitive gaps that develop with the disease. This will ultimately help people living with the disease to maintain their independence and lead a fulfilling life doing things they enjoy.

The winning solution will be a digital device or service designed for use by people living with dementia as the primary users. It must be able to demonstrate a transformational improvement in the lives of users, helping them to retain independence in one or more of the areas that contribute to their wellbeing and quality of life, including essential activities of daily living, communication and social interactions; and other activities that enable them to lead a fulfilling life doing things they enjoy.

Using advances in science and technology, such as AI and applications of big data, the winning innovation will be tailored to individual users and adapt to their changing needs over a sustained period of time. These technologies must be empowering for the user, overcoming existing ethics, design and technology challenges to develop a solution that is easy and enjoyable to use for people living with dementia as they transition through some of the pivotal transition points along the journey through the early to mid-stages of dementia.

Applications are accepted from individuals and academic groups, companies or non-profits, as well as partnerships between these worldwide.

Applicants must commit to co-designing their solutions with people living with dementia. Entries should be at the proof of concept stage (and should reference existing technologies and processes to back up claims) at the time of application.

A total of £4.34 million is available through the prize. £1 million will be awarded to the winner in early 2026, while the remaining £3.34 million will take the form of seed funding and grants to the most promising innovators. The schedule of funding is as follows:

  • In 2023, 23 Discovery Awardees will be awarded with grants of £80,000 over a 12-month period to support the development and validation of their solutions. Participants are expected to have developed a prototype by the end of this period.
  • In 2024, five of the 23 Discovery Awardees will be selected to receive grants of £300,000 to fund 15 months’ of further capacity building support.
  • The £1 million prize winner will be selected in February 2026.

Non-financial support is also available to provide innovators with crucial insight and expertise, including: access to data; collaborations with people living with dementia; and expert advice on product design and business aspects of the innovation.

Applications must be submitted in English by the 26 January 2023 (12:00 GMT) deadline.

(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect Newsflash.)