Inventor Prize

Key Features

The £50,000 Inventor Prize is looking for the UK’s best inventions that help make people’s lives better. The competition is looking for innovative and exciting new products that haven’t been on sale before.

Programme:     Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Award:     Up to £50K

Opens: 9th Aug 2017

Closes: 22nd Oct 2017

! This scheme is now closed

The Inventor Prize is a pilot, run by Nesta and funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The prize aims to help smaller inventors overcome the barriers they face. The Inventor Prize wants to support individuals, teams or companies that would likely struggle to otherwise access resources and support. Unlike other programmes, the Inventor Prize will be athematic, open to products that relate to any issue as long as that product helps to make people’s lives better, thereby helping to tackle a social issue affecting the UK.


Judging Criteria

The Prize is looking for ideas that best meet the following judging criteria:

Criterion One: INNOVATION

  • Does the product introduce a completely new approach to solving the problem? Or is it an adaptation or improvement of an existing idea?
  • Is the product significantly different from solutions already available? Is it new, aspirational, exciting, but practical?


The entrant should demonstrate a real understanding of how their product could help make the lives of people in the UK better. Explaining what the need is and how the product addresses that need.

  • Does the applicant demonstrate how their product could help make the lives of people in the UK better?
  • Does the applicant demonstrate understanding of the issue that their product could help to tackle?
  • Has the applicant explored who can benefit from their idea?


Entrants should demonstrate an understanding of the relevant safety standards and regulations and how their product will seek to meet them, as well as being of high quality and attractive to users.

  • Will it be easy to use, safe and durable?
  • Does the applicant demonstrate understanding of how the product can be tested to ensure it’s desirable, effective and easy to use?
  • Will the product be desirable and functional?


Entrants should consider who would buy their product and how much it will cost them to buy it. Entrants should ensure that their product is accessible and affordable to the potential users. Demonstrating an understanding of their target audience and ways to ensure successful commercialisation and the growth potential of their product.

  • Has the applicant considered and researched possible business models?
  • Has the applicant considered how their product could be to taken to market?
  • Has the target audience been identified?

Competition themes:

Financial Inclusion

Many people lack access to appropriate financial services, or simply lack the financial and digital knowledge in order to manage their money effectively. Click here for more details.

Mental Health

Mental health issues are prevalent in society, too many people suffer from stress, anxiety and depression and struggle to manage their mental health.  Click here for more details.


Everybody ages, and the UK population is no exception. As people age, they come with both an increasing contribution to society, as well as number of challenges.  Click here for more details.

Air Quality

Poor air quality is one of the most serious public health risks facing us today.  Click here for more details.



  • UK based – individual inventors, small teams and small companies
  • Entrants will have to have a working model of their product that demonstrates what the product is able to do. Entrants must be able to explain how their invention will help make the lives of people in the UK better (PLEASE NOTE THE COMPETITION IS LOOKING FOR physical and digital products that are new and not currently on the market or available commercially)
  • It is important that the development of the idea is co-created with its intended users during the prize
  • Entrants must ensure that they have the capacity, or can have a realistic plan for how to develop or acquire the capacity, they need to develop their product during the prize
  • Willingness to share the idea (Intellectual Property remains with entrant)
  • Prize funding will only be awarded for projects that have an identifiable public benefit related to the aims of the prize and Nesta’s charitable objectives and where any private benefit to individuals, companies or shareholders is incidental and not excessive.  All prize funding will be awarded in the form of grants for the continued development of the idea.

For further information on eligibility, click here.


£50,000 will be awarded to the finalist that best demonstrate meeting the judging criteria. There will be two runner up prizes of £5,000 and £15,000 for two most promising products.