Seeking Canadian innovators for $6.4 million prize to develop life-changing technology for people with dementia
- The Longitude Prize on Dementia launches September 2022 calling for new assistive technologies that bridge cognitive gaps for people living with dementia.
- It will award $4.8 million of seed funding and development grants will be awarded to the most promising teams of innovators.
- First prize of $1.6 million to be awarded in early 2026.
- Supported by AGE-WELL in Canada, the prize is funded by the UK’s Alzheimer’s Society and Innovate UK, and delivered by challenge prize experts, Challenge Works.
(Toronto, ON) – AGE-WELL is joining forces with Challenge Works to support the new £4.1 million ($6.4 million CAD1) Longitude Prize on Dementia which will reward innovators developing assistive technologies for people living with dementia. It will incentivize a new generation of assistive technologies, supporting people to remain independent in their own homes as long as possible – one of the best ways to slow the advance of the disease.
The £4.1 million Longitude Prize on Dementia will award £3.1 million ($4.8 million CAD) in seed funding and grants to the most promising innovators, with a £1 million ($1.6 million CAD) prize awarded to the winner in early 2026. Funded by Alzheimer’s Society – the UK’s leading dementia charity – and Innovate UK – the UK government’s innovation agency – the Longitude Prize on Dementia is delivered by global challenge prize experts, Challenge Works.
Opening for entries this September, and championed by AGE-WELL, Canada’s innovators are invited to develop technologies that learn about the lives and routines of people living with early-stage dementia, employing artificial intelligence and machine learning to adapt as their condition progresses.
Wider support has been funded to provide innovators with crucial insight and expertise, facilitating whatever they need to bring their ideas to life. AGE-WELL, with its long track record of supporting the development of innovations and technologies for healthy aging, will be an essential partner in delivering tailored support to the innovators named semi-finalists in the prize in early 2023.
“Over half a million Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia2. New technologies in the areas of artificial Intelligence and machine learning offer an unprecedented opportunity to help those living with dementia to maintain their independence and remain longer in their own homes,” said Dr. Alex Mihailidis, Scientific Director and CEO of AGE-WELL, Canada’s technology and aging network. “We are really pleased to lend our support to this important new prize, which will tap into the spirit of innovation that abounds in the AgeTech sector.”
“We know that there are treatments around the corner but we want to change the way people are living with dementia now,” said Kate Lee, CEO of Alzheimer’s Society. “Current technologies supporting dementia care focus on monitoring people and alerting their carers but there are real opportunities for innovation which will support people to live joyfully and independently. The Longitude Prize on Dementia will deliver technologies that become an extension of the individual’s working ‘brain’ and memory in a way that is specific to their needs – enabling them to continue living at home and doing the things they love for as long as possible.”
Since 2012, Challenge Works has run more than 80 prizes, in global health, climate change and pollution, consumer services and frontier technologies. To date, it has distributed £84 million ($130 million CAD) in funding and engaged with 12,000 innovators. In recent years it has worked closely with the Government of Canada to embed the use of challenge prizes across government, including the $14.5 million Afri-Plastics Challenge funded by Global Affairs Canada scaling solutions to ocean plastic pollution in sub-Saharan Africa. It recently worked with the Weston Family Foundation to launch the Homegrown Innovation Challenge – a $33 million prize to promote the development of tools and technologies to enable Canadian farmers to grow fresh fruit out of season.
“Challenge prizes incentivise the development of breakthrough technologies to solve some of the most intractable problems of our time”, explains Tris Dyson, Managing Director of Challenge Works. “By levelling the playing field for innovators, through an open competition, with seed funding and expert capacity building support, they enable a diversity of approaches to a problem to progress through the competition, with the best solution winning the top prize only after it has proven its effectiveness.”
Full details of the Longitude Prize on Dementia will be announced in September 2022 when the prize launches and entry period opens. Innovators interested in taking part can visit dementia.longitudeprize.org to register their interest ahead of the September launch.
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About Challenge Works
Challenge Works is the new name of Nesta Challenges. We are a social enterprise founded by the UK’s innovation agency Nesta. For a decade, we have established ourselves as a global leader in the design and delivery of high-impact challenge prizes that incentivise cutting-edge innovation for social good. In the last 10 years, we have run more than 80 prizes, distributed £84 million in funding and engaged with 12,000 innovators.
The world finds itself at a critical juncture. Together, we face multiple compounding problems, but there is enormous opportunity to discover solutions and expand innovation frontiers. The impact of climate change is felt more harshly by the year, but innovation can mitigate this impact; the growth of chronic health conditions and the widening global inequity in access to healthcare can be reversed; an ever more complex, connected and digitally driven world poses a multiplicity of societal challenges but also makes rapid, positive, life-changing technological change possible – if harnessed and directed properly.
We believe no challenge is unsolvable. Challenge Works partners with organisations, charities and governments around the globe to unearth the entrepreneurs and their innovations that can solve the greatest challenges of our time.
Challenge prizes champion open innovation through competition. We specify a problem that needs solving, but not what the solution should be. We offer large cash incentives to encourage diverse innovators to apply their ingenuity to solving the problem. The most promising solutions are rewarded with seed funding and expert capacity building support, so that they can prove their impact and effectiveness. The first or best innovation to solve the problem wins. This approach levels the playing field for unknown and previously untested innovators so that the best ideas, no matter their origin, are brought to bear on the most difficult of global challenges.
Challenge Works is the trading name of Nesta Challenges. Visit us at challengeworks.org
AGE-WELL NCE Inc. is Canada’s Technology and Aging Network. The pan-Canadian network brings together researchers, older adults, caregivers, partner organizations and future leaders to accelerate the delivery of technology-based solutions that make a meaningful difference in the lives of Canadians. For the last seven years, AGE-WELL has served as a catalyst for technological innovation that empowers older Canadians to live healthy, independent and engaged lives, while driving Canada’s AgeTech sector. AGE-WELL is funded through the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence program. https://agewell-nce.ca/.
About the Longitude Prize on Dementia
The Longitude Prize on Dementia is a £4.1 million prize to drive the creation of personalised, technology-based tools that are co-created with people living with the early stages of dementia, helping them live independently for longer. £3.1 million will be awarded in seed funding and development grants to the most promising solutions, with a £1 million first prize to be awarded in 2026. In addition, wider support has been funded to provide innovators with crucial insight and expertise, facilitating whatever they need to bring their ideas to life.
While there is not yet a cure for dementia, remaining independent in your own home and avoiding hospital admissions is one of the best ways to slow the progression of the disease. The winning solution will use the latest advances in technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in combination with user data and testing to provide personalised support for people living with dementia.
The Longitude Prize on Dementia is funded by the UK’s Alzheimer’s Society and Innovate UK and delivered by Challenge Works.
- Alzheimer’s Society is the UK’s leading dementia charity. It is a vital source of support and a powerful force for change for everyone affected by dementia.
- Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency, helping UK businesses to grow through the development and commercialisation of new products, processes and services, supported by an outstanding innovation ecosystem that is agile, inclusive and easy to navigate.
- The prize has received generous support from three UK donors: The Hunter Foundation, CareTech Foundation and Heather Corrie.
- The prize has also received funding from the Medical Research Council. The MRC funds research at the forefront of science to prevent illness, develop therapies and improve human health.
- Challenge Works (the new name for Nesta Challenges) is a global authority on the design and delivery of challenge prizes to unlock technological solutions focused on social good.
Visit dementia.longitudeprize.org to find out how to enter.