Dr Moses Musaazi, Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation judge and Siemens Stiftung Empowering People Award Winner, describes the judging process

What is the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation?

Who created the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation?

Why has the Academy started this competition?

What is the purpose of the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation?

Who can apply for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation?

How do you enter the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation?

When do applications for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation close?

What is the Prize process?

Who are the judges of the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation?

What is the prize?

How will this project be overseen and monitored?

Where can I find further information?

Do I need to be an engineer to enter the prize?

Can I submit more than one idea?

How old do I need to be to apply?

If selected, do I need to spend 6 months away from home?


What is the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation?

The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation aims to stimulate and reward engineering entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa. The Africa Prize encourages ambitious and talented sub-Saharan African engineering innovators from all disciplines to apply their skills to develop scalable solutions to local challenges, highlighting the importance of engineering as an enabler of improved quality of life and economic development. Crucial commercialisation support is awarded to a shortlist of innovative applicants, through an eight-month period of training and mentoring.

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Who created the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation?

The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is an initiative of the Royal Academy of Engineering. It is generously supported by the Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund and the Global Challenges Research Fund.

In addition, Consolidated Contractors Company, ConocoPhillips, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and private donors have also supported the Prize from 2014-2017. 

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Why has the Academy started this competition?

Many countries in Africa face a range of challenges related to energy, water and food security, transport and infrastructure, and access to education and healthcare. Practical innovative engineering solutions can help to address these challenges, but at present, sufficient engineering capacity and skills to develop or implement enough of these solutions is lacking.

The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is designed to:

  • Support the commercial development of engineering innovations that have a positive impact on social and economic development in the region
  • Inspire and enthuse young people in Africa and the UK about engineering
  • Raise the profile of engineering and innovation in Africa
  • Highlight the role of engineering in tackling development challenges to an international audience ranging from school children to policymakers
  • Bring together stakeholders from the UK and African business and innovation communities to establish a closer dialogue on African and global engineering issues

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What is the purpose of the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation?

The prize aims to stimulate, celebrate, and reward engineering innovation and entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa.

Through the competition, the Academy also seeks to:

  • Promote engineering and innovation as a tool for development and socio-economic growth
  • Tell success stories about engineers and their innovations in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Create inspiring engineering role models and champions in the sub-Saharan region and on the African continent
  • Encourage young people to study engineering and become engineers

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Who can apply for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation?

  • Applicants must be individuals or small groups.
  • Individual applicants must be citizens of a country within sub-Saharan Africa. For teams of two or more, the lead applicant must be a citizen of a country within sub-Saharan Africa. 
  • The innovation must be based in a country in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Applicants must have an engineering innovation, though are not required to be an engineering graduate or student.
  • The lead applicant must be over the age of 18. There is no upper age limit.
  • Applicants must provide a letter of support from a university or research institution, this can be as simple as stating an individual studied at that institution. If applicants are not affiliated with a university, another document proving the status of your organisation or innovation, such as a document of incorporation or similar supporting documentation, can be used.
  • Applicants should have achieved the development of, and be in the early stages of commercialising an engineering innovation that:
    • Will bring social and/or environmental benefits to a country/countries in sub-Saharan Africa
    • Has strong potential to be replicated and scaled up
    • Is accompanied by an ambitious but realistic business plan which has strong commercial viability
  • 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. If you are in any doubt that your area of expertise would be considered engineering, then please contact the Academy to discuss your application.

For the purposes of the competition, sub-Saharan countries include:

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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How do you enter the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation?

The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is now closed for applications for the 2018/2019 cycle. Applications for 2019/2020 will open in March 2019. To apply, please click on How to apply. All applications must be submitted via the online grants system, applicants should ensure they read the guidance notes before submitting their application.

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When do applications for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation close?

Applications for the Africa Prize 2018/19 closed on Monday 23 July 2018.

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What is the Prize process?

Phase One - Entries' assessment and shortlisting

All entries for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation will be assessed by an expert panel of judges who will select a shortlist. The shortlisting process will take into account:

  • Adherence to all entry requirements
  • The relevance and viability of the engineering innovation
  • The potential social, economic or environmental benefit of the innovation
  • The extent to which the innovation can be replicated and scaled-up

Phase Two – Mentoring and training for shortlisted candidates

Remote and in-person training and mentoring sessions will be held with all shortlisted candidates geared towards:

  • Developing their technology towards successful commercialisation
  • Mentoring the candidates to ensure their innovation is viable in the marketplace
  • Strengthening their existing business plans
  • Preparing them to present their project in the final round of the competition

These sessions will also give the shortlist an opportunity to link with potential partners, investors and customers.

Phase Three – Selection of finalists

After a period of six months, the shortlisted candidates must submit a revised and comprehensive business plan. In addition, mentors will submit evaluations of the shortlist’s progress and of the engineering innovation’s potential. Finalists will then be chosen.

Phase Four – Prize-giving ceremony 

After a period of preparation, the finalists will pitch to the judging panel at a final showcase event in Africa. The remaining candidates will also be showcased at this event.

The final winner and runners-up for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation will be decided at the event.

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Who are the judges of the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation?

An expert panel of international judges has been assembled and includes:

  • Chair: Malcolm Brinded CBE FREng, President of the Energy Institute and Chair of EngineeringUK 
  • Dr Ibilola Amao, Founder and Principal Consultant, Lonadek Consulting
  • Rebecca Enonchong, CEO, AppsTech
  • Marieme Jamme, Founder, SpotOne Global Solutions and iamtheCODE
  • Dr John Lazar CBE FREng, angel investor and technology start-up mentor 

 

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What is the prize?

The overall winner receives £25,000 (or local currency equivalent). Three runners-up also receive a cash prize of £10,000 each. 

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How will this project be overseen and monitored?

The Prize is executed under the auspices of the Academy’s International Committee and delivered by the Academy’s international team. All funding and project activity will be processed through the Academy’s established grant management systems and processes, and will be monitored rigorously through the Academy’s established oversight procedures.

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Do I need to be an engineer to enter the prize?

You do not need to be an engineer to enter the Prize, provided your innovation involves and is anchored in engineering.

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Can I submit more than one idea?

Applicants are very welcome to submit more than one proposal per round.

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How old do I need to be to apply?

We ask that the lead applicant is over the age of 18 to allow for travel. There is no upper age limit for applications.

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If selected, do I need to spend eight months away from home?

The eight-months of training and mentoring for the Prize shortlist is largely undertaken remotely, from your home, to allow you to run your business. Up to three weeks of residential training are provided in the UK or in varying countries in Africa and if selected, you are expected to participate in these. The weeks in question are agreed in advance and are likely to be in November, February and June. 

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Where can I find further information?

Please email the Africa Prize team.