Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation 2018 | £55,000 Prize

Royal Academy of Engineering is now accepting entries from engineering entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa to its 2018 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. You do not need to be an engineer to enter the Prize, provided your innovation involves and is anchored in engineering.

Royal Academy of Engineering 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.

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. 

Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation Eligibility.

  • 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.

Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation Benefits.

The overall winner will receive £25,000 (or local currency equivalent). Three runners-up will also receive a cash prize of £10,000 each. This amount will be paid after the final event, which will take place in June 2019.

How to Apply for Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.

All applications must be submitted via the online Grant System. You must register though the system before you can apply. The application form has six sections and will take approximately 1.5 hours to complete. A CV and letter of support is required. Submission of a video and any photos or diagrams to illustrate your innovation are strongly encouraged.

Completing the Application Form.

After logging in to the online Grant System and selecting the relevant scheme “Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation 2018/19” you should be presented with the ‘Instructions’ screen. Here you will see some general instructions on how to use the system as well as the six sections of the application form:

  1. Application details
  2. Your Innovation
  3. Your Business Plan
  4. About You
  5. Supporting Information and Declaration
  6. Marketing

At any stage in the application process you can save your work and return to it later. The system will automatically save your work when you change pages but we recommend that you also save your work at regular intervals to avoid loss of data. You can answer the questions in any order so you may skip sections and return to them later if you wish. In order to submit your application, all sections and all required questions must be completed.

Questions with an asterisk * next to them are required and must be completed by all applicants.

Once you have completed all sections of the application a ‘Submit Application’ button will become available at the bottom of this summary page.

Apply Here Official Link

Apply Before: The deadline for submissions is 4pm GMT on Monday 23 July 2018.


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