Bell Labs Prize for Innovators 2018

Deadline: 25 April 2018
Open to: innovators from around the globe
Awards: first place: 100K USD; second: 50K USD; third: 25K USD


The Bell Labs Prize is a competition for innovators from participating countries around the globe that seeks to recognize proposals that ‘change the game’ in the field of information and communications technologies by a factor of 10, and provides selected innovators the unique opportunity to collaborate with Bell Labs researchers to help realize their vision.

The Challenge
The Bell Labs Prize is looking for game-changing and impactful ideas that have the potential to change the way we live, work and communicate with each other.

Stage One
In Stage One, you will be requested to formulate an idea (max 250 words) related to the field of information and communications technologies. You will have the option to attach 3 pages of text and/or images to illustrate your concept.
In the submission form is outlined an indicative list of categories related to communications technologies. Please select the one that best matches your idea. The list is not restrictive and you are free to indicate a different category.

Categories: Web Applications, Cloud Services, Information Theory, Coding Theory, Computational Sciences, Cryptography, Distributed Systems, Data Privacy, Mathematics of Networks, Modulation Schemes, Optical Systems or Components, Communications Systems, Network Protocols, Security, Network Architecture, RF design, Sustainability, Wireless, Fixed Network technologies, Software-Defined Networks, Virtualization Technologies, Real-time Analytics, Search algorithms, Self-Optimizing Networks, Inference systems.

Stage Two
Finalists from Stage 1 will be assigned a Bell Labs researcher as a Partner (BLRP) to help them strengthen their idea and turn it into a robust proposal.
Your BLRP will help you develop each element of your idea – from your vision until initial thoughts on implementation through to description of context, risks and impact. The objective is to have a strong and complete proposal that selected finalists can present in person to the Bell Labs Judging Panel.

Read the competition rules: 2018 Bell Labs Prize Rules.


To participate you must be 21 years of age or older and legally able to accept this Offer, and possess a bachelors, masters or doctoral degree from an accredited university or institution of higher learning. Read more about the eligibility criteria from the terms and conditions document:  2018 Bell Labs Prize Rules.


By taking part in the competition, you will gain visibility to a high-profile audience of researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, media and partners.  You will also receive support from Nokia and Bell Labs, one of the most advanced telecommunications companies and industrial research organizations in the world.

  • First prize: 100K USD
  • Second prize: 50K USD
  • Third prize: 25K USD

Winners will be announced at the Bell Labs prize awards event on or about December, 2018.
Selected participants may have an opportunity to work with Bell Labs, giving them the opportunity to collaborate with researchers to further develop the idea and enhance its commercial viability. If a team is declared the winner, the value of the award will be divided amongst the team members.

How to Apply?

Stage 1 Call for Proposals

After registering on the website, you will have access to an application form where you will have the opportunity to provide the details of your idea. You will be asked to write a short description (max 250 words) and will have the option to attach a maximum of 3 explanatory pages. The deadline to submit your proposal is April 25, 2018.
After you have submitted your proposal, a panel of expert Bell Labs researchers will review your proposal. You will be notified by e-mail by June 1, if you are chosen as one of the finalists who proceed to Stage 2.

Stage 2 Proposal submissions for finalists

If you are shortlisted, you will be asked to submit a more detailed proposal by September 7, 2018.
During this phase, you will be assigned a Bell Labs researcher to collaborate with you to enhance your proposal. Your Bell Labs Research Partner (BLTP) will assist you in the three main attributes: 1) 10x Innovation Potential, 2) Technical Merit of the proposal and 3) Feasibility of idea by creating a quick proof of concept or demonstration. All stage 2 candidates will be invited to a Bell Labs location to meet their BLRP and visit our facility. The stage 2 candidates residing closer to Europe will be invited to a European workshop, and candidates residing in or around the U.S. will be invited to Murray Hill, New Jersey.  This is a great chance to get a look inside Bell Labs and to discover what it means to work alongside Bell Labs researchers.
From the Stage 2 proposals, candidates will be shortlisted for the final selection.

In order to apply please register here.

For more information pleas visit the official website.