Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation 2018

Deadline: 23 July 2018
Open to: individuals or small groups of citizens from a country within sub-Saharan Africa
Awards:  GBP 25,000 and  GBP 10,000


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 commercialization 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.

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.


  • 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 organization 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 commercializing 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.


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

How to Apply?

In order to apply, please fill the application form.

For more information please visit FAQ section or the official website.