Siemens sets up £40,000 prize for tech to help the world’s poorest

Posted on 6 Jul 2012

The Siemens Stiftung (Foundation) has launched a worldwide competition looking to find low-cost simple technologies to support sustainable development in some of the world’s poorest regions.

The Siemens Foundation, the charitable foundation of the German electronics and electrical engineering firm incorporated in the name, is searching for inventors or developer teams to come up with problem solving technology such as the wind-up radio, which was used to communicate AIDS information in Africa.

The award addresses the common disconnect between businesses with the bright ideas and those with funding by awarding €50,000 (£40,110) to the winner and showcasing all designs on a public database which could lead to development partnerships with NGOs and other organisations.

The competition will honour the winner at the Awards Ceremony in June 2013 with the €50,000 sum. The second prize is valued at €30,000, the third at €20,000 and a further €5,000 will be awarded to 20 runners up. All intellectual properties will remain with the inventor or team. The entries will be valued by an interdisciplinary and international jury.

By showcasing the best ideas on a global database the Siemens Foundation hope to see international development organisations and NGOs actively approach inventors to help launch their ideas – breaking down barriers between those with visionary ideas, and those with financial backing to turn them into reality.

What has been named as the Empowering People Award was launched at the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development to tackle six critical issues where simple technology innovations can play a major role.

Entries can be filed in the categories of Water & Waste Water, Energy, Food & Agriculture Waste Management & Recycling, Housing & Construction, Healthcare, and Information & Communication Technology.

The entries submitted in this competition will be used to form the basis of a long-term knowledge database that, alongside research possibilities, will generate direct interaction between the public and private sector as well as the world of academia, including developers and practitioners.

At the same time, the entrants and their projects will become visible to international partners and investors. The platform serves to link people with the aim of attaining collaborative success in development ventures.

Ulrike Wahl, managing director of the Siemens Stiftung stated: “The database we want to build is geared equally to bringing inventors in touch with organisations funding their idea, as well as empowering inventors and practitioners to link-up directly and thus speed up processes to tackle basic supply challenges.”

Deadline for entries is 31st December 2012 at 12.00pm EST.

For more information on the Siemens Stiftung, visit: