Nokia Bell Labs Prize – Global Competition for Innovators 2018 (Up to $100K in Prizes)

Nokia Bell Labs Prize – Global Competition for Innovators 2018 (Up to $100K in Prizes)

Deadline: April 25, 2018

Applications are now open for the 5th annual Bell Labs Prize competition. The Nokia Bell Labs Prize is a competition for innovators around the globe that rewards 10x game-changing ideas and proposals in the general field of information and communications technologies. Bell Labs is the research arm of Nokia and one of the world’s foremost technology research organizations

A prestigious competition that aims to provide a unique opportunity for innovators to change the world with big ideas, following in the great tradition of Bell Labs. If you have a 10x game-changing idea and are interested in developing it with leading Bell Labs researchers, you have come to the right place. In the second stage, 10 finalists will be selected to compete for the 3 prizes at an event scheduled in the late Autumn, in front of a panel of renowned experts and industry leaders.


They are looking for game-changing and impactful ideas that have the potential to change the way we live, work and communicate with each other.

  • 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
  • Collaboration Systems
  • Network Protocols
  • Network Architecture
  • RF design
  • Sustainability
  • Wireless systems
  • Fixed Network technologies
  • Software-Defined Networks
  • Virtualization Technologies
  • Search algorithms
  • Self-Optimizing Networks
  • Real-time Analytics
  • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning


The three winners may have an opportunity to work with Bell Labs, giving them the unique opportunity to collaborate with researchers to further develop the idea and enhance its commercial viability.

  • First prize: $100K + matching $100K for the winner’s university
  • Second prize: $50K
  • Third prize: $25K


  • Open to innovators from around the globe.
  • You must be a citizen of one of these countries.
    • United States, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Bulgaria, Canada (except Quebec), China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan – Province of China, Turkey, United Kingdom
  • You must be aged 21 or over at the time of registration on the website.
  • Employees and applicants for employment are not eligible to participate in the Contest, but interns are.

Evaluation Criteria

Ideas will be evaluated by Bell Labs researchers based on the following 3 criteria:

  • 10x Innovation Potential – How is your proposal novel – what has not been done before, what is the “out of the box” thinking that could result in a 10x change in performance (e.g. speed/throughput, distance, latency, cost, energy efficiency or simplicity)?
  • Technical Merit – How technically sound is your proposal? On what current principles and capabilities does it depend versus further/future advancements and innovations?
  • Feasibility – Can a proof of concept, simulation or demonstration be built in the course of the competition?  What is required to do so?  In order to build a commercially viable (revenue and profit-generating) solution, what more would be required?

The 10 finalists who will present to the Judging Panel will also be evaluated on a 4th criterion, which focuses on the commercial value proposition:

  • Business Impact – What is the magnitude of the new ICT-related business created by the proposal?  How soon could it be brought to market and how differentiated/unique is the proposition?


Please register here. Once your email address has been verified you can submit your application by filling in the form available from your dashboard.

All participants will be notified of Stage 1 results by June 1, 2018, and Stage 2 results by October 17, 2018. Stage 2 finalists will also receive feedback and comments from Bell Labs Reviewers.

For more information, visit Nokia Bell Labs Prize.