Royal Academy of Engineering – Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation 2019

Royal Academy of Engineering – Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation 2019

Deadline: July 23, 2018

The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is now open for applications. The Africa Prize encourages ambitious and talented sub-Saharan African engineers 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.

The aim of the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is to stimulate, celebrate and reward innovation and entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa. Crucial commercialisation support is awarded to a shortlist of innovative applicants through a six-month period of training and mentoring.

Through the competition, the Academy also seeks to:

  • Promote engineering and innovation as a tool for development and socio-economic growth
  • Tell success stories about engineers and their innovations in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Create inspiring engineering role models and champions in the sub-Saharan region and on the African continent
  • Encourage young people to study engineering and become engineers

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.


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

Shortlisted applicants will receive an eight-month package of tailored support to help them achieve commercial success from their innovation, consisting of three week-long immersion sessions, supplemented by remote support. The overall winner of the GBP 25,000 prize will be announced at a high-profile event in June 2019.

For the three immersion weeks, visa fees, international flights, airport transfers, hotel accommodation, subsistence and any in-country transport related to the training will be paid for by the Academy. The Academy will provide guidelines to shortlisted applicants regarding expenses which are eligible and how claims can be submitted.


  • 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.
  • 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, can be used.
  • Industrial researchers and establishments are not eligible.
  • The lead applicant must be over the age of 18. There is no upper age limit.
  • 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.
  • 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


All applications must be submitted via the online grants system, applicants should ensure they read the guidance notes before submitting their application.

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.

Online grants system (You must first register an account, which you will be prompted to do)

For more information, visit Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.